Developing a systematic review search service: Upskilling librarians to support evidence based practice in an academic setting

Samantha Rannard, Mary Simons

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Macquarie University’s health precinct encompasses Australia’s first university owned private hospital co-located on campus with its medical school and research facilities. The newly established Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will strengthen synergies between clinical, medical research and education streams, whilst the new Academic Health Precinct will facilitate multidisciplinary research across campus. In response to these developments, the University library identified a need to increase support for evidence based practice, including systematic reviews, in health and other disciplines. Librarians developed a policy to document levels of library assistance for systematic reviews, including a strategy for skills improvement for librarians to support these processes. In-house staff training was provided using the experience of the clinical librarian and an overseas colleague residing in Australia. Course objectives were to increase knowledge of evidence-based practice and support for systematic reviews across several disciplines. A blended learning, team-teaching approach was taken involving preparatory readings and homework tasks. Course content was delivered through class presentations, demonstrations and participation. Online content included a LibGuide as a repository of learning activities and online tutorials. The course was evaluated through surveys and informal feedback. Upon completion of training, librarians worked on systematic reviews with clinicians and academics to reinforce skills, with support from the clinical librarian as needed. Challenges included librarians’ differing levels of knowledge and experience of evidence- based practice as well as the range of disciplines they were responsible for, from health to education and physics. Staff availability and time to complete learning tasks before sessions was also challenging. Survey feedback indicated difficulty in understanding statistical concepts and a need to measure the success of this service. Recommendations included extending blended learning and providing more online content, raising awareness among disciplines for future collaboration and reporting outcomes of systematic review support.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventEighth International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference - Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 6 Jul 20158 Jul 2015


ConferenceEighth International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference


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