Through our training tools, we aim to provide the research community with the tools and skills to better understand and engage in the policy process and to advocate for science and evidence in our democracy.
Evidence for Democracy offers trainings both in-person and as webinars. Below are some of the topics we cover!
Your toolkit for preparing plain language summaries
We’ve launched a new toolkit for preparing plain language summaries! Tune into this webinar where we walk you through the process of writing in plain language, starting with factors to consider before you begin writing, to the nuts and bolts of writing.
Science Policy 101
This webinar offers an introduction into the world of science policy, the policy process and who's who in science policy in Canada. Participants will gain a basic familiarity with key concepts and some tips to better mobilize their knowledge with a policy audience.
Science Policy 102
This webinar offers expertise and insight on translating origianal scientific research into concrete policy action.
Every summer, the government holds pre-budget consultations, asking Canadians what they want out of the next federal budget. Strong advocacy can lead to results - we have seen large investments in science, research, and federal science infrastructure come from unified efforts. This webinar provides participants with the tools needed to participate in pre-budget consultations.
Science Communication 101
In this webinar, we discuss what science communication is, outline the necessary components in crafting engaging science stories, review a variety of mediums in which science can be commuicated, and compare different theoretical approaches to #SciComm.
Science Communication 102
Building on Science Communication 101, we discuss why narratives matter in storytelling, how to structure a story, and how to craft a science story with emotion.
Your new toolkit for addressing misinformation
This webinar is designed to help you recognize and respond to misinformation. In it we define misinformation, discuss why it matters, and outline techniques for proactively addressing misinformation and building resilience.
Uncovering Misinformation 101 with Buzzfeed
Guest host Jane Lytvynenko teaches participants how to use existing tools to check online information you think might be untrue.
How to write a briefing note
Briefing notes are one of the most commonly used ways that information is disseminated to government officials, and they can be a powerful tool to communicate science to governments. In this webinar we dive into how and why to use briefing notes, how to make your briefing note impactful, and tips and tricks for how to deliver briefing notes to decision-makers.
Science Advice in Canada
In this webinar, we take a look at the landscape of science advice in Canada and the role science advisors play in informing government decisions. We give an overview of the role of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada, and discuss how Dr. Mona Nemer's office has impacted science and government decision-making. We also explore options for what federal science advice could look like into the future to help address pressing challenges.
We offer in-person trainings and workshops on a range of topics including combating misinformation, understanding the policy process, budget consultations, government relations, and op-ed writing. Take a look at some of our past in-person trainings:
Science to Policy Accelerator (S2PA), 2022
In the face of pressing issues like climate change, COVID-19, the opioid crisis and societal inequality, it is increasingly important that policy-makers can access and use scientific evidence. Researchers can play an important role in this by honing their communication skills and expanding their engagement with public policy. This winter, we will welcome up to 25 early-career researchers from across Canada to take part in specialized skills training, delivered through four virtual sessions. Their expertise and ongoing research positions them as key knowledge brokers and emerging leaders at the science-policy interface.
S2PA participants will master foundational knowledge in science policy and communication, then apply these concepts to specific forms of policy engagement, such as writing briefing notes and participating in pre-budget consultations. Learn more about how to apply here.
Going from science to science policy - ComSciConCan 2019
Science should provide the foundation for evidence-informed decision-making in our society, both in characterizing problems and in informing the manner in which they are addressed. However, in practice, this process does not always work as well as it could. Many scientists feel far removed from the policy process and don’t know how to engage with policy-makers. Using concrete examples, this session gives an overview of the policy process and provide strategies for how scientists can effectively convey policy relevant research to the public, media and decision-makers and advocate for the use of evidence in the policy process. This workshop leaves participants with new tools and increased confidence taking their research out of the ivory tower and into the hands of decision-makers.
Policy Hackathon: Achieving Open Science in Government - In partnership with Mitacs, 2019
Enabling Canadians’ access to publicly funded science is a key priority of science policy today. Open science involves not just access to the outcomes of taxpayer supported science, but also access to the data and scientists as well. How can the challenges and obstacles to open science be addressed? What science should be open? How do you balance openness with privacy and security? And how do you ensure that open science is accessible science? Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellows, policy professionals, and academic researchers develop solutions to achieve open science in government.
