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Getting Cochrane into schools

Date and Location




Saturday 21 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Caroline Struthers

Contact person

Caroline Struthers
Abstract text
Background: The ALOIS Community volunteer project (Sept 10-Jun 12) was an NIHR-funded Cochrane-NHS engagement project which demonstrated that it was feasible to recruit and train lay volunteers to read trial reports and extract the information needed to maintain the Cochrane Dementia Group's register of controlled studies - ALOIS. It also demonstrated that schoolchildren could do this task given suitable support and guidance. There could be enormous benefits of volunteering to this age-group in terms of gaining a practical understanding of the work of Cochrane through hands-on experience, telling the difference between good and bad research, an appreciation of the challenges facing those seeking the truth about treatments, and building confidence to pursue a career as a doctor or clinical researcher. Objectives: To develop and pilot an educational programme targeting UK state schools, which will allow schoolchildren to contribute directly to Cochrane and learn about research and systematic reviews at the same time. A key measurable outcome might be the number of applications to university medical courses by students from participating schools. Methods: 1. Case-study of a schoolchild who has undertaken the coding task. 2. Report on Trial Blazers - a crowd-sourcing study which recruited a subset of laypeople via social media to screen citations using an iPhone app 3. Report on a subset of schoolchildren recruited to screen references from EMBASE for publication in CENTRAL. 4. Development of relationships with relevant stakeholders and educational experts to explore strategies to facilitate Cochrane's engagement with schools and to motivate schoolchildren to participate. Results: Present evidence for the feasibility of Cochrane engaging meaningfully with this age-group, and a draft strategy on how to achieve it. Discussion: Audience will be encouraged to comment on a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of a draft schools' engagement strategy, and invited to contribute further ideas.