To undertake your advocacy activities, you can use various media and methods to help you communicate your 'case'. The options below allow you to use written text, images etc. to communicate your messages, and they also allow you to showcase some of the actual delivery mechanisms which can be used in advocacy. The media/methods used to deliver advocacy can be as important as the actual message(s), and should are supportive and appropriate. However, please remember that it is critical that you have worked hard to get your message right (see Tool 3).
Advantages: Slides and presentations can be excellent resources and tools to use in undertaking advocacy. They can provide text, images, and can tell a whole 'story'. They appeal to people who like images.
Disadvantages: Audiences may focus too much on the actual slides rather than following your line of argument. Audiences will not appreciate long presentations, and complex slides that take a long time to read.
Types of messages that can be delivered: Slides/presentations can be very useful in presenting messages which have accompanying evidence in numbers images. Graphs, photos etc can be presented as part of your message through this type of format.
Types of audiences to use with: Managers, technical specialists, general public - but will need to be developed in different ways that are appropriate to each group.
Resources: To see and access some useful slides and presentations for your own advocacy work--CIARD has collected, stored and made available several presentations in "Slideshare"
Note: If you use any of these slides or presentations please make sure to give credit to the authors and institutions that have developed the materials.
Advantages: Documents are useful as supporting material for advocacy. These could be published articles, specific proposals or concept notes, or even promotional brochures or leaflets.
Disadvantages: Documents will require time for people to read and may not offer opportunities for you to provide follow-up to any questions or concerns.
Types of messages that can be delivered: Documents can offer an opportunity for relevant facts, arguments and images to be delivered, and even a whole concept in a well constructed document.
Types of audiences to use with: You may find that some of the groups you are targeting with your advocacy, such as senior managers, will expect or respond well to documents that present the advocacy case, the proposal, and supporting evidence.
Resources: Some examples of such documents for their content as well as to understand them as a delivery mechanisms include:
- CIARD Brochure
- CIARD Manifesto
- CIARD Checklist of good practices
- CIARD Case studies
- Background note on 'Making CGIAR Research Outputs Available and Accessible as IPGs'
- Article on ' Benchmarking CGIAR research outputs for availability and accessibility'
Advantages: 'A picture is worth a thousand words' is a popular quote which is true in many cases. Images of all kinds, including photographs, graphics and other forms, can convey messages, facts and situations in ways that influence people. Images are best used in certain situations and aimed at specific target groups to whom they appeal - so think carefully about which to use, when and for whom.
Disadvantages: Images may be open to various interpretations if not accompanied by any text or spoken words - so you should be careful how they are used so they do not convey messages that are not intended.
Types of messages that can be delivered: Slides/presentations can be very useful in presenting messages which have accompanying evidence in the form of numbers or images. Graphs, photos etc can be presented as part of your message through this type of format.
Types of audiences to use with: Images are best used with audiences to which you are giving face-to-face presentations, when they can be projected and the context can be explained. Images can be very convincing to any audience but will work particularly well with people who may not have the time or wish to read content. Different types of images will appeal to different target groups. Photographs will work well with any audience, but scientific graphs may require some technical understanding to interpret properly.
Resources: A collection of useful and informative images that could be used in your advocacy efforts are made available through a Flickr site managed by CIARD: http://www.flickr.com/groups/ciard
Note: Please acknowledge and credit all photographers.
Advantages: Video resources can be great advocacy tools, whether made by yourself or by others. These can be made available online through video sharing channels and embedded into website, blogs and other online platforms for people to access. Video files can also be used as part of presentations or events either in your presence or if you are unable to attend personally. For advocacy purposes, videos should ideally be short.
You can check out the CIARD Pathway on 'Using video to communicate research outputs' to find out more about how: "Online videos are an excellent medium to help you reach out to a global audience based on the Internet. Videos have the power to engage people at an emotional level in ways that are different to the written word." Learn more about the 'Power of Video in Research' which promotes that: "Videos and the Internet have revolutionized the way in which an increasing number of scientists are now communicating ideas and the results of their research. Videos can efficiently convey large amounts of information and depict scientific procedures that would otherwise require pages upon pages of written text to achieve the same level of understanding."
Disadvantages: Video resources may not always capture a well balanced argument depending on their quality. Videos can also be very expensive to make in a high enough quality that will really have the effect required.
Resources: Some good video resources for advodcating for opening access to knowledge include: 'A Moving Story. Putting agricultural research to use: How science can not only predict but also mitigate the effects of natural disaster'
Advantages: Social media are web-based and mobile based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue, and they offer a number of different channels to reach a wide variety of target groups. They is also multi-directional so can allow you to have 'conversations' rather than just broadcast information and ideas.
Disadvantages: Certain target groups cannot yet be reached using social media because they are not using them. Effective use of social media requires investment of time and energy - its more than just posting statements - so this should be kept in mind.
Types of messages that can be delivered: Depending on the type of social media tool that are used a variety of messages can be delivered. In the case of blogs, longer more substantial messages can be developed and delivered, whereas with Twitter only shorter messages or links to other resources can be shared.
Types of audiences to use with: Particular target groups are directly or sometimes indirectly reachable by social media tools that you will be using. Social media can be used for reaching certain parts of the general public and for technical people such as information and communication professionals, but most likely not by Directors and Senior Management.
Demonstrations and Training
Advantages: Opportunities for hands-on experience with tools and methods for opening up access will provide people with understanding what can be done and what will be needed to scale it up/out. More extensive training in particular CIARD Pathways may also help to make people feel more comfortable with the concepts, understand the benefits (and costs), be influenced in their own behaviours, and be able to influence others.
Disadvantages: In some cases demonstrations and training opportunities can make people feel less comfortable with particular tools and in fact feel that they are too difficult, time-consuming or irrelevant. It is important that the right people are selected to participate in such events, which can be time consuming and even costly to organize.
Types of messages that can be delivered: Demonstrations and training opportunities will allow you to inform about the practical benefits and results of opening access and provide direct experience in how to use particular tools.
Types of audiences to use with: This type of delivery mechanism will work best with scientists and technicians that will undertake the activities to open access to their research outputs and use the tools in their work. Demonstrations can be used with more senior management to reinforce the advocacy case by seeing certain tools and methods in action and to help dispel any myths.
NOTE: Certain methods and tools are better suited for advocacy, but it is important to think about the person/group you are advocating to and what method/tools is most effective and appropriate.