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Home > Online course in evidence-based practice for drug prevention workers.

Galvin, Brian (2010) Online course in evidence-based practice for drug prevention workers. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 34, Summer 2010, p. 27.

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The National Documentation Centre is piloting a course in evidence-based practice in drug prevention and education work. The course, which lasts for 12 weeks, was launched in early March. The 12 participants on the course are from a variety of backgrounds, but most work in the drug prevention and education field. The aim of the course is to teach the participants a range of information-literacy skills which will help them understand how evidence in their field is produced, how this evidence can be found and how research-based knowledge can be used to shape policy and bring about better health outcomes.
The course participants bring to it considerable knowledge of their own specialist field and experience of planning and delivering educational and instructional programmes. They already have some research and information-retrieval skills and some understanding of the role of evidence in the formation of policy in this area.
The course draws heavily on the participants’ conceptual, technical and communication abilities. 
The course comprises seven modules covering the following topics: the policy context; the research infrastructure; the evidence for drug prevention interventions; evidence-based medicine; searching the scientific literature; critical appraisal; and data sources.
A successful outcome will depend on participants’ capacity to make logical links between the production of evidence, finding evidence and its role in policy development. It is intended that the outcome will be of direct benefit to the participants’ daily practice and will enable them to contribute to the adoption of evidence-based approaches to policy decisions. A problem-based learning approach encourages the type of enquiry, discourse and collaborative effort which will be needed to make full use of the newly acquired information-literacy skills.
Assessment is based on performance in a group presentation, and on participation in online discussion throughout the course. The presentation is the group’s response to a problem they identified at the beginning of the course. There are three face-to-face sessions, but most of the course is delivered online. Content and learning activities are supported by the Moodle course management system. The decision to deliver the course online was based on the following considerations:
·         The participants work and live in diverse locations and a distance learning element will provide the flexibility for those with limited opportunity to travel
·         As it is an information literacy course, it will require the participants to engage with online resources and develop an awareness of the potential of the internet for research, communication and collaborative working
·         The emergence of the evidence-based medicine movement is closely linked to the rapid development of electronic scientific publishing. An understanding of EBM will require an awareness of the virtual environment which has fostered it
Following completion of the pilot course, an evaluation report will be prepared and submitted to an appropriate accreditation body. The course will be repeated in the future, when details will be advertised in Drugnet Ireland and on the NDC website at
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Education and training
Issue Title
Issue 34, Summer 2010
Page Range
p. 27
Health Research Board
Issue 34, Summer 2010
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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