Sunday, 8 January 2017

Narrative and knowledge sharing

As a consequence of my research at the University of Oxford, I have become intrigued by the role that stories play in spreading knowledge among dentists. 

We spend a lot of time discussing cases, reformulating ideas of how best to diagnose and manage our patients' problems and recounting past events to ourselves and others. Storytelling is endemic and essential to our development as professionals.
Storytelling is endemic and essential to our development as professionals.
Because of this, my hapless current MSc student is going to use a narrative (or story) I have prepared with a GDP colleague in interviews with other GDPs. The narrative tells the GDP's story of starting to do blood tests on patients with periodontal disease. 

Along with other ways of communicating research evidence (e.g. journals, blogs, podcasts) she'll explore how the GDPs perceive the narrative. Is it more helpful / interesting / communicative when the evidence has been personalized by an individual? Does it help that they explain some of the uncertainties they had in making this change? And how they actually went about putting the change into practice?

My idea long term is to collect many authentic stories of dentists taking research evidence and putting it into practice. So I am keen to engage with other dentists who have taken something that the research suggests would be good to do and tried to put it into practice - even if it wasn't successful. 

The likelihood is that even when people do put research into practice, it gets adapted in ways that the researchers probably never envisaged. But this adaptation is what will make it work in a particular context.

My contact details are available at the Queen Mary Website. Please do get in touch if you are a GDP anywhere in the world with a story to tell.