Benefiting from the ‘research effect’: The case for trusts supporting clinicians to become more research active and innovative

In November 2019, the Royal College of Physicians published a document entitled ‘Benefiting from the ‘research effect’: The case for trusts supporting clinicians to become more research active and innovative‘, suggesting a number of ways that NHS Trusts can support staff to become more research active, and how this will benefit both patients and staff.

It showed that involvement by staff in research can improve their morale, and can help the recruitment and retention of staff. One finding is that staff lack protected time to do research, and this reports suggests that this should be a key priority. Two-thirds of RCP members surveyed said they want to do more research.

Patient outcomes in Trusts that are more research-active are better, and CQC inspections include research activity in their remit. In addition, patients feel more valued by being involved in research, learn more about their treatment, and gain a sense of pride in helping others.

Research tends to be concentrated in certain areas such as the South East of England, or large urban areas. Smaller and rural hospitals must also be encouraged to become more research active and benefit from the research effect.

The report makes clear that research is more than clinical trials, and can include anything that provides new evidence, including robust service evaluation.

How do Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries support research?

The report suggests that it is it is ‘increasingly important to ensure that the clinical workforce is equipped to appraise and generate evidence’ (p. 11). We support the appraisal of evidence with the provision of critical appraisal training, which can be provided to groups of staff. We also signpost to resources such as the CASP critical appraisal checklists, or to PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews. Our Knowledge Navigator tool provides advice on how to search for different types of research such as randomised controlled trials, observational studies and qualitative research.

Our librarians can also assist in creating systematic reviews, by designing and carrying out search strategies, providing advice on databases, or advising on where to publish. Recently, a systematic review was published that involved one our librarians, who was listed as a co-author. We can also carry out literature searches for other research.

We also attend the SaTH Research & Innovation committee, to advocate for library services and also gain a better understanding of the local issues. As part of our work with Research & Innovation, we manage a staff publications database, to track and promote local research publications, and these include conference abstracts, poster presentations and innovations such as those published on Fab NHS Stuff. Staff of SaTH can submit details of their own publications to the collection.

For 2020, we’re planning to introduce a course for nurses and midwives called ‘Research Ready’ that will include training on how to find and appraise the research literature, and the opportunity to discuss and reflect on a journal article as a way of gaining hours for revalidation. We’re also looking to run some timetabled training on critical appraisal that will include a look at how to interpret the statistics in a research paper. Keep an eye out for further details in the New Year!

SaTH Staff Publication Report for 2018

In conjunction with the Research and Innovation Department, we produce an annual report of publications by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust staff, to demonstrate just how much new knowledge and research is being produced within SaTH. This can include books, book chapters, journal articles, dissertations, systematic reviews, case reports, conference abstracts, poster presentations, or oral presentations at conferences.

We’ve just put together the report for 2018.

Download the 2018 Staff Publication Report

We’re continually adding new publications, and you can search entire collection back to 2014 by visiting the Library Research Hub. If you produce any new publications, you can submit the details using the submission form on our website.

Here are just a few items recently added to the collection:

Sources of bias in health research

The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford has developed a catalogue of sources of bias that may affect health care evidence, and may need to be taken into account when performing a critical appraisal on a published piece of research.

Just a few of the examples include:

Allocation bias

Systematic difference in how participants are assigned to treatment and comparison groups in a clinical trial.

Hot stuff bias

When a topic is fashionable (‘hot’)  investigators may be less critical in their approach to their research, and investigators and editors may not be able to resist the temptation to publish the results.

Positive results bias

The tendency to submit, accept and publish positive results rather than non-significant or negative results.

Volunteer bias

Participants volunteering to take part in a study intrinsically have different characteristics from the general population of interest.

For more information, including ways to reduce possible bias when carrying out research, visit the Catalogue of Bias.

Searching for qualitative studies in CINAHL

Qualitative research can help to understand the human experience of health and illness, and is an important part of evidence-based healthcare. Qualitative research can use various methods, such as grounded theory, phenomenology, or focus groups.

However, it is not always easy to identify qualitative studies in the literature.

Work has been done to create search strategies to locate these studies in the CINAHL database (covering nursing and allied health) and these can help to reduce the potential number of references to review.

If you’re searching CINAHL using the NHS Healthcare Databases, this is an example strategy that can be copied and pasted into the search box:

exp ATTITUDE/ OR exp INTERVIEWS/ OR exp “QUALITATIVE STUDIES”/

Once the search is complete, carry out a search for your topic of interest, and then combine the searches together.

If you’re searching CINAHL using EBSCOHost (either via OmniSearch, or using Staffordshire University resources), the strategy to use is:

(MH “Attitude+”) OR (MH “Interviews+”) OR (MH “Qualitative Studies+”)

Copy and paste the strategy into the search box and run the search. Once the search is complete, carry out a search for your topic of interest, and then combine the searches together (you’ll need to visit the search history to combine searches).

These searches are fairly ‘sensitive’ and will pick up most articles that are qualitative research, but will include some that are not. However, they will vastly reduce the number of non-qualitative research articles in your results and make it easier to find qualitative research.