A visual storytelling approach to increase the accessibility of the RiverCare knowledge to project managers and specialized advisors.
Workshop with some of the representatives of partner organziations where we discussed about the storylines as a part of the RiverCare communication strategy.
Practitioners such as river managers, advisors, and other interested professionals in the Netherlands and abroad are looking for sustainable and efficient ways to use the river. As a civil engineer, back in my country, I was also one of them. When going abroad to specialize, I was so amazed by the possibilities that research opened up that I became a researcher myself. However, I quickly realized that it was difficult to imagine how the practice may benefit from research solutions (i.e., methods, models, and tools), especially if I had to dig for it into the details of scientific publications. When I got the time or was interested in reading these publications, yet the supporting datasets were often not available to follow or apply research solutions.
To improve the accessibility of research to practice, I focused my research on the audience (on the right). What do the representatives of the partner organizations suggest to make research outputs more accessible to them?
Key goals: Collaborative Governance
1, 2, and 3. Prepare a example, review and evaluate with your audience! These are the steps that I followed to develop my research and the visual storytelling approach.
In the era of the internet, websites are a convenient means of communication. As they are available for everyone, we often don’t think about the website goal and the intended audience, is it to support collaboration or dissemination? Both goals were important in a large project like RiverCare.
Starting from a video and interviews with representatives from research and practice (see the top photo on the right), I discussed a preliminary vision with key elements for this website. Storylines were one of the elements that triggered most participants. What should the storylines include to be useful for practitioners? What other content should the website include? I prepared design examples and workshops to answer these questions (see the middle and the bottom of the photo). As a result, in RiverCare, we further prepared videos, and interactive visuals/ maps to disseminate our research via:
- storylines that give a visual summary of some of the promising outputs for practice,
- project summaries showing contributors and related content in the website,
- research output details with highlights for the application and links to supporting datasets,
- RiverCare newsletters, blogs, and news to share our project experiences.
We developed this website as a joint effort with the Netherlands Centre for River studies (NCR) to use their network as a communication platform, to maintain, and reuse the website development after the program ends.
Data-collection methods: Focus groups Interviews Questionnaires/ surveys
Temporal scale: 1-10years Project duration
Relevant for whom and where?
Researchers and contributor organizations such the ones involved in this project but also beyond, who are interested communicating and discussing about the research application.
Findings and practical application
Science communication has its science too! Throughout this science journey, we proposed steps to prepare the storylines and the website content with input from the audience (see the research outputs here, some of them yet under preparation). Overall, we learned that:
- One content will not fit all audiences: Targeting project managers (and, if possible, making them part of the editorial team earlier in the process) could help to address their needs better;
- Trigger the interest to know more: Making explicit both benefits and limitations of the research are vital for the relevance and trustworthiness of science communication;
- More than a visual summary: The storylines are attractive but should give a visual story-like example about how to use the results in practice.
Status for day-to-day practice
Visitors can explore and share the RiverCare project that they find most useful. The program is finished, and we are currently compiling recommendations for future research projects.
RiverCare research was developed in the Netherlands but could be applicable to other locations.
Key locations: Abroad Netherlands (NL)
Spatial scale: River section
How to effectively share the website and use it to boost collaboration during/after the research? As a researcher but also as an interested professional, I would explore more the use of social media, and (online) meetings for science communication. I will try to work closely with artists, journalists, and other communicators as part of the editorial team. Do you have any other suggestions?
Last updated: 25/03/2020
Explore the contact details to get to know more about the researchers, the supervisory team and the organizations that contribute to this project.
Juliette Cortes Arevalo
University of Twente
As soon as available, explore the storyline to get to know more about the main methods or prototype tools that were developed within this project.
Explore the output details for available publications to get a glance of the innovative components and implications to practice as well as the links to supporting datasets.
Take a look to the dissemination efforts and application experiences which are available in the news items and blogs.
Anything to ask or share?About us
We would like to learn from your experiences and questions to take our knowledge further into practice in the Netherlands and abroad. Your feedback will help us to find out about your interests and how useful the information provided was to you.