Monday, January 28, 2013

Three New Papers from Biomed Central Journals

Phillips AC, Lewis LK, McEvoy MP, Galipeau J, Glasziou P, Hammick M, Moher D, Tilson J, Williams MT. Protocol for development of the guideline for reporting evidence based practice educational interventions and teaching (GREET) statement. BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:9 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-9

Background: There are an increasing number of studies reporting the efficacy of educational strategies to facilitate the development of knowledge and skills underpinning evidence based practice (EBP). To date there is no standardised guideline for describing the teaching, evaluation, context or content of EBP educational strategies. The heterogeneity in the reporting of EBP educational interventions makes comparisons between studies difficult. The aim of this program of research is to develop the Guideline for Reporting EBP Educational interventions and Teaching (GREET) statement and an accompanying explanation and elaboration (E&E) paper.
Methods: Three stages are planned for the development process. Stage one will comprise a systematic review to identify features commonly reported in descriptions of EBP educational interventions. In stage two, corresponding authors of articles included in the systematic review and the editors of the journals in which these studies were published will be invited to participate in a Delphi process to reach consensus on items to be considered when reporting EBP educational interventions. The final stage of the project will include the development and pilot testing of the GREET statement and E&E paper.

Outcome: The final outcome will be the creation of a Guideline for Reporting EBP Educational interventions and Teaching (GREET) statement and E&E paper.
Discussion: The reporting of health research including EBP educational research interventions, have been criticised for a lack of transparency and completeness. The development of the GREET statement will enable the standardised reporting of EBP educational research. This will provide a guide for researchers, reviewers and publishers for reporting EBP educational interventions.

Hofmann B, Myhr AI, Holm S. Scientific dishonesty—a nationwide survey of doctoral students in Norway. BMC Medical Ethics 2013, 14:3 doi:10.1186/1472-6939-14-3

Background: The knowledge of scientific dishonesty is scarce and heterogeneous. Therefore this study investigates the experiences with and the attitudes towards various forms of scientific dishonesty among PhD-students at the medical faculties of all Norwegian universities.

Method: Anonymous questionnaire distributed to all post graduate students attending introductory PhD-courses at all medical faculties in Norway in 2010/2011. Descriptive statistics.
Results: 189 of 262 questionnaires were returned (72.1%). 65% of the respondents had not, during the last year, heard or read about researchers who committed scientific dishonesty. One respondent had experienced pressure to fabricate and to falsify data, and one had experienced pressure to plagiarize data. On average 60% of the respondents were uncertain whether their department had a written policy concerning scientific conduct. About 11% of the respondents had experienced unethical pressure concerning the order of authors during the last 12 months. 10% did not find it inappropriate to report experimental data without having conducted the experiment and 38% did not find it inappropriate to try a variety of different methods of analysis to find a statistically significant result. 13% agreed that it is acceptable to selectively omit contradictory results to expedite publication and 10% found it acceptable to falsify or fabricate data to expedite publication, if they were confident of their findings. 79% agreed that they would be willing to report misconduct to a responsible official.

Conclusion: Although there is less scientific dishonesty reported in Norway than in other countries, dishonesty is not unknown to doctoral students. Some forms of scientific misconduct are considered to be acceptable by a significant minority. There was little awareness of relevant policies for scientific conduct, but a high level of willingness to report misconduct.

Charity M, French SD, Forsdike K, Britt H, Polus B, Gunn J. Extending ICPC-2 PLUS terminology to develop a classification system specific for the study of chiropractic encounters. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2013, 21:4 doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-4

Background: Typically a large amount of information is collected during healthcare research and this information needs to be organised in a way that will make it manageable and to facilitate clear reporting. The Chiropractic Observation and Analysis STudy (COAST) was a cross sectional observational study that described the clinical practices of chiropractors in Victoria, Australia. To code chiropractic encounters COAST used the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC-2) with the PLUS general practice clinical terminology to code chiropractic encounters. This paper describes the process by which a chiropractic-profession specific terminology was developed for use in research by expanding the current ICPC-2 PLUS system.
Methods: The coder referred to the ICPC-2 PLUS system when coding chiropractor recorded encounter details (reasons for encounter, diagnoses/problems and processes of care). The coder used rules and conventions supplied by the Family Medicine Research Unit at the University of Sydney, the developers of the PLUS system. New chiropractic specific terms and codes were created when a relevant term was not available in ICPC-2 PLUS.

Results: Information was collected from 52 chiropractors who documented 4,464 chiropractor-patient encounters. During the study, 6,225 reasons for encounter and 6,491 diagnoses/problems were documented, coded and analysed; 169 new chiropractic specific terms were added to the ICPC-2 PLUS terminology list. Most new terms were allocated to diagnoses/problems, with reasons for encounter generally well covered in the original ICPC 2 PLUS terminology: 3,074 of the 6,491 (47%) diagnoses/problems and 274 of the 6,225 (4%) reasons for encounter recorded during encounters were coded to a new term. Twenty nine new terms (17%) represented chiropractic processes of care.
Conclusion: While existing ICPC-2 PLUS terminology could not fully represent chiropractic practice, adding terms specific to chiropractic enabled coding of a large number of chiropractic encounters at the desired level. Further, the new system attempted to record the diversity among chiropractic encounters while enabling generalisation for reporting where required. COAST is ongoing, and as such, any further encounters received from chiropractors will enable addition and refinement of ICPC-2 PLUS (Chiro). More research is needed into the diagnosis/problem descriptions used by chiropractors.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grammar #2: Rules about Semicolons

Last week I discussed the proper use of hyphenation. This week I want to turn to another confusing grammatical device, the semicolon. Semicolons are used for three reasons (1):

1.      To connect two related sentences. Consider, as example: “I wanted to go home; I had not been feeling well.”

2.      Semicolons can team up with a transition, such as a conjunctive adverb, to connect two sentences close in meaning. Consider, as example: “I wanted to go home; however, I was so busy I could not.”

3.      Semicolons can be used when you have complicated, confusing lists of items. Consider, as example: “During my travels I visited davenport, Iowa; Moline, Illinois; and Madison, Wisconsin.”
Some rules to follow:
·        The main clauses that are being connected should be close in meaning.

·        Don’t capitalize the word following the semicolon unless it is a proper noun.

·        Don’t over use them. To be honest, I do.

·        Use a semicolon between items in a list or series if any of the items contain commas.

·        Never use a comma splice. That is, when you have a conjunctive adverb (i.e. “however”, you should use the semicolon. Look:
“I am old, however, I feel young.” This is the mistake of a comma splice (2). The correct sentence should read:
“I am old; however, I feel young.” These are independent clauses, and a semicolon is needed, not a comma.
You can use them properly; however, use them carefully…
1., accessed January 16, 2013

2., accessed January 16. 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Proper Hyphenation

I am regularly asked to read over and help edit writings from our faculty members. One of the problems I see fairly frequently is a lack of understanding related to hyphenation. I know discussions of good writing are not especially exciting, but making writing understandable is a useful skill to have. Hyphenation is critical to proper understanding of text.

Hyphens have two main purposes. One is to join words together, while the second is to separate the syllables in words. When we are writing our technical research papers, we are generally involved in the first use. Let’s see if we can apply some rules to how hyphens should be used (understanding that there is actually not one such set upon which we can draw. Different style manuals may offer slightly different recommendations for use. Also, rules may differ on a country-by-country basis. Hey, look, two hyphens in one term!).
Let me start by offering one of the most commonly misused terms I see in our combined writing. Look at the following term:
High velocity low amplitude manipulation
Because we understand the context, we know what the terms means. But let’s say you have no knowledge of chiropractic technique. What words here modify what other words? Does the word “velocity” modify the word “low?” In fact, as written we cannot make sense of the term, since we have no way to know which words are modifying other words. Hyphenation makes this all understandable:
High-velocity low-amplitude manipulation
It is now clear that “high” modifies “velocity” and “low” modifies “amplitude” and both combined terms then modify “manipulation.”
Hyphen rules
1.       There are no spaces between the hyphen and the words it connects.

2.       Numbers below 100 are hyphenated, i.e. thirty-five

3.       Hyphens are important in compound modifiers. This was the example I gave above, but let’s look at one more: “American football player.” Now, look at this and answer if you can tell whether or not we are referring to (1) an American who is a football player, or (2) an athlete who plays American football. You cannot tell. If this were written as “American-football player,” it is now clear that you are referring to someone who plays American football. If we look at the term “high ranking official,” it is not clear whether the we are referring to an official of high ranking, or a ranking official who is, uh, high. J
I always ask myself, is a term confusing? Using a term closer to home, what do I do with “cross country runner?” Is there an angry country runner or is there a runner who runs cross country? The proper term is cross-country runner. Wikipedia offers an interesting one: “man eating shark.” Without hyphenation, this really means that a man is eating shark (probably at a restaurant!), while man-eating shark is eating you (probably in the ocean…). Hyphens matter in making text understandable!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Atomic Learning

Dear all: It is wonderful to be back on campus after a lengthy and much needed break. I hope that during your time away you were able to recharge your batteries and rest up. Right at the time we broke for vacation, Palmer College partnered with Atomic Learning to provide all faculty with access to the Atomic Learning tutorials. These cover a wide range of topics related to computer programs and technology as well as learning methodologies. I previously sent this out as an email but felt it would do well as a reminder to send it again. Enjoy!

Our institution is dedicated to bringing technology training to you through a partnership with Atomic Learning.

From instant answers on “how to” questions to step-by-step training workshops, Atomic Learning simplifies campus technology integration, training, and support.

How do I find it?

How do I log in?

Log in with the following username and password:

User Name: your Palmer email address (i.e. dana,

Password:  learning

You can then change your password by using the “My Profile” button (upper right) after you log in, select “My Settings,” and then change your password to one of your own choice.

What will I find there?           

Our subscription to Atomic Learning includes nearly 50,000 step-by-step tutorials on common software such as Microsoft® Office, Adobe® CS6 and Blackboard®, and workshops and technology integration projects on emerging topics such as plagiarism and online courses.

Available 24/7 from campus or home, Atomic Learning creates flexible learning opportunities that make it easy for learners of all ages to embrace technology and develop critical skills for success at school, at work and in life.