Understanding Health Research: Developing an Online Intervention to Bridge the Communicative Gap Between Academics and Consumers of Research Evidence

Hilton, S. , Patterson, C. and Nimegeer, A. (2016) Understanding Health Research: Developing an Online Intervention to Bridge the Communicative Gap Between Academics and Consumers of Research Evidence. Qualitative Methods Conference, Glasgow, UK, 3-5 May 2016. (doi:10.1177/1609406916672113)

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Background: Governments around the world are increasingly emphasising the need for health policy decisions to be informed by research evidence. Similarly, evidence-based practice is an interdisciplinary approach to clinical practice that has been gaining ground since the early 1990s in which clinical decisions are based on the best available evidence with practitioner expert involvement. However, empirical studies continue to highlight gaps between policy, practice, and the available evidence. One barrier often highlighted is the existence of communicative gaps between academics and decision makers, suggesting that people find it difficult to assess the credibility of research evidence so often rely on a host of nonacademic sources to shape their ideas on policy debates and decisions as a result. In this respect, professionals find common ground with public consumers of evidence who also often report challenges in interpreting the credibility of the growing expanse of academic research they read and hear about in the popular press. Objective: The aim of this study is to help bridge the communicative gap between academics and evidence users by developing an online intervention which explains scientific concepts and processes, so that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions about research evidence and draw conclusions about the validity of research studies. Methods: The ‘‘Understanding Health Research’’ tool was developed in three stages. Firstly, a scoping phase was conducted in which a literature review of the currently available tools for appraising research was carried out, followed by 17 interviews and three workshops with a wide range of organisations and people who regularly produce, use, or assess health research as part of their job. The second phase was concerned with developing and building the tool with a web designer and population health scientist, and we are currently in the third stage in which we are testing the tool with a wide range of users. The tool is due to be launched later in 2016.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Additional Information:Abstract published in International Journal of Qualitative Methods 15(1):18
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Nimegeer, Dr Amy and Hilton, Professor Shona and Patterson, Mr Chris
Authors: Hilton, S., Patterson, C., and Nimegeer, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Published Online:22 November 2016

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