Day 4, 3 May 2012

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2012 by Centre for Evidence-based Health Care

The day kicked off with half an hour to work on our one-page policy briefs.  We had the opportunity of sending our draft policy brief to the presenters to get valuable feedback.

Next on the agenda for the day was Anthony Obuku (workshop participant from Uganda) who presented his PhD proposal by taking the approach that we’ve learned in this workshop so far.  He stated the context and the problem, stated four different options which can address the problem, and took us through the outcomes he plans to measure and comparisons between countries he wants to make for one of the options.  This option is the establishing of a Knowledge and Transfer Exchange Platform for postgraduate student research so that such research can be taken up by decision-makers.  Then he took us through potential benefits, risks, cost, adaptations and implementation considerations for this option. Anthony’s presentation led to a discussion regarding whether recommendations should be part of research (and in particular postgraduate student projects) or not.  My view is that researchers and postgraduate students can suggest future research to build on the existing research on a specific healthcare problem, but recommendations should be left to decision-makers as different recommendations may be needed for different settings and health systems.

The presentation for the day was given by Prof Lavis, which involved identifying knowledge gaps and communicating this gap to funders in such a way to secure financial support for the project.  Reading systematic reviews on a particular question is a good start to identify knowledge gaps, but it may be that there aren’t any systematic reviews to address your question.  The first step will then be to conduct such a systematic review.  Another good place to look for knowledge gaps is to read policy (evidence) briefs – especially gaps about adaptations in health systems, implementation strategies and cost-effectiveness may be found here.  To practice, we were given a list of good presentation tips and asked to prepare a 2 to 3 minute presentation about a key knowledge gap for which you would like to obtain funding.  The ‘take-home’ messages I got were:

  • Clear problem statement
  • Provide compelling research evidence (i.e. pitch your project in the context of the existing evidence base)
  • Have strong arguments in favour of your solution for the knowledge gap/problem
  • Be prepared to address arguments against your proposal (i.e. be able to defend the weaknesses)
  • Use a compelling anecdote if you can to capture attention
  • Use image(s) to strengthen your concept

At the end of the day each participant or working group presented their solution for a knowledge gap to a ‘panel of funders’ (a.k.a. our three workshop presenters) who decided where to put their money…  Everyone, whether in English or French, fought for their fair share!


To summarise the workshop so far, we have covered the following:

  • Introduction of knowledge translation
  • Where to search for research evidence
  • The approach: research to policy

– What is the problem?

–  What options are best suited to address the problem?

–  How can change be brought about?  (Implementation)

  • Other key skills needed to take research to policy-making:

–  Writing evidence briefs

– Convening policy dialogues

– Identifying and communicating knowledge gaps


Tomorrow morning we are going to receive feedback on our one-page policy briefs, wrap up and close the workshop.  The afternoon we have free to explore Cameroon’s markets.




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