**Thank you** to everyone who participated in our #PHTwitJC evaluation survey. This post summarises your responses – enjoy!
In total we had 39 responses, predominantly from the UK but we also have some representation from the USA and Canada. 64% of responders were female and 67% were aged 3o-something. However our responders represented every age category provided, from 20-something up to 70-plus!
How do people interact with #PHTwitJC?
It was good to see that people were using a variety of methods to interact and participate in #PHTwitJC. Most people interacted with #PHTwitJC in multiple ways (e.g. voting and observing) which is great to know. Here is the break down of survey responses:
46% of respondents had visited the website
36% of respondents had actively tweeted during a Sunday journal club
33% of respondents had previously voted for a topic/paper prior to a journal club
28% of respondents had observed a live Sunday journal club but not tweeted
41% of respondents had not participated in #PHTwitJC… yet!
What are the benefits to participating in #PHTwitJC?
There are many! Below I have illustrated some of the more frequently stated benefits from survey respondents:
1. Networking with others interested in public health
“Discussion and networking with PH colleagues from all areas and levels.”
“It’s been good for making contacts that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and whom I have been in contact with outside the confines of Sunday evenings!”
2. Exploring new public health topics and methodologies
“Reading and evaluating articles which are usually outside my area of knowledge and also methodologically different – keeps me on my toes”
” improving awareness of a wide range of contemporary public health issues”
3. Developing critical appraisal skills
“opened my eyes to new ways to examine papers i never thought of before.”
“Good to get others perspectives and be able to test your thoughts with others.”
“Discussing papers and critically appraising with others are useful experiences for developing critical appraisal skills and keeping up-to-date with research”
4. Friendly facilitators and participants
” I feel able to ask ‘silly questions’ and not TOO worried about making a ridiculous point as the facilitators are very friendly, as are the participants”
“practising critical appraisal skills in an informal environment with encouragement and feedback”
5. Having everything accessible online
“I love that fact that if i miss a one club i can always read about it on your website”
A few participants also noted that participating in #PHTwitJC was a good way to prepare for exams (e.g. at university or professional qualifications) as well as gaining Continuing Professional Development points!
What are the things which make it difficult or off-putting to participate?
Unsuprisingly, the number one thing which makes it difficult to participate is timing. Some respondents mentioned that Sunday 8-9pm often clashes with family commitments, some said they would prefer to have a work-free weekend and others said they often forgot or missed the start.
Another popular theme was a lack of confidence and/or desire to use Twitter. This either stemmed from not understanding how a live #PHTwitJC works, getting confused by the twitter-language abbreviations and hashtags, not wishing to state things which would then become a public record, or the technological lag between tweets contributing to the discussion.
A few respondents also discussed the issue of having small numbers actively tweeting. Firstly this tends to put pressure on those participating to come up with something interesting to say! And secondly, this may be offputting to those observing as some may percieve active participants as ‘experts’.
Other off-putting things to note included: not having read/digested the paper in advance, not enjoying all the topics being discussed, and having a preference for particular methodological preference (which may not always be discussed e.g. qualitative or quanitative studies).
How can we encourage participation?
There were some great suggestions coming through the survey, and we would like to pilot some changes moving forward into our second year of #PHTwitJC. Some of your suggestions included: varying the time/day, having guest facilitators (e.g. authors), considering different means of promotion and communication, and having earlier polls to allow more time to prepare chosen papers. And of course, ensuring we continue to evaluate to add to our evidence base of what works for #PHTwitJC!
The top 10 topics you would like #PHTwitJC to discuss were:
- Health Policy
- Health Economics
- Chronic Diseases
- Accident Prevention
- Health Promotion
- International Health
- Maternal and Child Health
- Communicable Diseases
So, what happens next?
Thank you again for contributing to #PHTwitJC! This evaluation has been really useful in helping to identify whats working, what needs tweaking, and how we can get more people invovled. Kate and I are going to put our thinking caps on to pilot a few suggested changes, and we hope you’ll continue to follow us on this journey.