Limits...
Analysis of queries sent to PubMed at the point of care: observation of search behaviour in a medical teaching hospital.

Hoogendam A, Stalenhoef AF, Robbé PF, Overbeke AJ - BMC Med Inform Decis Mak (2008)

Bottom Line: PubMed was used to solve 1121 patient-related problems, resulting in 3205 distinct queries.Queries using four to five terms, retrieving less than 161 article titles, are most likely to result in abstract viewing.PubMed search tools are used infrequently by our population and are less effective than the use of four or five terms.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. a.hoogendam@AIG.umcn.nl

ABSTRACT

Background: The use of PubMed to answer daily medical care questions is limited because it is challenging to retrieve a small set of relevant articles and time is restricted. Knowing what aspects of queries are likely to retrieve relevant articles can increase the effectiveness of PubMed searches. The objectives of our study were to identify queries that are likely to retrieve relevant articles by relating PubMed search techniques and tools to the number of articles retrieved and the selection of articles for further reading.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study of queries regarding patient-related problems sent to PubMed by residents and internists in internal medicine working in an Academic Medical Centre. We analyzed queries, search results, query tools (Mesh, Limits, wildcards, operators), selection of abstract and full-text for further reading, using a portal that mimics PubMed.

Results: PubMed was used to solve 1121 patient-related problems, resulting in 3205 distinct queries. Abstracts were viewed in 999 (31%) of these queries, and in 126 (39%) of 321 queries using query tools. The average term count per query was 2.5. Abstracts were selected in more than 40% of queries using four or five terms, increasing to 63% if the use of four or five terms yielded 2-161 articles.

Conclusion: Queries sent to PubMed by physicians at our hospital during daily medical care contain fewer than three terms. Queries using four to five terms, retrieving less than 161 article titles, are most likely to result in abstract viewing. PubMed search tools are used infrequently by our population and are less effective than the use of four or five terms. Methods to facilitate the formulation of precise queries, using more relevant terms, should be the focus of education and research.

Show MeSH
Percentage of queries leading to abstract or full-text reading in relation the number of articles retrieved by a query. Selection of 2521 queries that yielded one or more articles.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2567311&req=5

Figure 3: Percentage of queries leading to abstract or full-text reading in relation the number of articles retrieved by a query. Selection of 2521 queries that yielded one or more articles.

Mentions: The percentage of queries resulting in abstract or full-text viewing as a function of the number of articles retrieved by a query is shown for 2521 queries that yielded one or more articles. The percentage of queries that led to abstract selection remains above 49% when 2–161 articles are retrieved (Figure 3) and rapidly declines thereafter. The relationship between term count and abstract selection could be entirely attributable to the number of articles retrieved by a query. To determine the magnitude and dependence of each of these two parameters we looked at abstract selection in optimal queries for term count and/or number of retrieved articles (table 4). These results show that retrieving 2–161 articles is a better predictor of abstract-viewing than using four to five terms in a query, but the two factors have independent effects as most queries lead to abstract selection if both conditions are met.


Analysis of queries sent to PubMed at the point of care: observation of search behaviour in a medical teaching hospital.

Hoogendam A, Stalenhoef AF, Robbé PF, Overbeke AJ - BMC Med Inform Decis Mak (2008)

Percentage of queries leading to abstract or full-text reading in relation the number of articles retrieved by a query. Selection of 2521 queries that yielded one or more articles.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2567311&req=5

Figure 3: Percentage of queries leading to abstract or full-text reading in relation the number of articles retrieved by a query. Selection of 2521 queries that yielded one or more articles.
Mentions: The percentage of queries resulting in abstract or full-text viewing as a function of the number of articles retrieved by a query is shown for 2521 queries that yielded one or more articles. The percentage of queries that led to abstract selection remains above 49% when 2–161 articles are retrieved (Figure 3) and rapidly declines thereafter. The relationship between term count and abstract selection could be entirely attributable to the number of articles retrieved by a query. To determine the magnitude and dependence of each of these two parameters we looked at abstract selection in optimal queries for term count and/or number of retrieved articles (table 4). These results show that retrieving 2–161 articles is a better predictor of abstract-viewing than using four to five terms in a query, but the two factors have independent effects as most queries lead to abstract selection if both conditions are met.

Bottom Line: PubMed was used to solve 1121 patient-related problems, resulting in 3205 distinct queries.Queries using four to five terms, retrieving less than 161 article titles, are most likely to result in abstract viewing.PubMed search tools are used infrequently by our population and are less effective than the use of four or five terms.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. a.hoogendam@AIG.umcn.nl

ABSTRACT

Background: The use of PubMed to answer daily medical care questions is limited because it is challenging to retrieve a small set of relevant articles and time is restricted. Knowing what aspects of queries are likely to retrieve relevant articles can increase the effectiveness of PubMed searches. The objectives of our study were to identify queries that are likely to retrieve relevant articles by relating PubMed search techniques and tools to the number of articles retrieved and the selection of articles for further reading.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study of queries regarding patient-related problems sent to PubMed by residents and internists in internal medicine working in an Academic Medical Centre. We analyzed queries, search results, query tools (Mesh, Limits, wildcards, operators), selection of abstract and full-text for further reading, using a portal that mimics PubMed.

Results: PubMed was used to solve 1121 patient-related problems, resulting in 3205 distinct queries. Abstracts were viewed in 999 (31%) of these queries, and in 126 (39%) of 321 queries using query tools. The average term count per query was 2.5. Abstracts were selected in more than 40% of queries using four or five terms, increasing to 63% if the use of four or five terms yielded 2-161 articles.

Conclusion: Queries sent to PubMed by physicians at our hospital during daily medical care contain fewer than three terms. Queries using four to five terms, retrieving less than 161 article titles, are most likely to result in abstract viewing. PubMed search tools are used infrequently by our population and are less effective than the use of four or five terms. Methods to facilitate the formulation of precise queries, using more relevant terms, should be the focus of education and research.

Show MeSH