In April, I had a great meeting with Dr Avinash Supe – one that lasted almost for an hour. I have known Dr Supe since around 1999/2000, and he has been a friend and well-wisher for years – something that I am very grateful for. When I met him in April, he helped me validate my thoughts, dreams for QMed, and more.
Here are my Questions and his Answers:
VS: Could you frame the problem that QMed addresses, in your words?
Dr Supe: In the medical and health sciences domain many people do not know how to search the literature and reference correctly and you teach them this.
But the problem goes beyond that. There is an underutilization of Libraries and library services. The quality of our publications, research and knowledge of validity of research have to improve a lot. The lacuna in skills in literature searching is one important reason.
Also, the goal of a medical / health sciences teacher is to improve knowledge in the areas of Education, Research, Clinical Practice and Administration/management, and literature searching is important in all these areas.
An effective literature search would also help clinicians to select appropriate updated management/ treatment modalities for an individual and help them to treat him/her better.
You are working on tackling this lacuna and are actually working at improving all these areas by filling in the missing skills.
VS: If I made myself available in an institution for one day in a week – what should I offer?
Dr Supe: Ideally you should offer a 10 session course, for 2 or 3 hours availability once a week. In 10 sessions you should be able to teach them the literature searching components, in groups so that they become more confident in this area. Create a Google Group of the participants. Before a session give them an exercise. During the session, discuss it and tell them how they could improve / learn more / correct mistakes. Give them one more example to work on by the next lesson. Also give them another exercise which you will cover in the next week. Residents and teachers need this in addition to your lectures which only tell them what they do not know!
VS: Should I consider offering this to an institution as part of our Online Courses package?
Dr Supe: That sounds like a good idea
VS: What more can we do to ensure that literature searching and referencing is given its due importance?
Dr Supe: People have still not understood the full importance of these two areas so you need to keep teaching for quite some more time
VS: To introduce this in the curriculum – we need enough teachers and knowledgeable people – both librarians as well as PG teachers. We believe that our courses being online will help create these. Could you give any more ideas?
Dr Supe: You need to present your work at conferences – especially like the NCHPE, and write more about your work, so that the teachers decide to learn more.
VS: How do we quickly ensure that the Online Courses that we offer on Literature Searching and Referencing, are taken up by many institutions?
Dr Supe: I guess you may need to start with some private institutions where the processes and approvals may be easier.
Thank you Dr Supe for all these inputs! I really value them and look forward to moving ahead.