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J Dent Hyg. 2002 Spring;76(2):116-24.

Information-seeking behaviors of U.S. practicing dental hygienists and full-time dental hygiene educators.

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University Missouri-Kansas City, School of Dentistry, USA.



This study compared the frequency and variety of information-seeking behaviors used by dental hygiene practitioners and dental hygiene educators to answer practice-related questions. Personal demographic characteristics also were compared between the two groups to determine the characteristics of those with a high level of computer-based information-seeking behaviors.


A self-administered questionnaire was sent to a national computer generated random sample of 300 practicing dental hygienists and 300 dental hygiene educators. Responses were received from 63% of the practicing dental hygienists and 78% of the educators.


Dental hygiene practitioners and dental hygiene educators both used traditional methods of seeking information. However, dental hygiene educators used a higher frequency and wider variety of sources than dental hygiene practitioners, including innovative sources such as the Internet, computer databases and online discussion groups. Dental hygiene educators almost universally reported some use of the Internet and computer databases--97% and 91%, respectively. Meanwhile, 50% of dental hygiene practitioners used the Internet and 25% used computer databases at least once for practice information. Online discussion groups were used by 50% of dental hygiene educators but by only 13% of dental hygiene practitioners. Level of education was the demographic characteristic that was most associated with use of computers to answer practice-related questions.


Since use of computer sources for information were defined as innovative, more dental hygiene educators were classified in early adopter categories, while greater numbers of dental hygiene practitioners were classified in later adopter categories. Group demographics were examined to determine variables that predicted adoption. Level of education predicted the majority of variation and as a whole, showed the strongest statistical differentiation between adopter categories.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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