Making evidence fun: it’s Evidently Advent!

We’re always looking to share evidence in ways that are quick and accessible, shareable and sometimes fun! Christmas is the season to be jolly and we take that to mean we can do something a bit daft, with the very serious aim of getting our evidence to lots of people, including some who have never heard of Cochrane or perhaps just haven’t engaged with us. We know that research can be boring, buried (it’s out there but where to look?) or just plain baffling, but it doesn’t have to be.

Two years ago, we did our first Advent calendar, daily posts linking Christmas pictures to related Cochrane reviews (who knew we had evidence about gold, myrrh and mistletoe?). Last year’s offering was more of a selection box, with items including a video of a pantomime cast sharing Cochrane evidence about the common cold and some Lego films made by Holly and her kid brother. We were encouraged by the positive comments and know we reached people who were new to us, so we thought we should do it again, and this time all in Lego films. So here is:

The Making of Evidently Advent 2015

Holly and Sarah with lego

Back in July, Holly stole all of her brother’s Lego (our need was greater) and brought it into the office. Very Important Meetings had to happen in smaller rooms while we took over the big room.

We decided to make a family and tell the story of their health, their decisions all helped by Cochrane evidence of course! Here are some of the family (some were in hospital, so unavailable…)

lego family

We had to have some PlayDoh too to make extra props, and some sticky tack to help position the figures (well it’s not Pixar…)

Grandma on playdoh

We chose reviews that were on common health problems and that we thought we could illustrate through Lego

good bad reviews

Knowing whether the evidence is reliable is really important, so we decided we would include Santa holding a traffic light indicator, showing that the evidence quality was high (green), moderate (yellow) or low (red).

Father Christmas

It wasn’t all plain sailing. It took way, WAY longer than we expected.

lego in the dark

After two days we’d made 12 films instead of the 24 we’d planned, and when we looked at the 12, we had to throw some out as they didn’t really work.

running away

Holly photographing Lego

Lego can help us explain the effectiveness of a screening test for dementia

But we hope you will enjoy our very short, very homespun but very heartfelt attempt to share evidence with you in a fun way in the 6 days of Christmas (it’s a new thing…), each weekday from 16th December. Look out for #EvidentlyAdvent.

We’d like to say a big thank you to Iain Chalmers, Martin Burton, Niamh and Leon Hobbs, Anne Eisinga and Lynda Ware for doing the voice-overs for our Lego films and to Stuart Hobbs for helping us make them.

Before that, we’ve got blogs on the next two Fridays, including one using Lego to help explain evidence on the accuracy of a questionnaire used to screen people for dementia. We think this is a brilliant way to show the results and our thanks go to one of the review authors, Dr Terry Quinn, for suggesting it and helping us do it!

Look out for our blogshots on Twitter announcing each day’s post @ukcochranecentr #EvidentlyAdvent
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Making evidence fun: it’s Evidently Advent! by Sarah Chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Sarah Chapman

About Sarah Chapman

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Sarah's work as a Knowledge Broker at Cochrane UK focuses on disseminating Cochrane evidence through social media, including Evidently Cochrane blogs, blogshots and the ‘Evidence for Everyday’ series for nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and patients. A former registered general nurse, Sarah has a particular interest making evidence accessible and useful to practitioners and to others making decisions about health. Before joining Cochrane, Sarah also worked on systematic reviews for the University of Oxford and the Royal College of Nursing Institute, and obtained degrees in History from the University of Oxford and in the history of women’s health and illness in early modern England (MPhil., University of Reading).

5 Comments on this post

  1. Avatar

    Thanks for this! Loved the thought of ‘important meetings’ making way for your creativity LOL!

    Mike / Reply
  2. […] be transformed into something easy-to-understand and engaging, without being patronising. From using Lego to illustrate their data to their nifty social media summaries, they really are doing all that they can to make their […]

  3. Avatar

    Hi all
    I cannot understand why no paper’s are going out on Sodium Valproate/pregnancy and the adverse reactions in pregnancy .
    As a lot of people would find these paper’s interesting .
    Research paper’s would be very interesting also. We are mother’s that are spreading awareness /advocating we are also a patient group .

    Best wishes
    Karen Keely
    OACS Ireland

    Karen Keely / Reply

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