Where Academic Literature Meets Industry

Ask any academic about the value of peer-reviewed literature, and they’ll give you a list 10 miles long of how they use it, why they use it, and why it’s important in their careers… but what about for industry professionals? What value does academic literature bring to those of us serving clients with social change ideas? Here’s what some of my fellow Hager Sharpers had to say:

We build upon it

According to Senior Vice President and Director of Strategic Planning and Research Christina Nicols, “Academic literature is absolutely essential in developing public health interventions because we base all of our work on evidence. Colleges and universities contribute the lion’s share of this evidence. Now, with budgets for federal research under scrutiny and potentially in jeopardy, it is more important than ever to have a strong, independent source of research through higher education institutions. We need the evidence base of academic literature to validate facts and disprove ‘alternative facts,’ particularly in public debates on controversial topics such as vaccination, e-cigarettes, sugary beverages, and the health impacts of climate change.”

We bridge gaps with it

Vice President Elizabeth Osborn, and adjunct faculty member at both American University and The George Washington University, says, “As an adjunct professor, I assign a few chapters from a textbook to familiarize my students with the basics of social marketing, like how to do formative research or what the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) are. But then I assign several academic articles as a supplement. The articles go much more in-depth and provide case studies, giving students a better understanding of how social marketing campaigns are developed and implemented in real world settings. I also assign articles to debate topics in the field, such as how to define a product, which forces my students to think critically and strategically.”

We contribute to it

For me, the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and clients to add to the knowledge base through our own work and experiences is another valuable intersect between academics and industry. Most recently, we’ve led and contributed to publications on the sustainability of a social marketing campaignthe effectiveness of health education materials used in a clinical trial setting, and how we’re using national survey results to identify insights and gaps in diabetes self-management behaviors. By adding our own voice to the mix, we hope to help others continue to find the value of using academic literature in their own industry settings.

We learn from it

Our former colleague, Darcy Sawatzki sits on the editorial board of Social Marketing Quarterly, and she says, “One of the best parts of serving on the Social Marketing Quarterly editorial board is being called on as a peer reviewer for journal articles. It’s exciting to see great work that is happening across issues—and to help authors tell stories about their work in ways that help others understand and apply the findings.”

We want to hear from you! Take a moment to share with us how you’re using academic literature in your world.

Roshni Devchand, MPH, MCHES
Associate Director, Strategic Planning & Research