Community rapid review: creating the right environment for novices

Creating the right environment to encourage users seems an essential element of any rapid review community.  Potential users will include health professionals with lots of experience in answering their clinical questions.  Similarly, there will be many information specialists with high levels of skills and experience.  For them, simply creating a rapid review ‘structure’ will be sufficient.

However, a much bigger challenge is to encourage potential users, those with less confidence, to commit to undertaking a rapid review; many may feel uncomfortable at having their efforts scrutinised by their peers. We therefore need to make the community supportive, nurturing and educational (for those that want it).  So, a number of immediate thoughts:

  • As part of the system we allow users to ask for more automatic support with their review.  This may be in identifying PICO elements or it may be in helping them extract the ‘good bits’ from an article.  But it could appear in any of the stages of the rapid review process.
  • At each stage have a ‘help’ button that alerts ‘the crowd’ to ask for support.
  • Labelling the reviews based on the experience of the user.  So, a ‘novice’ user would hopefully be viewed as such by ‘the crowd’ and be given extra nurturing more supportive comments.
  • Can we create a buddying/mentoring system where a ‘newbie’ can ask for an extra bit of support from someone with more experience?

I’m really liking this direction.  The initial idea was a publishing platform to help people create rapid reviews.  And now it’s developed to include a nurturing/educational/supportive element. To me that’s made it significantly more powerful, useful and inclusive.

If you have experience in helping create such supportive environments please let me know if you have any tips!


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