We had an incredible response to our survey on information skills and e-learning – 139 responses from library staff and 173 from healthcare professionals. This exceeded expectations and has given us a great platform on which to build – thanks to everyone who contributed!
In some ways the results confirmed what we had already expected e.g. key concerns about literature searching included how to access resources and identifying search terms and that interactive elements and ease of access could encourage people to use e-learning. Time pressures were also seen as a potential barrier and many library staff raised concerns about the limitations of older versions of internet browsers.
Interestingly, there were some key differences in perceptions of information literacy needs between library and healthcare staff. Healthcare staff ranked concerns with finding relevant information more highly than librarians. However, library staff felt that healthcare professionals may need more training in advanced searching techniques – something which was not commonly recognised by healthcare staff themselves. Of course, this could be a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
Michelle Madden analysed the survey results and made a number of recommendations which we will take forward. For those of you interested in reading the full report and recommendations, it is available here.
Here are a few selected highlights from the recommendations:
- Search skills modules should initially focus more on introducing or reinforcing the basics of searching rather than on more advanced search skills.
- Modules should prioritise the following topics: refining searches when too many or too few results are found, accessing full text articles and awareness of different resources.
- Employ multiple interactive learning activities to engage different learning styles.
- Balance accessibility due to browser capability with providing an interactive and engaging learning experience.
At our first face to face project team meeting in the impressive Manchester Central Library we started to clarify what the modules might look like. Here’s what we came up with:
- Module 1: Introduction to searching modules. This module will outline key problems when searching and where to find help in the e-learning modules. It could also include a few basic questions to get baseline knowledge.
- Module 2: Where should I start searching? User needs survey highlighted lack of awareness of where to start searching. This module will provide suggestions to where to start looking based on type of question, quality of evidence etc.
- Module 3: How do I start to develop a search strategy? Will help users to break down search into different concepts but use generic concepts rather than PICO. This module will also introduce combining search terms, thesaurus.
- Module 4: Too many results? How to narrow down your search. Searching tips such as phrase searching and truncation to help users find relevant articles in less time
- Module 5: Too few results? How to broaden your search. Searching tips such as phrase searching and truncation to help users find relevant articles in less time
- Module 6: Searching with thesaurus terms.
- Module 7: How to search the healthcare databases. This will be a basic overview – perhaps with links out to Youtube videos being produced by NICE. It will allow users to apply their learning into practice.
Please let us know what you think, any comments are welcome!
Clinical Outreach Librarian
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Knowledge and Library Services Manager
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust