Disseminating Your Work
Sharing Your Findings with the Academic Community
The ultimate “deliverable” of research is new knowledge—and to be truly useful, knowledge must be shared. Thus, once you have completed the working phase of your research project, the next step in the research process is to disseminate or share the results of your work with others in your discipline and the community. After all, what good is the new knowledge you have uncovered if you keep it to yourself?
There are many ways to share your findings with others at the university and the broader community, and each has its pros and cons. Accordingly, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of each approach. The more common methods include:
- Publishing your findings in a scholarly journal. With its unprecedented accessibility and permanence, this writing-based method of dissemination is potentially the widest reaching approach, and it involves a rigorous peer-review evaluation of your methods and findings by an objective third party. With this scheme, your audience will be broad and will be generally defined by the group of people reached by the journal in which you publish your article. Your perceived impact as a researcher is dominantly measured from how other researchers refer to and rely on the articles you produce using this dissemination method.
- Presenting orally at symposia. This important public-speaking based approach often also requires skillful creation and use of visual aides because of the complex nature of research topics. Though this method generally reaches a smaller audience compared to journal articles, it allows for increased interaction with your audience through the taking and answer of questions about your work. Your perceived effectiveness as a researcher is also evaluated using this scheme; for example, interviews for research-based jobs often involve an oral presentation.
Additional resource: ten simple rules for making good oral presentations.
- Displaying your work at poster sessions. Posters are perhaps the most versatile dissemination method that allow for the greatest chances for fostering discussion, exchanging ideas, and networking with other researchers. On the one hand, a good poster will “present itself” to a viewer without you being present; on the other hand, when you are standing next to it, it will serve as an effective visual aide for an informal speaking presentation.
Opportunities to Share Your Work at WSU
- REU Poster Session
Spring Semester Opportunities:
- College of Agricultural, Human, & Natural Resource Sciences, College of Engineering & Architecture, and College of Sciences Undergraduate Research Poster Session
- Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Symposium
- WSU Honors College Thesis Presentations
- Wiley Expo
Other Avenues for Dissemination of Research
Scholarly journals, oral presentations, and posters are not the only ways to disseminate your research. Depending on the nature of your work, other venues include:
- Art shows and exhibitions
- Course lectures
- Fashion shows
- Theater shows
- Web sites
There may be even more creative ways to share what you have created, designed, or discovered with others. The best thing you can do is talk to your faculty mentor to discuss what is the most appropriate method of dissemination for sharing your project with the world. Another way to identify dissemination methods is to find projects that are similar to yours, and then reflect on how you were able to find them; chances are it was a specific dissemination technique through which the authors of these projects reached you.