Dissemination & implementation

Dissemination & implementation

The results of your study should be communicated not only to the participants, but also to the wider community. Consumers may contribute significantly to a trial’s dissemination plans and widespread dissemination of trial results can help support the implementation of research findings.

Different groups of the community may require information in different formats or even different information. Consumers should be involved in the process of deciding what information is relevant to them and how it should be presented.


At the dissemination stage, consumers may help to:

  • Write a plain language summary to help ensure that study results are presented in simple and accessible formats that enable consumers and communities to access and understand research findings.
  • Advise on the most appropriate (or creative) way to communicate your findings to help reach wider and more diverse audiences.
  • Ensure messages are tailored for different communities; including culturally appropriate messages and approaches to translating research for their particular cohort (disease, ethnicity, or age groups).
  • Write information (e.g. a summary of findings) for local patient groups / hospitals etc.
  • Assist in getting results / findings published on support groups or non-government organisations websites to increase the credibility of your message.
  • Publicise and distribute your research findings through their own networks and forums.
  • Disseminate findings to academic audiences; for example, by co-authoring manuscripts or presenting study posters at conferences.

Dissemination of trial results to participants

Informing participants of the results of your trial acknowledges their contribution and shows respect. However, it is important to establish whether participants want to be actively informed of trial results, or whether they would like the responsibility to be left with them to obtain the results. Consumer involvement may help to guide this process.


Consumers can also strengthen the way research is taken up in practice. If they have been involved in a project, consumers can be staunch champions for the implementation of its findings to ensure that the research leads to action.

At the implementation stage, consumers may help to:

  • establish relationships with key agencies and policy-makers
  • develop training materials, information booklets or other educational products for targeted audiences

What involving consumers at the dissemination/implementation stage could look like:

  • Inviting those you have involved to speak at conferences, or to patients, groups or service providers, as well as assisting the process by distributing results in their informal networks.
  • Holding meetings with community groups to help gather ideas on the dissemination strategy.
  • Approaching a patient support group to test key study messages to improve public communication and engagement plans.
  • Asking those you have involved for ideas on ways to implement or maximise the impact of your work.
  • Working with a patient support group to lobby for change.

Further Reading

  • Summaries of Clinical Trial Results for Laypersons: Recommendations of the expert group on clinical trials for the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 on clinical trials on medicinal products for human use (2018).
  • McNichol, E et al. An innovative toolkit: Increasing the role and value of patient and public involvement in the dissemination of research findings. International Practice Development Journal, (2014); 4(1), 1–14.
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