Science communication via briefing notes, 2019
Science should provide the foundation for evidence-informed decision-making. However, in practice, connecting science with decision-makers isn't always easy. One challenge that can create gaps in this process is that science and policy are often communicated in very different manners. When science is not communicated in a way that makes it accessible to policy-makers, it might get lost in translation. Informed by recent E4D research on how parliamentarians find and use information, this workshop will provide you with skills to communicate your science to government decision-makers in the form of a briefing note. Through hands on practice, you'll learn how to frame your work in a way that is familiar and useful to policy makers, how to create impactful summaries of your research, and how to clearly articulate the policy impacts of science.
To request an in-person training for your group, contact us.
All of our trainings can be customized. If you’re interested in training tailored for your organization please contact us. Also, if you're looking for training on a topic you don't see above, let us know!
Preparing Plain Language Summaries
This toolkit presents the best practices for preparing plain language summaries of technical documents that your target audience will understand. It guides you through the process of writing in plain language, starting with factors to consider before you begin writing, to the nuts and bolts of writing, and what to do before submitting your document.
- What is plain language?
- How to structure, write, and format your plain language summaries
- Advice on effective wording, structure and design features
- How to proofread and field test your document
Connecting with your political representatives
We want our representatives to understand the incredible impact research and science has on the lives of Canadians. We also want them to understand the needs of the research and science community - needs that, when fulfilled, allow researchers to make the breakthroughs and discoveries that contribute to Canada's high standard of living. In addition, research shows that the relationship, or intensity of linkages, between academics and decision-makers is one of the strongest variables in predicting whether information is used in policy. A Canadian study showed that Members of Parliament are more likely to use information and data after meeting an academic in person. In this toolkit you'll find:
- Why meeting with your representatives is impactful
- Things your representative wants and needs
- How to get a meeting
- How to make the most of your meeting
Federal Budget Toolkit
This toolkit helps to de-mystify the pre-budget process for the federal budget and give you pointers on how to make your participation more impactful. In this toolkit you'll find:
- What's in a budget?
- How you can engage in the pre-budget process
- Engaging with the Finance Committee
- Things to consider when writing a brief
- Engaging with the Department of Finance
Engaging with your federal candidates
In the lead up to an election, federal candidates engage with their community to grow relationships, hear from voters, and build platforms that people care about. As a voter, you also want to find out what your candidates stand for and their stances on issues important to you, so you can make informed decisions when you head to the polls. You can help make science an election issue by engaging with your candidates and building long-term relationships with potential future decision-makers. In this toolkit you'll find:
- Why you should engage with your federal candidates
- Who your federal candidates are
- Ways of engaging with your federal candidates including: questions to ask your canddiates when they come door-knocking, tips for approaching your candidates at events, how to set up a one-on-one meeting with your candidates, how to organize a candidate event
- Things your candidate wants and needs
Your toolkit for addressing misinformation
Increasing online misinformation poses a threat to our democracy. This toolkit outlines what misinformation is, why it's so harmful, and how we can all take action to prevent its spread. In this toolkit you'll find:
- What is misinformation?
- Why does misinformation matter?
- Preventing misinformation from being shared
- Ways of building resilience to misinformation
- What to do if you see misinformation
- What to do if you share misinformation
This is our second toolkit on misinformation and reflects best practices informed by the best available evidence. This toolkit updates the recommendations made in our original Truth Toolkit.
"Having worked in knowledge translation for health equity advocacy, I've experienced both success and challenges in making headway for policy change. The E4D webinar on briefing notes really hit home on the value of the medium, the need to understand the political actors and landscape, and the importance of providing decision makers with clear and concise recommendations. I really appreciated the practical tools, like power mapping, and advice of briefing note structure and preparation. The webinar provided me with a better understanding of different approaches to connect with government around science policy."
"You did a fantastic job. I learned a lot of useful things about science advocacy in addition to how to write briefing notes!"
"Attended another great webinar by Evidence for Democracy on how to combat misinformation during this time. The inoculation method ie. preparing ppl for the misinfo rather than retweet is genius! Empowers others to think for themselves. Looking forward to the next one!"
"Thank you for today's fantastic seminar. So glad I tuned in! I highly recommend Evidence for Democracy's training & resources, especially to those practicing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic."