Dale, Ann

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Since being awarded Royal Roads’ first Canada Research Chair in 2004, Ann Dale has received national and international recognition for her research in the field of sustainable community development. Her research on governance, innovation and community vitality is designed to provide useful knowledge to Canadian decision-makers. Dale is deeply committed to online conversations on critical public policy issues and novel research dissemination tools, such as her YouTube channel, HEADTalks. An active researcher, Dale leads MC3, a climate change adaptation and mitigation research program studying best practices and innovations in community responses throughout British Columbia. Learn more by visiting her personal blog and her Canada Research Chair blog.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 7
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    The role of scientific evidence in Canada's west coast energy conflicts
    (Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 2021) Clermont, Holly; Dale, Ann; King, Leslie; Reed, Maureen
    With salience, credibility, and legitimacy as organizing themes, we investigated how opposing communities engaged with scientific information for two contentious proposed energy projects in western Canada, and how their perceptions of science influenced its use in decision-making. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, to carry diluted bitumen from northern Alberta’s oil sands to tankers on British Columbia’s (BC) south coast, was expected to adversely impact biodiversity and contribute to climate change. The Bute Inlet hydroelectric project, a large renewable energy project planned for BC’s Central Coast, was anticipated to impact biodiversity but was largely seen as climate-friendly. Based on surveys and interviews with 68 participants who had made one or more personal or professional decisions pertaining to the projects, we discovered that values, cultural cognition, and media effects permeated all aspects of using scientific evidence—from commissioning scientific research to selecting, assessing, and weighing it with other forms of information. As a result, science was developed and used to support positions rather than to inform decisions. We discuss ways to improve the use of science in environmental assessments and other planning and development processes where engaged communities are divided by oppositional positions. We hope this research will lead to community-university partnerships that identify broadly salient, credible, and legitimate sources of information about energy and climate issues, and foster knowledge mobilization across conflict divides.
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    Communicating environmental research: Harnessing the power of curation
    (Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 2021) Dale, Ann; Clifton-Ross, Jaime; Jost, François; Hodson, Jaigris; Leighton, Hilary; Bernard, Mary
    Never before has public communication of critical research, science, and knowledge on climate change and biodiversity loss been more important. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, stated that we only have 12 years to limit the catastrophic effects of climate change, including extreme weather, flood, drought, and poverty. The 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services revealed that roughly 1 million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Given these dire warnings, the threat of climate change and biodiversity loss have never been more relevant, considering the impact these unprecedented issues will have on human survival, health, and well-being. This paper describes the results of our study, which explores findings used to develop the practice of research curation, which found that adapting and applying museum engagement strategies, using art to communicate science, and applying social media content curation and marketing strategies in combination with social learning practices are key to successful knowledge mobilization. This article focuses primarily on the methodologies and results of three projects: an art and literary exhibit, a biodiversity conversation series, and a sustainability-themed Instagram account. Based on our experience and findings, we share the lessons learned that we believe are actional for other researchers with similar goals, in particular those who are communicating research on climate change and biodiversity loss.
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    Sustainability issue communication and student social media engagement: Recommendations for climate communicators
    (Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing, 2020) Hodson, Jaigris; Dale, Ann; Jost, François; Clifton-Ross, Jaime
    This study explores the digital and social media information habits and preferences of students, particularly as they concern issues-based communication relating to climate change and sustainability. Researchers surveyed 203 undergraduate students studying a wide range of subject areas in a small Canadian liberal arts style university. Results were analysed using basic statistics to determine broad trends in social and digital media use among participants, their assessment of what kinds of content they found engaging online and their preferences relating to searching and sharing information on news and issues. Different environmental messages were also assessed by participants for whether they were engaging. Participants used a wide variety of platforms, in diverse locations, but demonstrated a tendency to use Google and YouTube most often to search for issues about which they cared. Respondents indicated a preference for image or video-based content, and also indicated that images and videos made a website more attractive. They generally reported not sharing news on social media, and tended to rate environmental messages with a problem-solution framework as most engaging. This study suggests that climate-change related issue marketing should favour YouTube and other video content, and should pay close attention to how environmental messages are presented in order to be most engaging to their target audiences.
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    Frameworks and models for disseminating curated research outcomes to the public
    (SAGE Open, 2019) Clifton-Ross, Jaime; Dale, Ann; Newell, Rob
    In our post-truth society, mobilizing “facts” and “evidence” has never been more important. We live in an age that is paradoxically information rich due to the proliferation of Internet Communication Technologies (ICTs) and information poor due to the spread of misinformation. Academic research outcomes are traditionally disseminated via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and in the classroom; however, this research is not often effectively communicated to both decision makers and the general public(s). There is no perfect way of disseminating research outcomes; however, there are lessons to be learned from curatorial and communication frameworks developed in museums as these institutions have a long history educating and engaging the public. This article explores the new concept of “research curation,” or rather the enhanced dissemination of curated research outcomes to reach diverse audiences. Closing the “gap” between academia and the public is essential for increasing civic literacy around issues that threaten sustainability. By adapting curatorial and communication methods developed in museums along with ICT models, the practice of “research curation” can be an effective framework for improved dissemination of academic knowledge.
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    Network structure, diversity, and proactive resilience building: A response to Tompkins and Adger
    (Ecology and Society, 2005) Newman, Lenore; Dale, Ann
    Although community social networks can build resilience, and thus, aid adaptation to unexpected environmental change (Tomkins and Adger 2004), not all social networks are created equal. Networks composed of a diversity of “bridging” links to a diverse web of resources and “bonding” links that build trust strengthen a community’s ability to adapt to change, but networks composed only of “bonding” links can impose constraining social norms and foster group homophily, reducing resilience. Diversity fosters the resilience needed to adapt to unexpected change, and can also enlarge the ability to proactively make collective decisions that optimize future options.