How to write a Knowledge Summary

Veterinary teams need practical evidence-based tools to solve patient problems efficiently. In the veterinary profession, as in human medicine, a great deal of time is spent making decisions in a complex and often uncertain environment. The challenge to keep up with the latest research is immense.

To fill a recognised gap, we created Veterinary Evidence - an open access journal where practitioners can share the answers they've found with their colleagues, by writing a Knowledge Summary; a concise critical summary of the best available information on a defined clinical question.  

All members of the veterinary community – whether veterinarians or nurses, farrier or orthodontists, students or certificated experts – are invited to share their knowledge and experience. Together, we can achieve what we entered the veterinary professions for: improve animal health globally based on the highest standards of evidence-based care, so that animal owners and users at home, in the fields, and in the food chain, can be assured that animals are healthy, happy and well cared for. 

Writing a Knowledge Summary can also count towards your annual CPD requirements. The RCVS recommends a minimum CPD engagement of 35 hours per year, see more about what counts as CPD and how to log your activities here

To make writing a Knowledge Summary as simple as possible, we have created an easy guide below, to help you get started. You can contact the managing editor of Veterinary Evidence, Bridget Sheppard: bridget@rcvsknowledge.org with any questions or queries throughout this process.

 

1

Ask an answerable question

Once you have a question in mind, it’s time to turn it into an answerable one. If you need more guidance, you can use PICO.Vet to help you turn your question into a PICO format.

At this stage, you can approach our library team to help you develop an answerable question.  Or use our EBVM Toolkit 1 (Guide to asking an answerable question).

 

2

Conduct a literature search

Develop a systematic search strategy so you can logically search the scientific literature for suitable studies.

The library team can also develop and assist with your search if you do not have access to a database. You can also use the EBVM Toolkit 2 (Finding the best available evidence), to help you identify synonyms and other related terms.

 

3

Appraise the evidence

Examine the quality of the study, as well as how well it relates to the clinical situation – are the findings relevant to your clinical setting/situation?

EBVM Toolkit 3 introduces the “levels of evidence” a study provides, and EBVM Toolkit 4 can help you identify the study design. 

 

4

Download a template

Write your Knowledge Summary using a downloadable template from Veterinary Evidence. This will help you reach a clinical bottom line, as well as key points from each study, appraisal and reflection upon these findings in clinical practice.

For more guidance on writing your Knowledge Summary, see Guidance on Scientific Writing and our author guidelines.

 

5

Submit your summary

Use our checklist before submitting. Your Knowledge Summary will then be sent to reviewers who will make fair and helpful comments before publication.

See more about our editorial process here.

 

6

Relax!

You have just contributed to the evidence base that will help other veterinary professionals undertake evidence-based practice. And remember to log your hours of quality CPD!

 

Need more extensive guidelines to help you through the process? See our handbook for an in-depth look at Knowledge Summaries.

We can support you along every step of the way, but EBVM is a collective movement that needs grassroots action. If you want to contribute but don’t want to go it alone, you can join one of our Knowledge Groups. A Knowledge Group is a partnership between the Veterinary Evidence community members on a specific area of veterinary care. The primary aim of a Knowledge Group is to create Knowledge Summaries, and to prioritise and develop evidence-based resources and research projects within their chosen area. Click here to sign up (we have 46 groups to choose from!).

Need more EBVM resources to help you get started? See our compilation of veterinary and human medicine EBVM resources here; including organisations, guidelines, self learning materials, tutorials, clinical trials and more.

 

Made possible through a project grant from the RCVS Council.

RCVS