A user study on the information search behaviour of medical students

Anushia Inthiran, Saadat Mehmood Alhashmi, Pervaiz K Ahmed

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    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study assesses the information search behaviour of medical students when searching for a medical type task. Previous research provide information on the general search traits of medical students. This study shows how medical students search for medical information online for specific medical tasks. It examines the demographic variables that influence medical students search behaviour when searching across varying levels of task difficulty. Detailed aspects of a search session are analysed to examine this effect. Search sessions are broadly classified into: (a) querying details, (b) search results interaction details and (c) querying versus clicking behaviour and task completion time. An interactive information retrieval experiment type methodology (IIR) is used to study the interactive searching behaviour. A total of sixty (60) medical students participated in this study. Personal task and simulated situations were used to invoke the information search process. Results indicate that medical students issued long queries, were active in locating results and were slow and unproductive when searching on a difficult task. Demographic variables did not influence the search behaviour of medical students when searching across varying levels of task difficulty. Results of this study provide an understanding of the information search behaviour of medical students when searching for medical information online across varying levels of task difficulty. It also shows that demographic variables did not influence search behaviour when searching across varying level of task difficulty.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61 - 77
    Number of pages17
    JournalMalaysian Journal of Library and Information Science
    Volume20
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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