knowledge project

Recruiting: dentists who will share their knowledge encounters

As part of my DPhil research at Oxford I am hoping to recruit general dental practitioners from the UK who would be willing to record their knowledge encounters for a week and be interviewed for between 30 minutes and one hour about one or more of the encounters.

You can see what is involved in recording knowledge encounters here by working through a few simulations.

And as this is an educational activity for those participating everyone who takes part in recording their encounters and the interview afterwards is awarded 2 hours of verifiable CPD.

Below is a 3 minute video introducing the study. I hope you’ll feel motivated to join the endeavour and get in touch via the form below.

Knowledge encounters systematic review published

I am pleased to write that my article describing how I derived my classification of knowledge encounters has just been published in Implementation Science. This work was used to design the knowledge encounters tool used in the studies described on this website.

I am very grateful to the GDPs who helped me test the usability of the classification.
All the best,


Update and recruitment request for GDPs in London area

image008It’s been a while since I last posted. After the great response to my requests to participate in recording knowledge encounters I had a lot of really good data to analyze. And it’s taken some time to work through.

Key themes that have arisen from the work are the role of routines as repositories of knowledge, the way dentists constantly innovate as they practice (and so generate new personal knowledge) and the role of case-based reasoning in advancing their understandings.

The implications for me are that if research evidence is to find its way into the complexity of practice we need to firstly recognize that knowledge in practice is something much greater than just research knowledge and then to work out ways of helping integrate research evidence alongside all the other knowledge dentists build.

My next and final phase of research is going to video and audio record dentists, patients and staff for a whole clinical session at a time. Building on the ideas developed from the previous research, the idea is to observe the roles of routine, innovation and case-based reasoning as dentists build knowledge in practice. As it involves NHS patients this is now going through NHS ethics approval but I hope to begin recording the clinical sessions from March 2017 onwards.

If you are a GDP working in NHS, mixed or private practice in the London area, I would welcome the opportunity to record one of your clinical sessions and to interview you for no more than an hour soon after. Here is the participant information sheet ¬†Participant information sheet I have submitted for ethics approval. Although the ethics committee may make some suggestions for changes this shouldn’t change it too much.

Please do get in touch if you might be interested using the form below or the email address on the information sheet.

January 2016 update on the Knowledge Encounters project

The knowledge encounters project continues with many colleagues kindly contributing their time to recording those events when they come across something new in their professional lives, which may or may not impact on their practice.

Whilst the knowledge encounters themselves reveal much about the ways in which dentists are actually learning, the interviews around these encounters are helping me to get a picture of what is going on in more detail.

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The data so far suggests that the majority of encounters occur in the workplace and that dentists learn 2/5 of the time from fellow practitioners. The dentists recording these encounters on the whole intend in some way to use the new knowledge they have encountered even if it is only conceptually.

If you might be interested in contributing to this project by recording your own encounters for a week and reflecting on these in a 30-60 minute interview please do get in touch.

All the best,


Dominic Hurst

Knowledge Encounters Project update

Dominic HurstI’ve been a little quiet for the past few weeks as I have been organising dentists’ data collection for the project.

It has been a real pleasure talking to the participants before they take part and very warming to hear their enthusiasm for the project as they come to understand in greater depth what I am up to.

As a recap, the knowledge encounters project I am running seeks to improve our understanding of where dentists get their knowledge from and how this knowledge is integrated (or not) with existing knowledge.Knowledge encounters on computer and phone

As evidenced by the breadth of knowledge encounters dentists have recorded so far, clinicians build knowledge from diverse sources.

I thought I’d pop out a few more interim results here as more data has come in from dentists recording their encounters.


As you can see below, experiential knowledge and codified knowledge (e.g. published articles, research, educational books) are encountered about a quarter of the time, and codified knowledge in a personalised form (e.g. a colleague or educator talking about codified knowledge) almost a fifth of the time. (There is a full description of what these terms mean here).

What 14-08-2015


Perhaps not surprisingly the largest group of people who share knowledge with the dentists in this study are fellow colleagues 42% of the time. Interestingly, patients, employers, salespeople and researchers each share knowledge 10% of the time. The detail of the encounters with patients that emerges from the qualitative data collected is fascinating, with quite detailed knowledge being passed on to GDPs, particularly from specialists and hospital consultants.

