Child Welfare Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD)


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© Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development


The QIC-WD recently had the opportunity to talk with a group of human services training evaluators in Baltimore about how to effectively use and share data. The QIC-WD has a dissemination plan and data visualization experts to help our team and our sites use and share data for a variety of purposes. We shared the following tips to help evaluators determine what to share, when, and why.

  • Plan for dissemination – that is, identify who needs the information and how best to get it to them.
  • Consider who is in your target audience and how they like to receive information. The image below is an example of how child welfare case supervisors seek research evidence. Understanding that in one jurisdiction they are likely to do their own on-line searches and learn about new evaluation results by attending a meeting can guide dissemination strategies.
  • Use data to inform your dissemination strategy. Survey staff to find out how they value and use research evidence; and ask who they trust for information.
  • Take advantage of existing channels to share information – access the meetings, newsletters, and social media channels already relied on by the people you want to reach. This strategy can also include people (the gatekeepers and champions) who can help share your data and analysis.
  • Generate buy-in/collaboration and foster meaningful relationships with those who your information is intended to inform.
  • Know what you want people to do with the information once they receive it – e.g., improve their knowledge or skills.

When asked what they can do to plan for effective dissemination, evaluators highlighted the need to focus on the information needs of their target audience. Specifically, they discussed the need to think ahead about how information may be used and to “layer” it. In other words, they described strategies to package information in multiple ways (e.g., infographics, papers, videos), use different channels (e.g., social media, face-to-face meetings, newsletters), and to share it multiple times. The participants generally agreed that engaging with the end users of the evaluation to identify their intended uses of information, and design products accordingly, is a good strategy at the beginning of the evaluation process to ensure data is effectively consumed.