Dissemination of Research Findings in Tanzania: Are Researchers in Compliance with Best Practices?

Assey R Sophrina, Colman T Msoka


Despite the critical role of research in development, a gap between research and
practice has been reported in literatures. Poor research dissemination has been
identified as one of the key factors perpetuating the gap. Thus, this study seeks to find
out whether the problem exists in Tanzania too. We carried out a cross-sectional
descriptive survey in six selected research institutions in Tanzania to examine their
research dissemination practices. The study employed convenience or accidental
sampling to select 151 respondents who were handed questionnaires to fill in, whereby
only 86 were returned. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with key
informants from each study institutions. The information was supplemented with
documentary review. The findings showed that dissemination of research findings in
the selected research institution was far from satisfactory. Most researchers did not
plan for dissemination properly; there was a serious under-budgeting for research
dissemination; there were no special communication cadre (intermediaries) to assist
with research dissemination; researchers used limited dissemination—and sometimes
inappropriate—channels to reach their target audiences; and a significant number of
researchers did not evaluate their dissemination strategies. The study recommends
that researchers should include a plan to disseminate research findings in research
proposals. Also, research funders should demand an extensive scheme showing how
researchers intend to conduct their research and provide more resources and
incentives for research dissemination beyond the usual academic channels. In
addition, research institutions should consider employing special research
communication experts to assist in research dissemination.

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