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Understanding Research

Being research literate means being able to find and use the right research information. This involves being able to access and retrieve information, critically analyse the information you have found and understand the terminology used. You already have these skills from your undergraduate education, and as a practitioner, you need to keep using and developing them throughout your career. Remember, in the 'Looking at what you Know' section you have looked at your current level of research skills and knowledge.

Web Based Activity A

Keeping up to date

You may want to look at this activity at the start of this unit then come back to it later once you have completed other activities that will help you identify and highlight information that you need to keep up to date with.

The Knowledge Network provides a step by step guide that can help you stay up to date in your selected area of interest.

Look at the User Guides and select 1 or 2 of the resources that deal with areas of knowledge and skills that you feel you need to know more about. Use these to help meet these learning needs.

Identify aspects of your work where you need to keep up to date with the latest developments, and use The Knowledge Network guide to set up ways of making this easier for yourself.

Web Based Activity B

The Knowledge Network 'Information Literacy' pages contain scenarios that illustrate how healthcare professionals have found and used information for a range of clinical issues.

Select 1 or 2 of these and read how the information has been found and used.  Identify the key stages and issues that you can use to help you find and use information on the care you provide.

Web Based Activity C

If you want to develop your internet research skills, you will find the Internet Detective online interactive tutorial useful.

Journal Clubs

Journal clubs are excellent ways of sharing recent papers with peers and keeping your critical appraisal skills up to date.

Journal clubs have a number of advantages:

  • they provide a forum to share information on the current literature in a particular area
  • they give you insight from others' critique of the literature and the different perspectives that the group may have
  • they integrate evidence based practice into routine discussions within the practice setting

Find out if there is a journal club in your area that you can join and identify:

  • who leads the club
  • when the next meeting is

Deenadayalan et al (2008) highlight a range of issues and questions you should consider when setting up a journal club including:

  • who the members will be
  • what the purpose of the journal club is
  • how often the club will meet
  • who will lead the club
  • how you will know that the club is effective

At the club meetings, Steele-Moses (2009) suggests asking the following questions in your discussions:

  • what is the clinical practice question the authors are trying to answer?
  • is the purpose of the article described clearly?
  • is the literature review comprehensive, and are major concepts identified and defined?
  • are the clinical recommendations supported by evidence?
  • how do the clinical recommendations compare to your current practice, hospital policy, and hospital procedure?
  • what practice change recommendations will you make based on the evidence presented?

You can also add...

What will the impact be on the people you care for?