Are you a researcher? Do you work in a research organisation, project or program? Are you looking for ways to better conduct your research for development, share knowledge, engage with stakeholders, and achieve impact?

To help answer those questions, visit Improving impact through knowledge sharing in researchthe newest context page to be recently added to the Knowledge Sharing Toolkit.  The new page offers people ideas, experiences and inspiration on recommended tools and methods to share knowledge during the research project cycle.

The Knowledge Sharing toolkit has consistently provided lots of information on tools and methods for knowledge sharing. However, it has been striving to make this information more relevant and accessible to people’s needs and situations.

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To help its visitors even better find what they are looking for or figure out what they may need and could use- a ‘What is your context?’ page was also developed.

The new context page on knowledge sharing in research-‘Improving impact through knowledge sharing in research‘- takes people right into the research process with a basic diagram of the research cycle and its key stages.

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These stages are presented as ‘entry points’ through which knowledge sharing approaches can be made use of to address certain shortcomings and limitations which traditional research may experience such as:

  1. a lack of inclusion of priorities, needs and realities from the ground
  2. inadequate use of other sources of knowledge in planning research
  3. poor collaboration with stakeholders during research activities
  4. limited understanding of how research results can most effectively be made use of
  5. ineffective ways of getting knowledge to target groups
  6. limited opportunities for learning within research process

To address these, the context page invites visitors to consider which stage of research they are in- and asking a key question related to improving that stage. The page then provides a list of suggested methods- both Online tools and Methods as well as Other Knowledge sharing Tools and Methods- to try out. These tools and methods are linked to other pages within the toolkit. Tags of related topics are also provided.

Example:

Stage 1: Identifying research (questions) to undertake

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This information has come out of the resources collected, knowledge generated and experiences of the recently concluded two-year CGIAR ICT-KM Program’s Knowledge Sharing in Research project (2007-2009). The framework on which this context page is based was developed and tested particularly through 6 Pilot Projects.

These Pilot Projects are all projects of CGIAR Centres or System-wide or Challenge Programs which proposed to pilot the use of various knowledge sharing approaches and principles in their activities. This included:Picture3

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  • The convening of a Farmers’ Conference to bring out the knowledge, experiences and needs of farmers to help in planning of activities of the Participatory Plant Breeding department at ICARDA005
  • The use of a learning alliance approach by the IWMI WASPA project to bring together relevant stakeholders to link research to action
  • The IRRI-lead Pilot Project worked with key stakeholders to 2009_01150033_resizeunderstand how to write and package research results from projects working on rice in the Northern uplands of Laos, and created factsheets which were uploaded into the Laos Rice Knowledge Bank (online tool)

The selection of tools for each of the stages of the research cycle is based on the results and experiences of these 6 Pilot Projects as well as other projects and other documented cases. Documentation of the Knowledge Sharing in Research project, its pilot projects and other activities  can be found on the Documentation and Outputs page of the KSinR website section.

But this is not a blue print approach and each research project needs to find what fits with its own context, needs and objectives–the tools presented in this context page are just some suggestions to help.

If you have also used knowledge sharing approaches in your research let us know what you have done and how it worked. If you try any of these suggested approaches out, also let us know how it worked. You make contributions to the Knowledge Sharing Toolkit to keep it a living and dynamic resource by signing up and adding your methods, ideas and experiences.

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As announced in a previous blog post, WorldFish delivered it’s storymercial, a short and punchy video that aims at attracting investors, partners and media to support research and apply its outputs.

WorldFish now shares this innovative KS approach through a “how to” guide.

written by Gerry Toomey

For knowledge creators, brokers, and users alike, it’s perhaps stating the obvious to declare that we live in an increasingly interconnected and complex world. While this modern truism has some annoying consequences – information overload being among the most pervasive – we shouldn’t lose sight of the enormous opportunities on offer. At least that’s part of the thinking that drives the Information and Communications Technology and Knowledge Management (ICT-KM) Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

The Institutional Knowledge Sharing (KS) Project of this Program together with its CGIAR Center partners has been experimenting with a range of KS tools and methods over the past five years and has recently been assembling these and many others into a toolkit (http://kstoolkit.wikis.cgiar.org). This evolving resource – continually updated, edited, expanded, and critiqued in wiki fashion – is targeted mainly on scientists, research support teams, and administrators in the 15 international centers of the CGIAR. But it also serves their partner organizations, as well as development organizations working in areas other than agriculture. And it benefits from their diverse feedback too.

Science has traditionally relied on a few key vehicles for sharing and validating new knowledge. The most important are experiment replication, the publication of research results in peer reviewed journals, literature searches, and formal and informal communications at conferences, workshops, and other meetings. In addition, the patent system serves as a complementary knowledge broker in instances where research spawns technical innovation. With such longstanding  institutions already in place, why is there a need for new avenues to share knowledge? The answer to that question is surprisingly complex; but a few key reasons stand out.

Read the full article

KS Toolkit home We are currently launching a new version of the KS toolkit. Developped as a wiki, it has expanded to a huge amount of tools and methods.

http://kstoolkit.wikis.cgiar.org/

Join us in creating and growing this resource of knowledge sharing tools and methods. While these are applicable in a wide range of contexts, we hope that together we can help frame them in the context of international development with a focus on agriculture.

This toolkit would not be possible without the collaboration and earlier work of our colleagues at CARE, ODI, KM4Dev, FAO and many of the wonderful KM practitioners around the world.

The KS Project is looking forward to promote the use of Web-based collaborative tools. To do so we need to share easy-to-understand resources.  One good example is this series of short explanatory videos, developed by Common Craft (http://www.commoncraft.com/show), which “goal is to fight complexity with simple tools and plain language”.   The series contains so far videos on Social Bookmarking, Social Networking, Wikis and RSS.

It is interesting from the content perspective: The Institutional Knowledge Sharing (IKS) pilot project on Best Practices for Research Data Management (RDM) will use a wiki to develop a RDM cookbook. But it is also of interest from a process perspective: The use of short videos, downloadable from the Internet, which can be used for a variety of objectives, explanatory like in the Commoncraft series, or for marketing like in the “Storymercial” IKS pilot project.