knowledge project

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From theory to practice…

The knowledge encounters research project I have been working on as part of my doctorate at Oxford is now moving into the primary research phase.

A mixed studies systematic review of the knowledge sources used by healthcare workers is in its final draft and will soon be submitted for publication. It feels like it’s been a long time coming.

I did the review so that I could design a way to capture the ways in which dentists in primary care might find knowledge in their day to day lives. Some really interesting ethnographic work with general medical practitioners suggested that most of the time good clinicians don’t seek out formal knowledge products like evidence-based guidelines. Instead they garner their knowledge from discussions with colleagues, from sales reps, from the local consultant or from their experiences with patients.

This probably explains why implementation scientists who try to push research evidence into practice have struggled to change practice.

The review I have done has allowed me to extract from 76 studies over 170 different ways in which healthcare workers access knowledge. From this I have then created what is called a faceted categorisation of what I have termed knowledge encounters.

Faceted categorisations recognise that there are several ways in which a particular “thing” can be categorised. This appealed because many of the knowledge sources reported were quite multidimensional. Below is a wordle that shows what some of them were.

Sources wordle

The 6 categories I developed were based on a previous classification called BC2. The intention was always to use this to help dentists classify their knowledge encounters in a richer way than just saying who or what the knowledge source was.

The categories are shown below.

I have now taken these categories and put them into a web form that I am piloting with dentists who will record as many of their daily encounters with knowledge as possible.


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