The ‘Supporting Researchers’ course was organised and funded by Health Education England and run by Dr Maria Grant and Lisa Jeskins. The course ran over 4 weeks and there were several cohorts you could join. My cohort ran from 24th October – 15th November 2022.

The first week we were asked to take part in a flipped classroom, which was followed-up in the second week by a webinar on Microsoft Teams. This format was repeated in weeks 3 and 4. The first part focused on taking stock of the things that our library service already does to support researchers, while the second part helped us to take a step back in order to work out how to pull our support offer into a coherent strategy, underpinned by SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound) objectives and aligned with our library’s and organisation’s strategies. There were plenty of opportunities for us to share ideas and to practise writing SMART objectives.

For those of you wondering about the flipped classroom – I had heard of this but never taken part in one, so was not sure what to expect! In this case, we were asked to watch a short video, which introduced the topic and a preliminary activity sheet containing 3 tasks. We had to complete the tasks and email our worksheet to Maria before the webinar. This prepared us for the webinar and meant that in the session we could explore the topic more in-depth and focus on sharing ideas, rather than being held back by background details.

I really enjoyed the flipped classroom format and thought it may be something we can adapt for our own training. It might, for example, work quite well with literature searching training – we could introduce trainees to the planning of a search and ask them to plan their topic before attending the training session, where we could then discuss it in detail. It’s certainly something I will be exploring a bit more.
The course was also timely for me as one of my objectives is to develop our systematic review support offer. Over the last year I have got stuck in with systematic reviews as and when the opportunities arose, now I need to take a step back and formulate our offer/support strategy, and this course has helped me work out where to start. I also came away with lots of ideas and examples of what other libraries are doing to support research.

So, would I recommend the course? Yes, if anybody has an interest in supporting researchers, I would definitely recommend this; the facilitators were great, there was a friendly atmosphere in the sessions, and it felt like a safe space for learning. In addition, it was practical and relevant. Although it ran over 4 weeks, the time commitment was manageable, and the flipped classroom format meant you had some choice over when to do the tasks. Overall, it was a really good course – thank you!