Foraging Theory Applied to Medical Information Searching

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Xlibris Corporation, Oct 1, 2012 - Business & Economics - 206 pages
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Workload and other constraints prevent General Practitioners from accessing medical evidence for clinical decisions. This problem was studied in New Zealand GPs using Optimal Foraging Theory developed in ecology. GPs' information search strategies were modelled as sequential steps associated with costs and benefits measured from logbooks of actual searches. By consulting the most profitable sources, switching sources when unsuccessful, and double checking, GPs seem close to an optimal trade-off between maximizing search success and information reliability, and minimizing searching time. Subsidised training in information searching and provision of a literature search service are two inferred avenues to access medical evidence.
 

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Contents

List of Tables
15
List of Figures
17
1 Delineation of the Problem
27
2 Significance Of Problem
38
3 Conceptual Frameworks Available for Studying the Problem
42
4 Research Design
65
5 Methods
68
6 Results
80
Table 18 Reasons for stopping a search of the needed information altogether
109
Figure 5 Time profile of a search sequence
112
Table 20 Time spent searching in an information source according to the order of access and type of the information source consulted
116
Table 21 Variation in searching time in the first source according to the type of information source consulted
117
Table 23 Crosstabulation of search success versus search time in the first information source
118
Table 25 Crosstabulation of search success by attendance of training courses
119
Table 26 Relationship between Search Level High Medium and Low and total search time to address an information need
120
Figure 6 Error bars of total search time by GPs search levels
121

Table 1 Age distribution among respondents
81
Year of graduation
82
Table 2 Distribution of weekly working hours among respondents N 114
83
Table 4 Ratings of the importance of information attributes sought for by the respondents
85
Table 6 Rating of the use of and awareness of electronic information sources among respondents
87
Table 7 Rating of perceived obstacles to informationsearching among Wellington GPs Sample size N refers to number of answers received
89
Table 8 Rating of options for informationsearch facilitation among Wellington GPs
91
Figure 4 Publication year and frequency of use of first choice books frequently used to support clinicaldecision making in the last 3 months
94
Table 9 Cross tabulation between Searcher levels and Methods that GPs thought should be used most commonly in General Practice to seek the best ...
97
Table 10 Frequencies of information sources used by electronic database and non electronic database searchers
99
Table 11 Urgency of finding the information needed N71
103
Table 12 Types and order of information sources consulted to address an information need
104
Table 13 Reasons stated for choosing information sources
105
Table 14 Browsing method used for selecting relevant items in published electronic information sources
106
Table 15 Criteria used to seek information items in publishedelectronic sources
107
Table 17 Criteria for stopping a search within an information source
108
Table 27 Significance and sign of relationship between background or search variables and the type of the first information source consulted non sig...
124
Table 28 Significance and sign of relationship between background or search variables and the type of the second information source consulted non ...
128
Table 29 Significance and sign of relationship between background or search variables and then type of the third information source consulted non s...
131
Table 30 Cross tabulation between the level of information searching frequency in routine practice High Searchers versus Low Searchers and the typ...
132
Table 31 Variation in total information searching time according to the complexity of the information need
133
Table 32 Cross tabulation between the complexity of an information need and the number of information sources consulted
134
Table 33 Crosstabulation between the complexity of the addressed information needs and information searching frequency in routine practice
135
7 Discussion
136
8 Conclusions
164
Table 34 Summary of GPs responses at different stages of an information foraging session to address an information need encountered in everyday p...
165
9 Appendices
169
Appendix 2
176
Appendix 3
188
Appendix 4
193
References
195
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