This essay will design and critically evaluate a suitable dissemination strategy for the research project discussed in Enright and O’Sullivan’s “Can I do it in my pyjamas?” (2010). Enright and O’Sullivan used a Participatory Action Research over a three year period in a secondly school in Limerick, Ireland (Enright and O'Sullivan, 2010). The essay will explore how an effective dissemination will support to successful distribution of information to parents, the local community, social media and policy makers. With advantages and disadvantages of getting this qualitative evidence-based research to above targeted audiences, allowing the implementation of early interventions and recommendations which will benefit all end users and these will be discussed (Bryderup, 2008). This smaller segment of project, forms part of this transformative dialogue intended to foster the improvement of teaching of PE in their secondary education. The girls’ narratives endeavor to explain their feelings of their own experiences of PE lessons and why they didn’t particularly enjoy PE lessons.
As PE lessons plays a significant role in girls’ health and with the many health benefits of physical activity, the non-engagement in PE lessons has been blamed towards the actual PE curriculum and the lack of girl-friendly activities (Enright and O’Sullivan, 2010). This research has a core objective of discussing PE curriculum, with the original assumption the girls were happy with their PE lessons, which were providing the necessary curriculum, it is clear from this research, the girls wanted something different, in which they could engage and enjoy. The need to disseminate the outcomes of evidence to a particular community will only be achievable and successful if, from the outset, everyone involved in the research has a shared understanding of what they wish to disseminate and why. It is essential, therefore, that a design and shared vision with a common understanding of the findings to disseminate, and who may stand to benefit from Enright and O’Sullivan’s findings. A participatory approach can serve to promote the girls’ meaningful engagement in the evaluation and the varying of their PE lessons.
The five girl co-researchers were selected from group of 41, and have been chosen through their different social positions within the class. The qualitative data was collected through individual and group discussions by way of photographs and posters to help guide the dialogues.
Effective dissemination: Networking by researchers using the research evidence, and what the research findings might mean for policy and practice are sometimes uncertain, as the results have yet to be utilized in society and unknown. Dissemination is important at the end of a research project, as to make maximum impact eventually on policy and with the findings reaching a wide range of audiences to enable discussions of the findings which will bring change (Ballew et al., 2010). Robb focuses on the different types of discourse within childhood and youth research that reflect the different approaches researchers employ to share their work with a range of audiences across academic, policy and practice arenas. In this chapter, Robb highlights how research dissemination is an important consideration for researchers during the planning stages of their research (Barnes, 2000). Robb states engaging wider interested audiences, as they would be benefited from reading (Robb, 1949). Findings can be discussed within the local community and to the wider scope of policy makers in education services and government. To raise awareness their project can impact and target a variety of groups using different methods of dissemination, emails, workshops, group meetings, conferences, the internet, seminars and presentations to name a few. All of these methods come with advantages and disadvantages.
Pascal and Bertram (2014) discuss how research practitioners must listen and reflect on what children are saying. When disseminating a project a “praxeological” approach which reflects practice and an awareness to the power imbalances, in this respect between the girls and the researchers (Armour and MacDonald, 2012). Power is held by the researchers, however much children’s voices are listened to, as the researchers would be considered to be knowledgeable through their previous experience of dissemination. It is considered brave to re-organize the power and give the inexperienced girls an opportunity to design a dissemination strategy with the girl’s rights being addressed, assist and be prepared to “challenge and unlock” their ideas and strengths (Pascal and Bertram page 270 2014).
Impact: Firstly, to gain maximum impact of research findings, it would be necessary to have details of the many agencies and government organizations supporting and promoting the involvement PE lessons in Ireland. This research project is important as is includes young people’s voices in physical education and youth support (Bryderup, 2008). The target group therefore, would be the young population. Potential barriers to reaching particular audiences might include unwillingness to express their concerns, over influence of parents and so on (Johansson, 2009). As this focuses on the girl’s voice, including them as an active participants are of utmost importance.
Education Department Policy Makers: Using a PowerPoint to present pictures of their PE lessons, will inform policy makers attending conferences in health and education. Through promoting awareness to policy makers and users is the key factor of disseminating a project.
The disseminating strategy to target audiences of policy makers within the department of education (Irish education system) for PE curriculum would be via conference meetings inviting policy makers, and practitioners involved in physical activity and sport as a whole (Crum, 2009). As Enright and O’Sullivan discuss on page 205, body image is an element of why the girls are not partaking in PE, with the girls bodies on sight for all to see, the stereotypical girl is that they are expected to be still and quiet. Raising awareness of the difficulties girls families experience can impact on policy makers.
Visual materials make the message more real as seeing their emotions can have a powerful impact on the people watching. The girls who participated in the visual material and research being undertaken need to be informed on how the research will be disseminated and how it can make a change to them and their families. Audio-visual materials can have a direct impact on people rather than just listening to information, especially when children are speaking their thoughts and perspectives.
By providing the girl’s parents details and information about the findings, could help them to join in bringing family together and starting to enjoy physical education together, keeping fit, which may also help change dietary habits, if necessary (Kehily, 2009). The healthy body and healthy mind connection is the most important factor to the much happier life.
