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J Med Libr Assoc. 2006 Oct;94(4):382-7.

Randomized trial for answers to clinical questions: evaluating a pre-appraised versus a MEDLINE search protocol.

Author information

1
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA. manesh.patel@duke.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The paper compares the speed, validity, and applicability of two different protocols for searching the primary medical literature.

DESIGN:

A randomized trial involving medicine residents was performed.

SETTING:

An inpatient general medicine rotation was used.

PARTICIPANTS:

Thirty-two internal medicine residents were block randomized into four groups of eight.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Success rate of each search protocol was measured by perceived search time, number of questions answered, and proportion of articles that were applicable and valid.

RESULTS:

Residents randomized to the MEDLINE-first (protocol A) group searched 120 questions, and residents randomized to the MEDLINE-last (protocol B) searched 133 questions. In protocol A, 104 answers (86.7%) and, in protocol B, 117 answers (88%) were found to clinical questions. In protocol A, residents reported that 26 (25.2%) of the answers were obtained quickly or rated as "fast" (<5 minutes) as opposed to 55 (51.9%) in protocol B, (P = 0.0004). A subset of questions and articles (n = 79) were reviewed by faculty who found that both protocols identified similar numbers of answer articles that addressed the questions and were felt to be valid using critical appraisal criteria.

CONCLUSION:

For resident-generated clinical questions, both protocols produced a similarly high percentage of applicable and valid articles. The MEDLINE-last search protocol was perceived to be faster. However, in the MEDLINE-last protocol, a significant portion of questions (23%) still required searching MEDLINE to find an answer.

PMID:
17082828
PMCID:
PMC1629432
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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