De Groote, Sandra L., Mary Shultz, and Deborah D. Blecic. “Information-seeking behavior and the use of online resources: a snapshot of current health sciences faculty.” Journal of the Medical Library Association, 102.3 (2014): 169-176.
The article begins with a review of the literature, which overall has found that an increasing number of scholars prefer to look at journal content online. Intrigued, the authors decided to perform a study “to examine health sciences faculty use of online databases and journals, the obstacles they report in their pursuit of information, and their use of new technological tools for organizing and obtaining information” (170). When the study was performed at UIC’s library, it had 5,432 health sciences electronic journals available, 100 current print ones, and the usual complement of health science databases. The authors used an online survey with a variety of questions, including: how users access e-resources, whether different user groups used different sources, what sources they were aware of, whether those surveyed used social media, and how/if researchers used the online world to collaborate. Efforts reaped 198 responses (26% of those emailed the survey) from faculty members in different medical fields. Results showed that about half used Google for research daily, more than used MEDLINE. However, most began their searches with MEDLINE (through its various interfaces), only going to Google later. The point of care tools offered by UIC were for the most part used very infrequently. Those surveyed generally chose articles based on relevance (which they often decided from the abstract) and whether or not they were available online. Many were unlikely to go to the library for the print version of an article if the online version was not available, and the most often mentioned research problem was not having access to electronic journals. The researchers also noted that the fact that many faculty are not accessing resources through the library’s website means that they remain ignorant of other valuable resources, and often aren’t able to get to the full text of others. This may be partly why many of the resources which the library offers aren’t being adopted as quickly as expected.