Background: one of the key objectives of Cochrane is to promote unbiased information about the effects of healthcare interventions. The results of systematic reviews (SR) are supposed to inform not only the professional discourse, but also to help lay people in making their health choices.
Objectives: the aim of this research was to gain an understanding of recipients' perception of the available formats of presenting the findings of systematic reviews.
Methods: in this study we used qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. We conducted a pilot focus group interview (FGI) on a convenient sample of six university administrative officers and technical co-workers. We presented nine information formats to the study participants: Plain language summary (PLS), audio-recorded PLS, 'Summary of findings' table (SoF), vlogshot, blogshot, infographics, press-release (PR), comic drawing, and abstract. Using a technique of semantic differential the study participants evaluated the level of informativeness of the presented materials and shared their individual opinions about perceived usefulness during a moderated discussion.
Results: the conclusions of the pilot study will be presented together with the results of the following FGIs to be conducted on the groups of medical professionals scheduled for the first half of 2019. The findings thus far provide an insight into people’s preferences for strategies of information dissemination. Positive comments on the presented formats have concerned the structure, perspicuity and graphical representation of the information. Negative comments related to the incomprehensibility of the applied terminology on one hand, and the low precision or lack of intervention effect on the other.
Conclusions: the data gathered may suggest that each format should be carefully revised and accompanied with clear guidelines. Our findings also suggest several aspects of popularization of Cochrane SR conclusions that require adjustment, for example, applied language. Tailoring the presentation of SR findings to the needs of the various categories of targeted recipients may result in greater efficiency of the efforts to disseminate them.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: our research efforts aim at understanding the needs of various categories of recipients of Cochrane SR summaries, including the lay audience, patients and their families. We hope that our findings will facilitate the process of enhancing the quality of Cochrane SR summaries, increase their popularity among non-professionals and, therefore, inform the health choices of an even greater number of lay people.