Professional Development Award winner Michelle Price discusses her experience attending “Systematic Reviews: Opportunities for Librarians.”
As a 2017 UNYOC Professional Development Award recipient, I happy to report my experience attending the Systematic Reviews: Opportunities for Librarians workshop. It began with online modules and assignments to complete and then culminated with a two day in-person workshop in Syracuse, New York.
The choice to adopt a flipped model for this workshop was an excellent one. Not only were the modules of high technical quality, the content was well paced and sequenced. The asynchronous nature of the modules allowed me to spend more time on difficult content. Also, with a two-week timeline, there was plenty of time to digest the concepts before the in-person workshop. The continuous and early contact with the course instructors was great, including the timely, constructive feedback on the online assignments.
Front loading the workshop with many of the technical skills allowed for thoughtful discussions during the in-person workshop. The small group format was perfect for examining the soft skills regarding systematic reviews. Relevant case studies were presented and each table discussed what role the librarian could play in the situation and how to react, then there was a large group share out. The varied experiences and workplaces of the participants made this a very rich discussion. A response that might work well for a small academic institution, might not work in a larger hospital setting. Also, the inclusion of participants from the private sector was very illuminating and added a whole new dimension to our discussion, particularly regarding the management of the search strategies.
Toward the end of the second day, Whitney Townsend presented a session on meta-analysis methods. I found myself swirling in new terminology and concepts like I2, homogeneous data, forest plots, line of no difference and sub-group analysis. Now I have a new confidence to identify and evaluate those elements in a meta-analysis. In the future when I am part of a systematic review team or peer review for a journal, I will be a stronger participant because I’ve had this exposure.
As a closing element at the workshop we had to create a small goal to complete right away and a more comprehensive action plan. I am proud to report that my small goal of reading five systematic reviews a week has become an enjoyable part of my workday. My long term goal to implement systematic review evaluation into the graduate curriculum is underway. After completing the workshop, I found it easy to draft learning objectives to address multiple, prominent issues regarding the construction of a systematic review.