What research can do: Tell us your stories about using IWH research

A call-out for IWH stakeholders to tell us about times you've used or shared our research

Published: June 20, 2023

We want to hear about times that you’ve used our research, including when you’ve shared it with colleagues, endorsed it to your network, or referenced it in your communication materials.

We love hearing about and profiling stories of how IWH research has helped our stakeholders and partners. On our website, we have been posting what we call impact case studies. These are stories of our research being considered or incorporated by workplaces or decision-makers when changing programs, practices, policies or laws that affect worker and workplace well-being. They can also be stories of change leading to societal improvements (e.g. fewer injuries or more sustainable work-returns for injured workers).

To more completely capture the impact of IWH's research, we're now broadening the types of stories we collect and profile. We know there are stories and testimonials out there. In the fall of 2022, we conducted a survey of IWH stakeholders to gauge, among other things, if and how our research is used. Among the roughly 1,000 people who answered the survey, more than 70 per cent said they used our research in the course of their work.

In the survey, we couldn’t probe for details. This is why we’re asking you to tell us of the times you’ve used, shared or applied our research. Your stories will help us assess the impact of our work and improve its usefulness to you.

Here are a few examples of the types of stories that we love to hear about and share:

When an IWH resource is used in a toolkit or workplace resource
A campaign launched in 2022 by the doctor-created Healthy Tomorrow Foundation in Nova Scotia encourages Nova Scotians to find opportunities to increase their movement, and decrease their sedentary behaviours, throughout the day—including at work. The campaign, called Make Your Move at Work, includes several resources in its toolkit that were informed by Associate Scientist Dr. Avi Biswas’ research and seminars on integrating safety and wellness and on the physical activity paradox. For example, the toolkit primer includes a diagram of Biswas’ framework for integrating safety and wellness initiatives and a reference to his 2020 IWH Speaker Series on the same topic. The campaign and toolkit were created in collaboration with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, Acadia University and the Province of Nova Scotia.

When IWH research informs the analysis of proposed regulations or policy
The Accessible Canada Act came into force on July 11, 2019, and regulations under the act on February 13, 2021. Like all federal regulations, they needed to include a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, and this information is gazetted. IWH Senior Scientist Dr. Emile Tompa’s research on the cost of excluding disabilities was used and cited in the impact analysis.

When an IWH research message is reiterated in advice
In June 2021, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) released a report on the health effects of prolonged standing and practice advice on how to address it. Called Prolonged constrained standing postures: health effects and good practice advice, the report incorporates the research of (at the time) Senior Scientist Dr. Peter Smith. It not only includes references to his journal article (which has been viewed more than 1.1 million times), but also to the lay summaries produced by IWH to share Smith’s findings, including a related At Work article and a very popular video, “Sitting or standing: Which is best?” The report also quotes two mottos that we shared in the video. They include “Sit when you need to, stand when you want to, and walk or move when you can” and “Standing is not the opposite of sitting — moving is.” These mottos are included in the report’s executive summary and in its list of tips for policy-makers.

When an IWH tool or resource is shared or endorsed
We also hear testimonials that don’t necessarily talk about the use of our research, but do praise the products of our research and recommend them to others. This was the case recently when we came across these words in a LinkedIn post about an IWH tool, from Andrea Aiello, the Director of Workforce Development at Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters: Rarely am I blown away by new HR/H&S/Disability Management tools that come out, but today I stumbled across one that is downright clever and – even better – meaningful for a tough scenario that many, many of us face. I would like to share with you the Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool (JDAPT), that was developed by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and its partners.

If you are among those who have used and, especially, applied IWH research findings or products in the course of your work, we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know the 5Ws+H—who, what, where, when, why and how—the backbone of a good story.

Please share your stories with Morgan Lay, our Director, Strategic Relations, at mlay@iwh.on.ca.