Less is more…

… according to Amanda Burls who gave a presentation on “Stats in small doses”. Not only did she manage to keep us all awake in the session after lunch, but she demonstrated various techniques and tips on teaching complicated concepts related to statistics.

“Less is more” was a theme that emerged throughout the day. Going back to the first session of the day, Rod Jackson gave a presentation on critical appraisal. After hearing him talk about the Graphic Appraisal Tool for Epidemiological studies (GATE), I finally see how this can be useful in teaching students how to critically appraise epidemiological studies. Even though I have been teaching students to use the GATE framework in the past, this presentation was like a “light bulb” moment. Rod Jackson’s enthusiasm and interesting stories on how he developed the tool definitely contributed to my new understanding of how to use this. The goal is really to simplify critical appraisal, without missing any critical points. And once you remember the picture, the acronym and the formulae (less), you have the tools to make a judgement about the study quality, the magnitude of the effect and the precision (more). For busy clinicians wanting to appraise studies, this tool seems ideal since not all of them are going to be clinical epidemiologists.

See http://www.epig.co.nz for more information on the GATE frame and to access critical appraisal sheets for various studies.

During the morning session on the lawn – see photo in previous post – we listened to one of the group member’s (Ken) podcast on the Ottawa rule for ankle injuries. Ken is an emergency medicine physician in Canada and is aiming to produce 10 minute podcasts on best available evidence for relevant questions in the emergency department. This is part of a larger project, “The Sceptics Guide to Emergency Medicine” (www.TheSGEM.com) . It was very interesting to have discussions around socila media and the role of technology in education.  It is becoming increasingly important to include Podcasts, Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other technologies in teaching and learning – especially for the current undergraduate students (Generation Z) who do not know a life without mobile phones, who can access information by clicking one button and who are constantly connected with the people around them. Using these tools to teach EBHC can be of great value – has anybody thought about a GATE framework app yet?




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