Knowing About Research (KARes) Toolkit

The NSHRF created the Knowing About Research (KARes) Program to support the research community in creating an enhanced understanding of the health research activities in Nova Scotia.

One goal of this program is to ensure that provincial politicians have an opportunity to understand the quality, the importance and the impact of the work currently happening here in Nova Scotia. The KARes Program provides information, tools and direction to members of the health research community to help establish relationships with elected officials.

Why you should use KARes

By promoting your research, you are not only attracting attention to worthwhile research, you are building support for the health research enterprise – support that can translate into increased funding. In addition to this, activities offered by the KARes Program can help increase politicians’ awareness of the provincial health research community. The NSHRF is funded through the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, meaning that we are supported by Nova Scotian taxpayers. By using the KARes Toolkit you acknowledge the NSHRF’s commitment to building awareness and understanding of the value of health research in Nova Scotia.

What if the information provided doesn’t meet your specific needs?

The KARes Toolkit provides guidance for health researchers to communicate with their local politicians and attract attention to their research. Researchers are encouraged to take the information and tools provided below and adapt them to fit their communications needs. Questions regarding the program can be directed to our Communications Officer.

How Can I Promote My Research? 

In a digitally-driven world of smartphones, email and countless social media forums, there are more ways than ever for your research to reach the public. The NSHRF’s KARes Toolkit outlines some of the methods you can use to promote your research.

1. Maintaining Communications with Politicians

Establish and maintain communications with local politicians by informing them on the progress of your research initiative. It may also help to inform them about health research activities that are of interest to their constituents. These methods include:

A) Letter Writing to Politicians

The templates below have been developed for researchers and research trainees who have received funding through one of our funding programs. The templates can be edited to best fit your communications needs. In addition to the templates, letter writing tips are also provided. The letters thank the Government of Nova Scotia for supporting the NSHRF and describe the Funding Programs. Please choose the appropriate program funding description for your letter. 

Letter Writing Tips (PDF Document)

Research Trainee Letter (Word Document)

Researcher Letter (Word Document)

The health research community has very specific and specialized language that is used in our day-to-day work. This language is often not easily understood by people outside of our community. When communicating with those outside of the health research community, including in letters directed to politicians, use plain language and concise ways to explain your research and its impact. The following template outlines an effective plain language summary:

Plain Language Summary (PDF Document)

B) Meetings

Meetings are a good way to establish a personal connection with your local politicians and to inform them of your research. Meetings allow you to discuss health research news, advances, issues, funding and initiatives with your local politicians that may have an impact on their constituency.

When planning a meeting, keep in mind the busy schedule of your local politicians. Look into what days they are in your constituency and keep the meeting short and to the point.

Politicians’ staff members have an important role in planning their schedule. It is usually best to reach them through their administrative or constituency assistant. Treat everyone in the office with courtesy and respect. Include key staff members on all communications and include them when sending thank you notes.

Tips for meetings can be found here.

C) Hosting Research Related Events

Hosting or participating in an event regarding your research is a great way to inform your local politicians of your work. An event is also an opportunity for them to learn more about topics that matter and the work taking place in their constituency. Invite your local politicians to attend the event and if appropriate, offer them an opportunity to speak. Examples of appropriate events are:

  • news conferences;
  • symposiums;
  • conferences;
  • annual meetings;
  • ribbon cuttings, etc.

You can also invite your local politicians to attend a smaller event, such as a meet and greet, reception, tour of your facility and introduce them to your class or staff. Tips for events can be found here.

2. Social Media

With countless social media forums, social media is an excellent platform when communicating your research findings to various publics.

As the NSHRF continues to grow its presence on Twitter, we would be happy to promote the work of the researchers that we support. Tweet your 140-character message to @NSHRF_info, and we will be happy to share with our followers.

3. Videos

Videos are an exciting multimedia forum to communicate the work of your health research. The NSHRF has funded numerous researchers whose projects incorporated the use of videos, including:

It Doesn’t Have to Hurt: Strategies for Helping Children with Shots and Needles – The Centre for Pediatric Pain Research

Be a Nurse Campaign - Social media campaign and career choice videos are based on the work of Dr. Sheri Price, which explores the career choices of millennial nursing students at Dalhousie University.

Send your video to the NSHRF and we will post it to our various communications channels. 

4. Newsletters

The NSHRF E-News, our electronic newsletter, is distributed monthly. The E-News is an excellent forum to inform the health research enterprise, including key decision-makers, about the exciting developments in provincial health research.

Inform us if you are using the KARes Toolkit

The NSHRF wants to know about your communications activities. If you are using the KARes Toolkit to communicate with your local politicians or others please let us know, as we like to highlight the work of funded applicants. The use of the KARes Toolkit can also be included in your project reports for our funding opportunities.

Acknowledging the NSHRF

Communications material including the NSHRF electronic logo and information about using the KARes Toolkit is available by contacting:

Jason Bremner
Communications Officer
Ph: (902) 424-1509
E-mail: jason.bremner@novascotia.ca