Case Study – Developing a New Approach to Presenting Your Literature Search Results by Sue Jennings

Situation: When I started at WHH as the new clinical librarian I had little experience of working in the acute sector. I was keen to learn a new subject area and thought it would be an ideal opportunity to analyse more deeply the way I presented my search results to the requestor. I had learnt from my time at LCFT that clinicians looked to the librarian to answer a question. Listening and asking clinicians what they would ideally like to receive sparked a renewed interest in presentation of results. I had piloted small ideas which involved a detailed email ‘signposting’ them to paragraphs in the text, attaching the results in order of importance, but I knew I could go a lot further with this approach.

After talking to other colleagues in the North West and attending HLG Glasgow I decided to pilot the idea of producing a report which synthesised the literature.

Task: My objectives were:

  • To understand and find out what other librarians were doing in the UK.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the new approach.
  • Develop the new approach as a team, so we would all be doing the same standard of work.
  • Develop a template to ensure consistency.
  • Pilot the idea and ask for feedback.
  • Attend HLG Glasgow to hear first-hand experiences.
  • Evaluate the new initiative.

Qualities Used:                               

  • Problem solving
  • Developing a new service.
  • Leadership skills, involving the whole team in the development.
  • Advanced literature search skills
  • Increased ability to be analytical.
  • Critical appraisal skills
  • Innovative skills
  • Recognising an area for improvement.


  • Improved literatures search service
  • Increased confidence in developing a new service
  • Greater understanding of clinical queries
  • Greater satisfaction in producing literature search results.
  • Increased awareness of the KES within the organisation.
  • Producing reports which puts knowledge into action.
  • Higher level of decision making.
  • Marketing the concept of evidence-based practice.
  • Helping to aid evidence-based decision making.

What I have Learnt:       

  • That it is important to question the services you are delivering, are there better ways to do what you are currently doing.
  • Keep striving to improve the quality of what you do.
  • Talk to your users and find out what would be the ideal service for them.
  • Look at what other services are doing.
  • Use your initiative.
  • Work together as a team when piloting out a new idea, build confidence from within.
  • Start small, always pilot an idea.
  • Keep up-to-date with what is going on, attend conferences and read blogs and journals.
  • Use the new approach to market your service.

Example of a Synthesised Literature Search

Sue Jennings
Clinical Evidence Specialist
Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Knowledge and Library Service, Lovely Lane
Warrington, WA5 1QG
Tel: 01925 662916
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