Dissemination and stakeholder engagement practices among dissemination & implementation scientists: Results from an online survey

PLoS One. 2019 Nov 13;14(11):e0216971. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216971. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: There has been an increasing focus on disseminating research findings, but less about practices specific to disseminating and engaging non-researchers. The present project sought to describe dissemination practices and engagement of stakeholders among dissemination & implementation (D&I) scientists.

Methods: Methods to disseminate to and engage non-research stakeholders were assessed using an online survey sent to a broad, diverse sample of D&I scientists.

Results: Surveys were received from 210 participants. The majority of respondents were from university or research settings in the United States. (69%) or Canada (13%), representing a mix of clinical (28%) and community settings (34%). 26% had received formal training in D&I. Respondents indicated routinely engaging in a variety of dissemination-related activities, with academic journal publications (88%), conference presentations (86%), and reports to funders (74%) being the most frequent. Journal publication was identified as the most impactful on respondents' careers (94%), but face-to-face meetings with stakeholders were rated as most impactful on practice or policy (40%). Stakeholder involvement in research was common, with clinical and community-based researchers engaging stakeholder groups in broadly similar ways, but with critical differences noted between researchers with greater seniority, those with more D&I training, those based in the United States vs. Canada, and those in community vs. clinical research settings.

Conclusions: There have been increases in stakeholder engagement, but few other practices since the 2012 survey, and some differences across subgroups. Methods to engage different stakeholders deserve more in-depth investigation. D&I researchers report substantial misalignment of incentives and behaviors related to dissemination to non-research audiences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Canada
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Stakeholder Participation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States