What Can You Share?

Andre V. Jones

Andre V. Jones

Guest Writer

Last year I traveled over 8,000 miles to the NAVIGATOR 2022 conference in Nashville, Tennessee (USA), to present a research poster titled “Why They Stay: Job Demands and Job Resources that Influence,” and it was well received.

This study was based on my doctoral dissertation, which was to add insight and context to the conversations on turnover and retention that plague emergency communication centers worldwide. My approach was to use qualitative interviews to focus on understanding motivators of retention to improve turnover. Meaning, once someone has left the emergency dispatch profession it really is too late to find out what led to that decision. Therefore, it is better to appreciate why these professionals stay on the job and recognize what factors contribute to them potentially leaving. So how does a study like this become a research poster?

To start, you do not have to write a thesis, dissertation, or other published work to create a conference-worthy poster. For that matter, you do not have to be in a degree-seeking program to do a research or improvement project. Any project, whether it be academic research or even related to professional or operational improvement, can be captured visually in a poster that will provide an overview of the project to inquiring minds. Combined with an oral presentation, research posters can lead to great discussions and further research.

Most projects start with the curiosity of understanding or improving something. Often, research studies start with a problem someone wants to solve. Looking back on my topic of retention and turnover, I could look into the mental health interventions that influence the resilience of emergency dispatch professionals. I would then work on my aim and objectives of the study, which could be to get the perspective of the front line and what these heroes behind the headset feel has really worked to help their well-being.

It's important to provide a literature review of the existing framework of what others may have said or done that relates to the question I am posing for my research study. At times, we may have to make some assumptions that content from other studies may not always transfer across to the subjects in this study because of their varying lived experiences (differences in age, socioeconomics, geography, etc.). 

The methodology is designed around how best to obtain the WHAT and otherwise answer the research question(s). I could consider utilizing surveys or focus groups and document my research procedures and results.

While this is an abridged version of what it takes to complete a study, all of the components are organized in a template, which will then easily translate into a visual representation of the study. Perhaps a large pizza and a cake are displayed as a reflection of the study results because we all know these definitely improve mental health.

Conference organizers send out requests for papers (presentations/speakers and posters) for which anyone interested may submit. There is usually a link or portal provided, so it is always good to review the requirements first, then prepare the submission offline, before responding to the invitation as per the instructions within the specified time frame. Here are the instructions for the IAED’s Call for Posters: https://www.aedrjournal.org/cfpp.  

Conferences such as NAVIGATOR invite those whose posters have been selected to give an oral presentation in a lightning session among like-minded peers and speak about your research poster in the exhibit hall during a set time for those who may not be interested in performing research but are interested in learning about your topic.

While doing a research study can take a lot of time (several months or even years), being able to put your hard work on display to provide information on what works could help those who may not otherwise know where to look to find solutions to their problems. You may have not only solved your problem, but you may actually solve others’ problems too. Pizza and cake for everyone!

The IAEDResearch Team is always on hand to support researchers in developing a research study and/or poster (email: arcresearchteam@emergencydispatch.org).