Using video for research uptake

TDR news item
3 November 2017

The use of video to communicate research results was discussed at a recent TDR technical update to staff at the World Health Organization. Policy-makers in The Gambia who viewed a video that included the perspectives of participants in a research trial found that it strengthened their understanding and motivated them to make changes.

Video interviewing of research participant
Video interviewing of research participant
Credit: WHO/TDR/Andy Craggs

At the 1 November presentation, Bernadette Ramirez, a TDR scientist who has led a research project on climate change involving policy-makers, provided an overview of research uptake principles. She outlined the processes that can create and measure impact through the use of:

  • relevant questions
  • relationships among a variety of multidisciplinary and non-academic partners (government, industry, etc)
  • contextual relevance of knowledge
  • innovative dissemination methods
  • sustainable implementation

These principles and a detailed review of the topic had been keynote presentations made by Bernadette at the International Symposium on Research Translation and the International Convention of the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia, both in the Philippines in September.

A case study on video for communicating research results

A case study using these principles was then presented by Jamie Guth, TDR’s communications manager. Jamie managed policy panels of key stakeholders for the project known as COSMIC. This was a study set up in Benin, Burkina Faso and the Gambia to determine whether community healthcare workers could reduce the malaria burden among pregnant women. A video was produced while the study was underway to document some of the barriers discovered during the project, such as lack of transportation to the regional health facilities, and to record the perceptions of the pregnant women, midwives, local leaders and regional healthcare staff on the value of the intervention.

The video provided valuable context of the situation. In one case, a pregnant woman being taken on a donkey cart for miles was a surprise for some at the policy panel, who were motivated to take action and ensure that women had better transportation options.

Quote from a healthcare provider: The policy-makers would not have gone to the field to see a case of a mother being taken to the hospital or the case of something happening. So that is really good to have those.

Quote from a policy-maker: You feel it. I mean, it kind of motivates you in fact to say, I have to go into the field and see what's happening there.

The video also provided credibility to the research, because they could see how the community healthcare workers were able to correctly administer rapid diagnostic tests, and how the pregnant women and families appreciated the service.

Quote from policy-maker: You show me a video of a participant participating in a study, I'll be more convinced than just telling me the numbers.

Credibility was also reinforced by hearing directly from the research participants.

Quote from policy-maker: The researcher will talk about his perspective or her perspective about the lives of the people. But what the people are feeling and telling you represent their lives more than what the researcher is telling you.

Overall, the video was found to:

  • Provide local context – the setting and the people
  • Reinforce the credibility of the research processes
  • Strengthen the panel members’ understanding of the research results
  • Show strong collaboration between the research team and community, a proven facilitator in research uptake
  • Lead to strong statements of commitments to make changes based on this study.

Interested in hearing more? If you’d like a webinar on this subject, please contact:
Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289
E-mail: guthj@who.int.