Information needs and information seeking behaviour of Libyan doctors working in Libyan hospitals
2011-09-09T11:53:00Z (GMT) by
Objective: The aims of this study were to examine urban and rural doctors’ information needs and information seeking behaviours; review their use of information channels; sources; information and communication technologies and to assess their information literacy. It was expected that this would inform future efforts that support doctors in their daily care of patients. Methodology: A multi-method approach was used in this study. The main reason for that was to increase understanding gained from the quantitative data by obtaining more in-depth information from qualitative data and to integrate the advantages of both methods. Concurrent triangulation strategy was chosen to conduct the quantitative and qualitative study. An exploratory survey was the research method, and a paper based questionnaire and face to face interviews (along with critical incident techniques embedded in the interview) were the research techniques used to gather data. Results: out of 1029 questionnaires that were distributed 334 (32.46%) were returned. The valid responses were 256 (24.88%). Patient data, disease information, drug information, medical images & lab results, medical complications and guidelines were the main types of doctors’ information needs. Education and clinical practice were the main contexts that give rise to doctors’ information needs. Ambiguity, uncertainty, rare diseases and the multiplicity of options were the motivations for information needs. Updating, answering colleagues/patient questions and writing research papers were the purposes for which information was used. Personal library and human sources were the heavily used channels to access information. Books rather than journals was indicated the top information source. In addition, more than a quarter of urban doctors and 41.5% of rural doctors ranked online databases as the last source to be consulted. The majority of doctors indicated a difficulty in obtaining electronic information particularly from online databases; moreover the majority reported that sometimes they would like to have the search performed by a mediator. The majority demonstrated that they use field search and more than one term, but there was less use of Boolean parameters or truncation in the search strategies. Availability, ease of access and v use, integration in the work environment and information skills were the main types of barrier to using information sources, particularly electronic sources. Summary, the study identified that context, such as clinical work, where a particular task e.g. decision making leads to information needs. These may lead to information seeking behaviour to fulfil the need. However, doctors’ information seeking encountered barriers that hampered the fulfilment of information needs.