An Update: MAC Special Professional Development Committee Award Recipient

In early November, I had the opportunity to attend a Systematic Review Workshop at the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System. This valuable learning experience was made possible for me through an award provided by the MAC Special Professional Development Committee, and I am very grateful. While all three days of this workshop were packed with a lot of good information, the following areas were particularly interesting and helpful to me.

Day 1: I found the information session on Publication Bias (non-English articles/journals, speed of publication, positive vs. negative results, etc) very important since this can cause inaccurate conclusions in systematic reviews. I learned different strategies to minimize research bias and the importance of the discussing the potential for bias in the methods section of systematic reviews.

Day 2: The afternoon session on Grey Literature (published and unpublished) proved educational and challenging. Searching all of the different types of Grey Literature can be a time-consuming process, but this is also important to a high quality systematic review. This session demonstrated several new online and print resources that I will most certainly use in the future.

Day 3: The morning session related to Project Management was most beneficial in terms of organizing a systematic review. Without doubt, organization is the key to success. Researchers should keep detailed search documents and progress notes related to the entire systematic review. And good communication with the lead investigator and other team members is also vital.

Lastly, I learned that creating a “perfect” systematic review may be impossible. Being transparent in research methodology, however, is possible and critical to any successful systematic review. Overall, this workshop was extremely helpful to my professional development in the health sciences field. I am now more confident in my literature search skills and in my ability to provide research guidance to library patrons interested in conducting systematic reviews.

Thanks again for the kind support, and best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!

Mary Beth Papciak
Health Sciences Library
Forbes Regional HospitalWest Penn Allegheny Health System

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