Who 14-08-2015

How many?

Much of the knowledge encounters seem to take place when dentists are alone or with one other person, usually a colleague or patient. A large proportion of the group encounters involve online discussion forums.

How many 14-08-2015


Once again, I’d like to thank all my colleagues who have taken part so far and those who have enrolled and will soon begin collecting data.

If you think you would like to contribute please do get in touch.

All the Best,


2 hours of verifiable CPD for dentists taking part in the knowledge encounters study

It is clear from the data recorded by participants, and the narrative interview that follows it, that the process of recording knowledge encounters encourages dentists to reflect on what they are doing, ask further questions and seek answers to knowledge gaps.

It is therefore clear that this is a planned learning activity for most participants as they use the web form tool to collect and reflect on the experiences and knowledge that they come across over the course of a week. The narrative interviews have thrown up further deeper consideration of how dentists learn and therefore how they might further their development of the knowledge they have encountered.

The GDC defines CPD in the following way:

CPD for dental professionals is defined as: lectures, seminars, courses, individual study and other activities, that can be included in your CPD record if it can be reasonably expected to advance your professional development as a dentist or dental care professional and is relevant to your practice or intended practice.

Participants use about an hour to do the web form training and, over a week, record their own knowledge encounters. They also spend up to an hour describing, reflecting and analysing their encounters for up to one hour during a narrative interview. Therefore, I think this will adequately fulfil the GDC’s requirements and enable participants to claim 2 hours of verifiable CPD once the interview is completed.

The learning outcomes for this exercise are therefore:

  • Participants will learn how to use a web-based tool to record and reflect on clinical knowledge encounters they have over the period of 1 week
  • They will reflect on what they intend to do with the new knowledge or experience in terms of using it conceptually, politically, instrumentally or not at all
  • Through a 1 hour narrative interview they will be encouraged to reflect on and analyse their encounters in greater depth

A requirement of the GDC is that all verifiable CPD providers encourage feedback as a quality assurance step and therefore participants will be asked to provide this using a brief web form.

Knowledge encounters feedback form

So now there’s even more reason to join in.

Have a great weekend.



Some participant feedback

It is difficult to convey what I believe to be an easy and, hopefully, rewarding and reflective episode of data collection by dentists as they record their knowledge encounters.

So I was very pleased after an interview with one participant about the knowledge encounters he’d had the week before that he wrote a few words of reflection:

“Interesting, informative, easy to incorporate into a busy working day. Even a luddite like me found the tech a doddle. ¬†Thoroughly recommended!”

This dentist, working in a busy practice, found it took less than a minute to record his knowledge encounters of which he recorded 2-3 per day for 7 days. The interview was held using Skype and used a narrative approach allowing him to talk through the knowledge encounter and anything of relevance around it. It was fascinating.

The data is rich and after just a few dentists recording knowledge encounters a new picture of knowledge creation and use is being described.

Thanks again to all those who have recorded their knowledge encounters and to those who have expressed an interest in doing so.



Knowledge encounters study: early data

With participants now recording their knowledge encounters here is some really early data arising from 28 encounters recorded:

What 1 in 4 encounters involve codified knowledge in a personalised form – research, scholarly or practice based knowledge that is passed on by individuals.

About 1 in 5 encounters involved some form of process or policy knowledge

And a little less involved codified knowledge – directly encountering research, scholarly or practice based knowledge rather than it being passed through someone else

HowNearly 6 in 10 encounters were shared verbally with one quarter through writing. But some are encountering new learning visually and through internal reflection.

WhoDentists are getting their information and other new knowledge from all sorts of places. A third involve fellow practitioners and almost 1 in 5 involves their employer. 14% comes from researchers and 11% from educators. But patients and non-practitioner colleagues share knowledge with dentists too.

I’m really grateful to the many dentists in general practice who are contributing their time towards this study and helping to build a better picture of how dentists acquire and build their knowledge in practice. I am still recruiting and welcome anybody in practice in the UK to take part.

Dominic HurstIf you fancy having a go at recording some knowledge encounters have a go here.

All the best,


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