Beyond searching- supporting NHS colleagues to contribute to systematic reviews

We recently collaborated with colleagues at Peninsula CLAHRC to deliver a successful ‘Beyond Searching’ course.

Members of the PenCLAHRC Evidence Synthesis Team (EST) travelled to London to work with CLAHRC North Thames’ Dr Antonio Rojas–Garcia in delivering the workshop to 19 librarians from the NHS and various universities.

Beyond Searching was devised 5 years ago by members of the EST who have been running annual workshops ever since. The course is designed to show health information professionals that they already have the skills to effectively contribute to systematic reviews –  reviews aiming to find as much as possible of the research relevant to the particular research question, and to identify what can reliably be said on the basis of these studies. The training gives them the confidence to get involved in the process and to advise others.

Librarians and other information professionals are highly skilled and motivated individuals with a drive to learn about new technologies and ways of working. They already have the skills needed to contribute to systematic reviews so our course is more about how they apply those skills. ‘It is always a joy to teach this workshop – often we learn a lot ourselves in the process – and it was particularly good this time to get the chance to collaborate with colleagues from CLAHRC North Thames.’

Morwenna Rogers (EST member)

This was the second year that the course followed a flipped classroom model, which EST members learned about during their visit to the University of Michigan two years ago. The model frees up classroom time for discussions and active learning, by making some of the foundation lectures and reading material available to participants in advance.

Attendees were asked to complete a series of online tasks prior to the course, which introduced them to key concepts of systematic reviewing and comprehensive searching. This enabled attendees to focus on more detailed aspects of search techniques during the workshop.

Guest speaker Claire Stansfield from the EPPI-Centre was also invited to discuss the use of automation (employing machines, computers, or robots to help researchers identify relevant papers), and its implication for reviews in the future.

The beyond searching team were delighted with the positive feedback they received. One attendee said that it was:

The best training [they] have ever attended

Another attendee planned to use the knowledge she had gained to change practice in her own place of work, and another thought that the flipped classroom model was excellent preparation for the face to face teaching day.

Dr Rojas – Garcia (below) praised the cross CLAHRC co-operation behind the delivery of this workshop, remarking:

It was great to spend the day collaborating with colleagues from PenCLAHRC. I considered it a very positive experience, it has been really encouraging to see how other colleagues teach about systematic reviews.’

To read more about the Beyond Searching workshop  collaboration, visit the EST blog.

Conference success for CLAHRC PhD Marissa Mes

CLAHRC North Thames PhD Marissa Mes enjoyed success at the prestigious Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUK CAR).

Marissa accepts her award from AUKCAR Director Professor Aziz Sheikh

Marissa won best poster presentation when she showcased her work to delegates during the conference (below)  – her research focus is assessing whether pharmacists are a suitable delivery channel for an intervention aimed at asthma patients to improve their adherence to preventer inhalers.

Marissa in action at the ASM

Our congratulations to Marissa on her prize.

Marissa’s fellow CLAHRC PhD Caroline Katzer, who is developing and evaluating an intervention to improve adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in adult asthma patients also showcased her work at the conference via both a poster and an oral presentation, which generated a lot of discussion, and was among those complimented on the quality of her presentations.

 

 

Both PhDs are funded by the CLAHRC and affiliated to AUKCAR.

Evidence in public health decision-making – its creators and users need to come together

Decision-makers in public health can be confronted with a huge volume of data, evidence, reviews and summaries – from local and national sources. There is also an acknowledged gap between evidence and policy in public health.

In a recent blog on the EPPI centre website CLAHRC researchers Dylan Kneale and Antonio Rojas-García reflect on their work exploring the use of evidence in local public health decision-making – and raise the question – How much research is being wasted because it is not generalisable in local settings?

While reduced resources make judicious use of evidence more important than ever when deciding how and where to apply resources, researchers also need to understand, and better communicate, the generalisability of their research evidence to decision-makers working locally.

Read Evidence use in public health – make-do and mend?

 

Trends in evidence use in public health decision-making

A new CLAHRC publication offers valuable insight into the types of evidence used by decision-makers working in public health. In 2013, responsibility for public health services and planning shifted from the “health” boundary to local authority control. These services can range from health checks to open access sexual health.

CLAHRC researchers examined English local public health decision-making in a new review of what evidence is used and how by those planning, designing and commissioning services.

The review, published in a new paper in the Journal Implementation Science identifies three clear trends in evidence use

  • the primacy of local evidence
  • the important role of local experts in providing evidence and knowledge, and
  • the high value placed on local evaluation evidence despite the varying methodological rigour.

Barriers to the use of research evidence included issues around access and availability of applicable research evidence, and indications that the use of evidence could be perceived as a bureaucratic process.

This is part of a wider project entitled Exploring decision-making processes and knowledge requirements in public health

 

Read the full paper

Kneale et al. Implementation Science (2017) 12:53
DOI 10.1186/s13012-017-0577-9
The use of evidence in English local public health decision-making: a systematic scoping review

Dylan Kneale

Dylan completed an ESRC-funded PhD at the Institute of Education (UCL) examining transitions to parenthood and a Postdoctoral Fellowship examining housing transitions, both using birth cohort data. Prior to returning to the IOE in late 2014, he was Head of Policy and Research at Relate (a charity specialising in the delivery of counselling and promotion of mental wellbeing) and Head of Research at the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), a think-tank exploring the implications of an ageing society. At the IOE, his research broadly involves synthesising evidence for social policy and developing methods to enhance the use of evidence in decision-making, including exploring the potential of large datasets in informing social policy. Substantively he is interested in issues encompassing demography, public health and social exclusion.

Marissa Mes

Marissa is a Dutch-Japanese student with a background in Psychology. She completed a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Statistics at University College Utrecht in the Netherlands.  This was followed by an MSc in Health Psychology (University of Bath) and an internship with the HealthTalk project at the Health Experiences Research Group (University of Oxford). Marissa’s work includes both qualitative and quantitative research. Her research interests include patient experiences of chronic illness, health inequalities, intervention implementation, and public health.