Lessons from Evidence-Based Healthcare: Improving Library Services for Faculty Research

writing-828911_960_720Touro librarians are committed to continuously upgrading our knowledge and skills so we can best help our students and faculty.  This year it seems that a main theme of our professional development activities at the Bay Shore campus has been “Research.”  Our health science students are learning to practice Evidence-Based Healthcare, which involves incorporating the best research evidence available into clinical decision-making.  Finding the best research evidence available is one of the subjects that librarians are being asked to teach our students.  Looking back on the past year, we have attended an array of interesting and useful trainings on the topic of research so that we will be up to the task.  In the process, we have also learned skills that we feel can help our faculty with their research.

It all started when we signed up to participate in a new Online Journal Club, a bimonthly series of stimulating hour-long online discussions about articles selected by its facilitators, offered by the New York/New Jersey chapter of the Medical Library Association.  The very first article discussed how librarians can positively impact the quality of research being published by an organization. Librarians can raise awareness about reporting guidelines, study protocols and open access which can lead to improved quality, less duplication, and less waste in medical research. The second Journal Club article actually measured the effect of having a librarian as a co-author on published articles and found a positive result. We have since participated in two more journal club sessions, and we are learning a great deal from the expertise of the wise leaders. It definitely sparked our interest in learning more about the research our faculty does and how we can get involved. We are even planning to lead a future Journal Club meeting.

As fate would have it, shortly after we began participating in the Journal Club, we spotted a poster in the lobby of our building advertising a retreat for the School of Health Sciences (SHS) Research Support & Development Committee. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to connect with our faculty researchers. Joan Wagner, our Chief Librarian, attended the retreat at the West 23rd street campus in Manhattan. She was interested to learn that Touro SHS is promoting and offering support for increasing faculty research. When the audience was broken up into small group discussions, she shared what we have been learning about the benefits of involving librarians in research.

Over the next few months we furthered our learning about research. We attended a training offered by NY/NJ MLA on Managing a Systematic Review Service and a symposium on Open Access at SUNY Stony Brook. Also, thanks to modern technology, we subscribed to digital access to the Medical Library Association Conference in Toronto. We have reviewed all the poster sessions from the conference and we look forward to watching the presentations.  These learning opportunities have added more knowledge and skills to our research toolkit.

Right here at the Bay Shore campus we attended two workshops sponsored by the Research Support and Development committee and presented by our Dean, Dr. Louis Primavera, on ‘Evaluating a Published Research Article’ and ‘Introduction to Meta-Analysis’.  The second presentation was offered via zoom as well as in-person so that faculty from other campuses could more easily participate. These presentations gave us deeper understanding of the complexity of the research process and gave us more insight on how articles are written, submitted, published and evaluated. It also gave us an opportunity to connect with more faculty members.  Dr. Primavera recommended a few books that would be helpful for researchers:

‘The handbook of research synthesis and meta-analysis’ by Cooper & Hedges and ‘Methods of meta-analysis’ by Hunter & Schmidt are available as Ebooks through Touro Libraries.

Three texts, ‘Experimental & quasi-experimental designs for research’ by Campbell & Stanley,  ‘Handbook of social psychology’ by Lindzey  and ‘Reporting Research in psychology: How to meet journal article reporting standards’ by Cooper are available in print at Touro Libraries.

And we plan to purchase a few more from his recommendation list.  We will post an update when we receive them.

All this professional development is being put to good use.  It is already helping to improve our teaching of Evidence-Based Medicine. We anticipate being tapped more as a resource for helping with faculty research as well and we are excited about that prospect. We are already utilized by many faculty members for finding full-text versions of articles and ordering articles through inter-library loan. We are also available to assist our faculty by recommending appropriate databases for literature review, refining search strategies for specific databases, suggesting gray literature sources to search, and pointing to important reporting and publishing guidelines. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Check out the ‘Writing and Publication for Faculty’ Libguide for more information on Faculty Research.

Contributed by: Laurel Scheinfeld, Librarian, Bay Shore

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