knowledge project

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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,


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.

Ethics and an ethnographic dimension to my DPhil

Ethics: Great news!CUREC banner image for screen

The web form and interview study was given ethics clearance by the Medical Sciences Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee this week.

The ethics code is MS-IDREC-C1-2015-088.

Ethnography addition

Another development is that I will add an ethnographic component to my DPhil project, which is very exciting. Ethnography is an approach to studying people in their natural setting through observation, interviews and other methods such as documentary analysis.

I have been inspired by ethnographies conducted in healthcare such as that by John Gabbay and Andre Le May that led to their concept of Mindlines and Annemarie Mol’s fascinating ethnography of atherosclerosis that resulted in a book called The Body Multiple.

..”ethnography offers a holistic way of exploring the relationship between the different kinds of evidence that underpin clinical practice”

The purpose of the ethnographic component of the thesis is to research how dentists, their teams, patients and third parties such as salespeople interact with, create and use knowledge in their natural setting.

It is well suited to my enquiry into the knowledge that dentists use in practice. Jan Savage argues that “ethnography is particularly valuable because of the attention it gives to context and its synthesis of findings from different methods. Moreover, ethnography offers a holistic way of exploring the relationship between the different kinds of evidence that underpin clinical practice.”

My intention is to conduct the ethnographies in two different-sized practices in London. One practice owner has already offered her practice as case study, for which I am very grateful.

Evidence Live 2015: Knowledge encounters poster

Evidence Live is the gathering in Oxford of folk interested in promoting and developing evidence-based healthcare. This year it takes place on April 13th-14th.Evidence Live 15

I will present a poster of my systematic review looking into the sources of information and experiential knowledge that healthcare workers use in practice. It was from this review that I developed the concept of “knowledge encounters” and the multifaceted classification of these that I am using in this mixed methods study.

I’ve uploaded a pdf of the poster, which you can see below.

A mixed studies systematic review of knowledge encounters

Web form usability testing

The web form that I have developed for this project is based on some theoretical work I did as part of a systematic review.

In brief, the research project will ask dentists to record as many of the times when they learn something new from information or an experience over three 7-day periods. I call these occasions “knowledge encounters” and I’ll ask some dentists to take part in 30 minute interviews to gain a deeper understanding of what the encounters meant to them.

The web form is designed to help dentists record the encounters and categorise them in 30-60 seconds.

I have used the form with some dentists but would like to recruit 5-10 willing participants to try it out and feedback on the experience.

Knowledge encounters on computer and phone

What would be involved?

  1. When you get in touch, I will assign you a personalised web form for a training exercise (see below) and for testing the form over a day or two.
  2. Before recording encounters with new information or experience, I would like participants to work through 5 simulated knowledge encounters online. These shouldn’t take more than a minute each to do.
  3. After that, I will ask you to use the web form either on your phone, tablet or computer to record the encounters you had over the course of a day – or more if you’re willing 🙂
  4. Finally, I will ask for your feedback via another web form. This is about usability testing – so I am looking to identify problems with using the web form.

I can’t offer much in return at this stage other than the pleasure of helping progress the science of evidence-based practice, but if you go on to take part in the study itself I will feedback your patterns of knowledge encounters.

You can find out more about the project here and get in touch via the contact form there too.



Dominic Hurst

Storifying academic discussion about knowledge encounters

A couple of weeks ago Trish Greenhalgh (@trishgreenhalgh) publicised the blog I’d written about knowledge encounters and I had a twitter exchange with Anita Kothari (@anitarena) in Ontario about them. She went on to use the blog post in her grad class. Here is a storify presentation of the exchange.
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