8. Finalize and format
Your comprehensive research product is now all organized and edited. You now want to ensure your findings are visually accessible and appealing to facilitate the dissemination.
In this section
Package your long report for public dissemination
Consider developing smaller products along with your long report.
As mentioned in the “Synthesize your research findings,” AWID often pulls smaller products from the lengthy research report. This allows for wider and easier distribution specialized for key audiences.
Always keep your targeted population in mind: who will read your report?
Examples of smaller products distilled from a larger report:
- Online gallery
- An animation presenting your arguments
1. Think as your audience thinks
People are bombarded with information constantly. Your product will have to be visually compelling to maintain the interest of your audience. Again, having an idea of what you hope to accomplish and who you hope to reach, will allow the designer to create targeted products.
A lengthy written PDF report may seem the only way to present your research, but it could appear overwhelming to most people – especially online.
If you want to share your product with an online community, think about creating memes and infographics to use on social media, blogs and web platforms.
When deciding whether to create smaller products, consider dividing your results into several smaller products that you could share with targeted populations or at different times of the year to reactivate the interest on your product.
2. Work with a professional designer
If you have limited time and a little bit of budget, we recommend hiring a design firm.
It can be tempting for economic reasons to use in-house staff to package your report. However, a professional graphic designer can make a huge difference on how your final product looks and thus on how much impact it will have!
The designer (in-house or hired) must be able to:
Show you samples of their previous work that is similar to what you seek.
Provide you clear advice on how to present your research based on the content you provide and the audience you are targeting.
Suggest additional or different pieces to package your product.
What the designer will need from you:
- A general idea on what you would like the lengthy report to highlight through visuals and graphics (what are the most important pieces of information, the key findings, for example) and some ideas on the types of smaller products you want to create (brochure, an infographic, a series of viral memes, for example). If possible, show the designer examples of similar documents developed by other organizations.
- Your budget and time frame.
- Your organization’s visual guidelines if you have any (logo, official colours, fonts, etc...).
- A few photos copyright free or access to your photo bank if you have one.
- Key visuals that need to be included – graphs, tables and other visual graphics drawn from your research.
The designer is a graphic expert. S/he is not necessarily familiar with women’s issues and does not know the results of your research, especially if you hire an external firm.
Communicate what elements of this report is important to you and who is your target. The designer will propose a way to highlight these elements and make the whole piece appealing to your users.
3. Make sure it's consistent
While creating a set of smaller information products, do not forget to link them all together:
- A shorter version of the report that focuses only on your final results and recommendations should present a link to the final, full report
- A visually compelling infographic that sends a message on the state of funding for your particular research can link to your website and the related section of the full report. It should be associated with a call to share on social media.
- A short animation video that uses the data, findings and recommendations from your report should link back to your organization website and social media
- A series of viral memes that can be distributed online should link back to your report, infographic, shorter report, etc.
It is also important to keep the research staff involved, so they can ensure any offshoot products stay true to the actual findings of the research.
Control the quality of the translations
After the design and packaging of the final research report is complete, if any of the wording of content was changed, be sure to re-send to translators.
If you create smaller products, once designed and packaged, you will also need to get the copy translated for those pieces. The translations should be clear enough so the designer can apply to the design, even if she/he does not speak the language.
Once translated, make sure to have your design proofread by a native speaker before sharing it!