I had made notes for the presentations I attended during the first half of the day using the Scribefire plugin for Chromium, when it crashed and I lost all my notes 🙁 I knew that there wasn’t a save button in the plugin (I didn’t have an internet connection so couldn’t publish as a draft) and was relying on the Lazarus plugin to auto-save everything in the text box. Sadly, I only realised afterwards that Lazarus doesn’t work on pages that don’t have a URL. Oh well, we live and learn.
Here are some notes from the afternoon’s workshop.
How to best teach research skills to clinicians (Dr. Alison Bentley)
The problem is:
Few clinicians have higher degrees → “research is an imposition”, and there’s been a reduction in research intensive environments
Few qualified supervisors
Few experienced internal examiners
Students can move through entire departments and never discuss research
Research is perceived to be hard, a different field, and not relevant to clinical practice
Attitudes vs. skills: If they don’t want to do it, they won’t get the skills. If they don’t have the skills, they won’t go through the process
Research is important because knowledge isn’t a passive substance but is constantly created and reformulated
Students won’t be able to think for themselves if they can’t query the world around them
We need to generate more South African based, contextually relevant statistics and knowledge, to better situate our patient care
Important for clinicians to model the concept that they don’t know everything
Is there a relationship between clinical reasoning and research methods?
Split into groups to discuss clinical reasoning vs. research methods
What is the research process (for a researcher)?
Before identifying a problem, you need a certain level of experience, as well as a context in which to frame the problem. When the experience, knowledge and context are missing, it’s hard to even find a problem.
How do you find a problem?
You can search the literature, but this might be hard in cases where the volume of literature is massive
You can observe phenomena
How can you be sure that no-one else has already solved the problem? → literature review
Design the study, then run it
Collection, analysis and interpretation of data
Go back to the literature to situate your results in the broader context
Have you answered the question / solved the problem? Either way is acceptable.
On the other hand, clinicians begin with data collection, but they must first have the right background (skills, knowledge, context), then you interpret the data and come up with a differential, which has to be confirmed by gathering more data
A researcher begins with a problem that will determine data collection. A clinician will begin with data collection and end with identifying a problem (the assessment component…the treatment component might be more similar to the research approach).
Students don’t like the PBL approach because it requires thinking, and the high school system doesn’t set them up to think. They learn that they have to memorise content and get high marks, which isn’t the best way to learn. Then they get to higher education and too often continue in departments that don’t encourage them to think critically.
One of the problems may be that we’re not linking research to teaching. We also need to get clinicians to link research to practice.
Searching for literature
Some basic statistical knowledge
Digital and information literacy
Available resources / access
Data collection skills
There were others, but we stopped counting…
Came to the conclusion that many of the above are really hard to teach, and if they are, it’s often not taught at an undergraduate level, which makes it hard to introduce to postgraduates.
One of the problems seems to be that these skills shouldn’t be taught as part of a separate subject, but should be integrated into all other modules
There is value in clinicians having research skills