MANUSCRIPT: Management of bibliographic information by Dutch researchers in general practice.
As a result of changes in information technology and the rapid growth of publications methods of searching the literature have changed. Systematic searching of the growing literature has become very important. It is not known whether researchers in general practice search systematically, and whether they have incorporated computerized sources in their research practice.
OBJECTIVES AND METHODS:
We aimed to assess the methods of literature research used by GPs. We interviewed eight GP researchers, two information specialists and a psychologist working in primary health care organizations.
The GP researchers began their search in their private book collections, or asked colleagues for information. Later in the search process, they used computerized information sources. Medline on CD-ROM and the computer-based indexes of two Dutch journals were most widely used. The GPs found it difficult to locate the appropriate terms to describe their research questions. Knowledge of the methodology of literature research, and skills required to use the information sources efficiently were lacking. There was a need for instruction and training in the use of information sources. GPs need a telephone help desk where their questions can be answered adequately.
GP researchers search the literature unsystematically. Although computerized databases were being used, knowledge and skills related to the use of these information sources must be improved.