ERIC Number: ED363357
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Aug-3
Reference Count: N/A
End User Searching of Medline. Final Report.
Wildemuth, Barbara M.; Moore, Margaret E.
One hundred sixty-one MEDLINE searches conducted by third year medical students were analyzed and evaluated to determine which search behaviors were used, whether those individual moves are effective, and whether there is a relationship between specific search behaviors and the effectiveness of the search strategy as a whole. The typical search took 14 cycles, used 7 terms or concepts, and resulted in the display of 11 citations. The most common moves were selection of a database, entering single-word terms and free-text term phrases, and combining sets of terms. Syntactical errors were also common. Librarians judged the searches to be adequate, and students were quite satisfied with their own searches. Librarians identified many missed opportunities in the search strategies, including the underutilization of the controlled vocabulary, subheadings, and synonyms for search concepts. There were no strong relationships found between the librarians' and students' evaluations of the searches and the measures of searching behaviors. Implications of these findings for system design and user education are discussed. Eleven statistical tables presenting research results are included. The end user questionnaire, lists of categories for coding search strategy moves, a sample of coding of a search, and a search evaluation form are appended. (Contains 15 references.) (Author/KRN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Council on Library Resources, Inc., Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A