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  • Writer's pictureSee Pain More Clearly Team

Will Scientific Journals Publish The Findings Of The #SeePainMoreClearly Campaign?

To take the suspense out of this post, I will start by answering this question with a “Yes”. We are delighted that the first systematic evaluation results of our #SeePainMoreClearly social media campaign was accepted for publication in the scientific journal Pain Medicine which is published by Oxford University press (an advance pre-publication copy of the accepted report can be found here). The acceptance of this work was especially rewarding for us because evaluations of social media campaigns are not amenable to strict scientific control typically demanded by many top tier academic journals. Yet social media platforms have a critical role to play in mobilizing knowledge very quickly and to large numbers of people from across the globe. This is in contrast to traditional methods of mobilizing scientific knowledge to stakeholders (e.g., webinars, public talks, brochures) which have not been as effective. We believe that most scientific journals recognize the potential of using social media in knowledge mobilization and are open to non-traditional approaches for their evaluation.

One has to be innovative to evaluate the effectiveness and reach of a social media campaign (e.g., how many people see the content, whether the content increases their knowledge of a given topic and whether information shared with key audiences changes their behaviour). To evaluate #SeePainMoreClearly, we used Google analytics (e.g.,number of visitors to our website to fill out surveys, access content and learn more about the campaign) and social insights (where we can measure the number of shares, Retweets, comments, use of hashtags and reach of posts on social platforms). Although these methods deviate from traditional methods of evaluating knowledge mobilization, most journal editors and reviewers seem to recognize both the potential of social media work and the innovation that this work can introduce in the evaluation of knowledge mobilization initiatives.

Our initial pilot knowledge mobilization #SeePainMoreClearly campaign ran for 5 months (October 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020) on Twitter and included one 2-minute YouTube video. Our #SeePainMoreClearly Twitter posts received over 5,700,000 impressions from 2,376,000 unique users in 21 countries during the 5 month period. Our website was visited by individuals in 55 countries and our 2-minute informational YouTube video received over 50,000 views. The campaign was also covered in 10 media articles. In addition, the number of posts by Twitter users (other than from our team), discussing pain in dementia, almost doubled during the campaign period as compared to a corresponding period before our 5 month campaign.

Our findings show a far greater reach than traditional methods of knowledge mobilization. Since we completed the 5-month campaign, we were able to obtain funding to launch and evaluate a broader knowledge mobilization effort on the same topic, adding a digital media partner, that goes beyond Twitter and YouTube to include Instagram, Facebook, animated explainer videos and a blogging strategy. Our goal is to share knowledge that will lead to increased advocacy efforts and improved practices in pain assessment and management for people with dementia as well as policy change to facilitate widespread adoption of these evidence-based practices.

- Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, Ph.D., FCAHS

How You Can Help?

To help, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, share our messages and use our hashtag #SeePainMoreClearly.

Would you like to share your thoughts on our See Pain More Clearly initiative and the use of social media to mobilize knowledge about pain in dementia?

We are looking for people to participate in a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the #SeePainMoreClearly social media initiative to mobilize knowledge about pain in dementia.

Dr. Hadjistavropoulos is an international leader in the area of pain assessment in dementia and has shown leadership in the promotion of the health sciences at the local, national and international level. He is the Research Chair in Aging and Health, Director of the Centre on Aging and Health and Professor of Psychology at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He served as the 2007 President of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).


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