Research & Evaluation

Network Communication Study Year 6 Developmental Evaluation

Report date: April, 2012

 

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General Description: 

A Study of Communication in the NISE Network (Network Communication Study), conducted during the sixth year of the grant, sought to learn how the four primary communication components that were developed in the first 5 years of NISE Net (NanoDays, face-to-face meetings, the regional hub structure, and the nisenet.org website) are functioning within the Network. In particular, the study explored how these components communicate information, ideas, and practices related to NISE Net between and within the three Network tiers.

Major Findings: 

Findings from this study suggest that the four primary communication components are the essential and predominant means of communication between the actively involved partners of the Network, and each component has its particular strengths and weaknesses.

In particular, the following findings emerged from this study:

  • NanoDays makes nano content seem “doable.” NanoDays kits, acknowledged by involved partners in all tiers to be a useful representation of the professionalism of the Network, communicate messages about the accessibility of nano content.
  • Face-to-face meetings contribute to a sense of NISE Net community. Through face-to-face meetings held throughout the year, Network partners learn general information about NISE Net and develop personal connections with Network peers.
  • The regional hub structure provides a personal, go-to resource for professionals in Tiers 2 and 3. The regional hub structure serves as a central resource to disseminate Network updates and respond to partners’ needs.
  • The NISE Network website (nisenet.org) is used to convey general information about NISE Net.

In addition to the four primary communication components, some Network partners also use the Nano Bite (NISE Net’s monthly e-newsletter) and social networking groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

The spread of information and messages throughout the Network highlights that actively involved NISE Net partners, regardless of tier, especially value components that allow for multidirectional communication within and between all three tiers, such as face-to-face meetings and the regional hub structure. These involved partners also identified challenges to the flow of communication in the Network and expressed a desire for increased communication within the Network overall, signifying that an expansion or redesign of existing communication components could benefit the Network.

Author(s): 

Jane Morgan Alexander
Gina Svarovsky
Juli Goss
Liz Rosino
Leigh Ann Mesiti
Jenna LeComte-Hinely
Christine Reich