Interaction with users: Recommendations
Our survey showed that one of the biggest challenges for a CF is the optimal cooperation/communication with its users. CF often complained that the users do not cooperate in an optimal way. The problems are varied: the users may not read their messages, not use the advice/protocols provided, not follow the CF rules/procedures…
Quotes from our survey highlighting the problems:
- “I advise but know that many people ignore this advice.”
- “The core facility tried to implement a data management plan, but this was not accepted by the user.”
- “If I produce a plan, it will just be another formal document that will be ignored...”
- “It is sometimes difficult - usually more because of group leaders than because of students - to get people to accept new or improved ways of doing certain types of experiments.”
- “One of the problems that we have had is scientists thinking they know how to do analysis and using the incorrect statistical test or website because it gives them the answer they were after rather than the correct answer.”
How do you encourage the users to follow your advice?
Here are ideas and quotes from the survey:
- Provide written information
- Don’t charge for advising time
- Provide examples
- “Verbal, written, previous examples of what failure looks like and leading by example by doing the experiment properly and showing them the difference in outcome”.
- “Describing the influence of acquired data on the overall quality of the data.”
- “Tell/show them how it will benefit them directly”.
- “Show case during workshop and seminars”.
- Experiments are expensive
- “explain how expensive is to redo a study”.
- “Breaking the lab use rules is punishable. Faking or fudging data would result in severe disciplinary procedure. I also explain that conducting scientific research is very expensive and that our funding comes mostly from charities, so it would really suck to spend hundreds of thousands to get crap data, because they are not using proper sample prep protocols, appropriate controls, or do not know how to analyse and present the data.”
- Go to the user
- “Talk with them - regularly. Join their lab meetings.”
- “Talk to them, offer help and support in discussing their findings, try to get involved and show interest such as attending their seminars and listening about their applications/samples when teaching them, make suggestions for improvements on experimental design”.
- Active support
- “We are involved in all steps of the sample processing, experimental design and data analysis. Therefore, we have enough time to build trust between CF and user.”
- “We emphasise the importance of good science and correct reporting. we also provide active support in writing”.
- Clear, relevant and accessible information
- “We provide relevant and detailed information”.
- “We make the information as easily accessible as we reasonably can.”
- “By being polite, not too critical, and providing a clear explanation of what we are suggesting.”
- “I train the users until proficiency, so I know they will follow my instructions.”
- “Give them a written exam after training”.
- “We have a signed user-form where we request to be involved in interpretation and publication of the data ....”