Don’t shoot the messenger: Exploring tensions in research translation for stakeholder end-users in the early childhood sector
Elise Hunkin, RMIT University, Australia (email@example.com)
Fiona Westbrook, RMIT University, Australia (Fiona.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jayne White, RMIT University, Australia (email@example.com)
Background: Much emphasis is currently being placed on research translation for end-users, such as, through user-friendly resources that are both impactful and relevant.
Aim: In this paper, we discuss our experience translating findings from an international project that investigated early infant transition experiences into easy to use and share visual resources.
Method: We worked with two Victorian steering committees, one comprised of international research partners and another of local early childhood services and stakeholders, to design and evaluate a suite of visual resources that synthesise ‘what works’ for quality transitions. We also sought feedback from early childhood services in New South Wales.
Results: The evaluation surveys undertaken by families, educators and service managers highlighted a number of tensions inherent to research translation for multiple stakeholder audiences, both in terms of the messages conveyed and the genre through which these are delivered.
Conclusions: Drawing on Bakhtin’s principle of dialogism, we reflect that research translation for early childhood end-users can be complex because the product forms and contents need to traverse varied stakeholder groups, needs and interests. To avoid ‘shooting the messenger’ and other unintended consequences, research translation must be a dialogic not a dialectic process, whereby researchers and end-users together explore and clarify data meaning and communication strategies. Dialogic research translation therefore has the potential to create pathways to genuine research impact and positive change.
Implications for children: We have some information about what helps you when you are little and going from home to early childhood settings, but it can be tricky to find ways to tell parents and educators what to do, so we need them to help us.
Implications for families: We have data from a global study about what may help you navigate your child’s transition from home to early childhood centres, but translating those data into products requires sensitivity to all the potential end-users (i.e. you, educators, managers), making collaboration an important pathway to impact.
Implications for practitioners: We have data from a global study about what may help you support families and children make the transition from home to early childhood centres, but translating those data into products requires sensitivity to all the potential end-users (i.e. you, families, managers), making collaboration an important pathway to impact.
Funding: This project had RMIT internal funding.
Key words: families’ voices, professionals’ voices, innovations, communication, international communities
This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: