START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012 

Information Search Characteristics of First-Year Medical Students
Dinara Saparova

Monday, 6:30pm


This study aimed to investigate the relationships between information needs of first-year medical students and search strategies they used to address those needs during online information searching. Students' information needs focused around two categories of questions - general medical and diagnostic - and were pursued through a variety of online searches. Searches for general medical knowledge aimed to find information that was known to exist and resulted in the known-item search tasks. Searches for diagnostic knowledge required finding several pieces of information that needed to be put together to answer a question and resulted in subject search tasks. Remote observations demonstrated that students' searches for general medical information were short, quick, and did not require investment of a significant time or cognitive effort. Diagnostic searches, in contrast, consisted of multiple search moves, were time-consuming, and required a lot more thinking. Students per-formed both types of searches in indexed medical databases and Google but used them differently. Students' search pat-terns were visualized. Such way of presenting the findings allowed for a quick overview.