LASER PULSE Launches New Research Translation Resource @ Social Behavior Change Communication Summit in Marrakech, Morocco

LASER PULSE Launches New Research Translation Resource @ Social Behavior Change Communication Summit in Marrakech, Morocco

Image 1: (Left to Right) LASER PULSE representatives Dr. Alexandra Towns and Dr. Laura Riddering (Catholic Relief Services) promote the LASER PULSE program and Embedded Research Translation (ERT) with SBCC Summit attendees.

Two representatives from the LASER PULSE consortium attended the 2022 Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Summit in Marrakech, Morocco, from December 5-10th to promote the LASER PULSE program and launch the new technical resource, Guiding Questions to Plan for Research Translation: A workbook to develop a research translation strategy, an implementation plan, and a monitoring and evaluation plan for research impact in international development. This year’s SBCC Summit themes included (1) catalyzing transformational change on agendas of urgency, (2) future forward, and (3) connecting the dots. 

Dr. Alexandra Towns and Dr. Laura Riddering, both from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), had the opportunity to promote the LASER PULSE program, and more specifically, the Guiding Questions workbook, through the CRS-sponsored booth at the event. Interacting with nearly 1,800 practitioners, researchers, donors, and communicators from around the world, the LASER PULSE delegation shared LASER PULSE’s resources and participated in presentations and interactive workshops on topics ranging from human centered design, addressing power imbalances, exploring pathways to impact at scale, and developing illustrations for social and behavioral change.

Given the target audiences for the Guiding Questions workbook- including academic researchers, development practitioners, and donors- the SBCC event provided an optimal environment to launch the resource. The Guiding Questions workbook was designed to address the gap in providing guidance on changing research translation behaviors for practitioners and researchers to collaborate more effectively for research impact. It provides a concise process to develop a research translation strategy and plan for evidence utilization in international development.

Image 2: The LASER PULSE Guiding Questions Workbook fills a unique gap in changing research translation behaviors; it offers a 5-step process map for developing a research translation strategy, implementation plans, and M&E plan for research impact.

In tandem with the Guiding Question workbook, the LASER PULSE delegation also promoted the LASER PULSE resource, Promising Practices for Embedded Research Translation: a toolkit to improve partnerships, processes, products, and dissemination during the event. The Promising Practices for Embedded Research Translation is a collection of 24 practices to improve the capacity and change the behaviors of researchers and practitioners to implement LASER PULSE’s Embedded Research Translation (ERT) model.The toolkit is organized by the four pillars of the LASER PULSE’s Embedded Research Translation model: partnership, process, product, and dissemination. Each pillar is a separate chapter within the toolkit, further broken down into five sections: ERT definitions, evidence, promising practices, tools, and case studies.

“The SBCC Summit drove home the importance of participatory approaches to research, planning, implementation, and evaluation of social behavior change strategies. I learned about several successful projects that empower people to change through actively co-designing solutions for local impact. Similar to the ERT approach, it is important to think about all the levers that address a problem and give agency to multiple actors to act. Strategic partnerships can embed change and build competencies and capacities,” said Dr. Laura Riddering, LASER PULSE Research Translation Advisor 

Three key takeaways from the closing plenary that are particularly relevant to LASER PULSE’s work in changing partnership behaviors in research for development include the following:

  1. It’s our duty to systematically infuse community voices into program design, implementation and evaluation;
  2. The language we use can drive accountability and inclusion, and shift power dynamics; and
  3. Storytelling helps create meaning and connection and brings data to life.

The final takeaway on storytelling is especially timely as LASER PULSE is beginning to evaluate the ERT model and share the story of ERT more broadly outside LASER PULSE. In the upcoming months, LASER PULSE will leverage its projects’ survey data and engage in learning meetings to more fully understand both the effectiveness and impact of ERT on changing research partnership behaviors and development outcomes.

LASER PULSE will continue to promote the Guiding Questions workbook at LASER PULSE events in 2023. Keep an eye out for future communication on this topic and an opportunity to dig into the workbook deeper! 

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