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Effectiveness of bibliographic searches performed by paediatric residents and interns assisted by librarians. A randomised controlled trial

Gardois, Paolo, Calabrese, Roberto, Colombi, Nicoletta, Deplano, Annamaria, Lingua, Carla, Longo, Filomena, Villanacci, Maria Cristina, Miniero, Roberto and Piga, Antonio (2011) Effectiveness of bibliographic searches performed by paediatric residents and interns assisted by librarians. A randomised controlled trial. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 28 (4). pp. 273-284. ISSN 14711834


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Background:  Considerable barriers still prevent paediatricians from successfully using information retrieval technology.

Objectives:  To verify whether the assistance of biomedical librarians significantly improves the outcomes of searches performed by paediatricians in biomedical databases using real-life clinical scenarios.

Methods:  In a controlled trial at a paediatric teaching hospital, nine residents and interns were randomly allocated to an assisted search group and nine to a non-assisted (control) group. Each participant searched PubMed and other online sources, performing pre-determined tasks including the formulation of a clinical question, retrieval and selection of bibliographic records. In the assisted group, participants were supported by a librarian with ≥5 years of experience. The primary outcome was the success of search sessions, scored against a specific assessment tool.

Results:  The median score of the assisted group was 73.6 points interquartile range (IQR = 13.4) vs. 50.4 (IQR = 17.1) of the control group. The difference between median values in the results was 23.2 points (95% CI 4.8–33.2), in favour of the assisted group (P-value, Mann–Whitney U test: 0.013).

Conclusions:  The study has found quantitative evidence of a significant difference in search performance between paediatric residents or interns assisted by a librarian and those searching the literature alone.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: This is an author produced version of a paper accepted for publication in 'Health Information & Libraries Journal'. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The definitive version is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com
Keywords: decision support;evidence based library and information practice;evidence based practice;evidence-based medicine;health science;health services research;information seeking behaviour;librarians;library and information science;reflective practice
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Health and Related Research (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr. Paolo Gardois
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2011 17:45
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2014 09:45
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2011.00957.x
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2011.00957.x
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43297

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