Overview of Rapid Review Course Preparation and Execution

Jun 25, 2018

Participants and facilitators of the Rapid Review Course

The Rapid Review course held by the Faculty of Public Health University of Indonesia (FPHUI) was the first of its kind at the University, and was a collaboration between USAID’s Health Evaluation and Applied Research Development (HEARD) Project and the FPHUI. Prior to the course, preparations were taken, including 1) course syllabus and module development; 2) facilitators and resource person identification; 3) course advertisement and participant selection; and 4) course scheduling and execution.

Dr. Adisasmita giving a lecture to course participants

In preparing the course syllabus and module, FPHUI adopted materials from the WHO’s Rapid Review guidelines and from the Systematic Review Course, which is one of the elective courses at FPHUI. The syllabus was developed to meet the course objective of introducing the concept and steps of rapid review. By the end of the course, participants were expected to be able to conduct a rapid review independently. Once the list of topics was determined, teaching methods, assignments and exercises were identified and selected to reflect the course goals and learning objectives.

The course syllabus was discussed among team members to ensure course goals and objectives represented what participants should be able to do after completing the course. Since most of the targeted participants were also working in various institutions, the course provided credit hours, which is usually needed to obtain points for their career path. Development of course materials also included discussions with a resource person from Cochrane Australia to obtain input about how to conduct the course and implement the rapid reviews effectively.

Identification of resource persons was done through discussions with the Department of Epidemiology at FPHUI and UI Library to find suitable people to deliver the course topics. The resource persons from UI Library were those who have given lectures on literature searches to students and staff not only in our previous Systematic Review course, but also for other courses within FPHUI.

Hands-on practice on conducting a literature search

The next step was to advertise the course throughout the college, university, and beyond, including to the Ministry of Health and other universities. Information about the course was also shared through word-of-mouth and social media. After four weeks of advertisement, 25 participants registered for the course. Considering the accepted class size to allow optimal learning, we decided to limit the number of participants to 20. Thus, only the first 20 registered participants were selected. The class included postgraduate students, policy makers from the Research and Development Agency of the Ministry of Health, lecturers from other universities, and public health researchers and practitioners.

The Rapid Review Course was held on April 2-6, 2018 at FPHUI. The course module was designed to allow hands-on experience through multiple practice sessions, especially for literature searches and using software for analysis, to ensure that all participants were actively involved in the sessions and understood the goals of the sessions. By the end of the course, we expected participants to develop protocols for rapid reviews, and we sought their commitment to implement the rapid reviews under the mentoring of FPHUI team.

The 20 participants were divided into four groups. The course was facilitated by four members of the HEARD team, one staff and two resource persons from the Department of Epidemiology FPHUI, and two librarians from UI. The course was delivered in an interactive way where participants were given more time for discussions. A total of five drafts of rapid review protocols were produced by participants by the end of the course, and are now being explored for actual implementation of rapid reviews.

A group presenting their draft of a rapid review protocol

At the end of the course, we asked participants to provide feedback. In general, we received positive feedback. Some participants perceived the approach of the course, which emphasized hands-on experience and allocated more time for discussions, as very helpful. Several participants expressed their expectation to produce a review of results out of this course. In fact, we have received a request from 25 doctoral students to organize a systematic review and rapid review course, followed-up by hands-on practice. We expect that in the future, FPHUI will continue to conduct rapid review courses, contributing to the global efforts for improving the capacity of policy-makers and researchers to conduct rapid reviews.