The local gym that Kelly started to attend as part of her case study research project would be interested in this research. As Kelly left due to the cost, if the school combined with the gym, were to discuss the membership fees, it would be beneficial to the girls and the gym, allowing student memberships, therefore encouraging the younger community into the gym and get fit (Carse, 2015). This shows that there is a need in the local community where the girls, as the girls seemed to need to be in a group with the security it provided by joint action is something that came from the research data.
Journals: To get the findings across to a broad spectrum of professionals, a professional journal would be appropriate. An effective way to get information out to the necessary Education departments in Ireland which could bring changes in the PE curriculum would be via Professional or policy journals. The Journal of Teaching in Physical Education which Enright and O’Sullivan mention would be a reasonable journal to put the findings into. The advantages of using a professional journal are numerous. The audience would be likeminded, being interested in the subject and working in a similar field. Policy makers and practitioners will regularly read journals, but these are not a highly recommended as peer reviewed articles.
The research article could be of interest and of value to a variety of audiences that could change from PE. Education services (or professionals) and teachers could learn the importance of social networks left.
Mass media: Before the internet, dissemination of research findings would be linear, a straight line of getting the information from the research to policy makers, probably published in a journal relevant to the research. However, today the research can be dissemination far more interactive, with the social media, blogging and forums, the audience much is vast and diverse which makes it invaluable in facilitating dissemination (page 243). However, there are important ethical considerations which have to be addressed. Journalists use the internet to identify researchers and possibly comment or provide an expert perspective on a story they are developing, and enquiries sometimes come completely out of the blue. However, when someone else is summarizing research, there is always a potential risk that they could present simplistic, sensational, or inaccurate or misrepresented. Therefore it is necessary when possible for researchers to work closely with journalists, and check press releases before publication.
Social media: giving children and young people access to the schools computers to keep in touch with their peers, to keep social relationships with families they had a connection with from the centers, while there is the disadvantage are of a limited circulation. Links via the website will offer the participant further information to investigate, including journals and Ireland’s department of education (Burden, Hodge and Harrison, 2012). The significance of dissemination and its impact becomes increasingly recognized, and researchers should use more innovative methods, such as websites, blogs, video, conferences, drama, and even exhibitions. Robb’s twitter discusses how writing regular ‘weblogs’ or online diaries is an online tool that began as a forum for sharing personal experiences or expressing strident political opinions began to be used by academics and researchers (Quay and Peters, 2008). This tool would be useful for the girls as they can continue their journey in research by discussing with others their experiences of PE. This may encourage other children to air their opinions and argue the need for change in their PE lessons.
There are potential barriers to using internet as it can be difficult to create an audience, if the audience doesn’t know you are there. There can be a conflict of agreement between readers which is open to abuse. The internet is a powerful tool for disseminating research to a wider audience through social media sites and blogs but this cannot always work when targeting specific audiences, as not all people have access to the internet or own a computer. Additionally, Face book, Twitter and diary blogs pages needs to be kept up to date and regularly edited so other people’s comments or queries can be answered. Information need to be gathered for future researchers to review through journals and websites, and this needs to be kept up-to-date and be closely monitored.
Ethical issues: Dissemination raises important ethics questions. When research is disseminated, it has to involve people, which may challenge or upset them, by being identified in public. But while dissemination raises complex issues, it has also been argued that the girls do have an ethical duty to try to make their research findings widely known and, and allowed to be acted upon. The full consent from the girls and their parents need to be documented to show that, participants are fully aware how and who the data will be disseminated, as the girls need to be aware that the their voices will be heard and communicated to benefit them and others as a true depiction of their narratives (Weber, 2013). The girls need to be informed that can choose to remain anonymous and understand their participating in the research can be stopped by themselves or the researchers during the course of the research.
A recommendation to make would be the suggestion to research children's narratives on a larger scale both boys and girls. Enright and O’Sullivan (2010) study focuses just five girls 15-19 (McTaggart, 1994). To encourage feedback from users and policy makers attending, questionnaires will be provided to analyze feedback that can be anonymous if desired.
To conclude, it can be said that the girls were co-researchers in the design, implementation and evaluation of their own PE curriculum. The findings suggest that participatory approaches to research and curriculum-making can serve to promote students’ meaningful engagement in the critique and the re-imagining of their PE and physical activity experiences (Clarke, 2006). Using children’s voices in the dissemination needs to be conducted in a sensitive way, with the impact of their narratives need to be heard for policy makers to make a positive difference to children's lives. According to Behura (2005), girls’ voices are important to hear. This project does give valuable sources of evidence on their perspectives and experiences and what they want in their own PE curriculum in their secondary school in Limerick.
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Barnes, R. (2000). Pupils’ Self-talk and Feedback to Teachers. curric teach, 15(1), pp.65-76.
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Burden, J., Hodge, S. and Harrison, L. (2012). Teacher Educators’ Views about Social Justice Pedagogies in Physical Education Teacher Education. JCT, 1(1).
Carse, N. (2015). Primary teachers as physical education curriculum change agents. European Physical Education Review.
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