Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of procascamcLink to Publisher's site
Proc Annu Symp Comput Appl Med Care. 1993 : 678–682.
PMCID: PMC2850661

Database access and problem solving in the basic sciences.


This study examined the potential contribution that access to a database of biomedical information may offer in support of problem-solving exercises when personal knowledge is inadequate. Thirty-six medical students were assessed over four occasions and three domains in the basic sciences: bacteriology, pharmacology, and toxicology. Each assessment consisted of a two-pass protocol in which students were first assessed for their personal knowledge of a domain with a short-answer problem set. Then, for a sample of problems they had missed, they were asked to use a database, INQUIRER, to respond to questions which they had been unable to address with their personal knowledge. Results indicate that for a domain in which the database is well-integrated in course activities, useful retrieval of information which augmented personal knowledge increased over three assessment occasions, even continuing to increase several months after course exposure and experience with the database. For all domains, even at assessments prior to course exposure, students were able to moderately extend their ability to solve problems through access to the INQUIRER database.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (802K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Broering NC. The mini MEDLINE SYSTEM: a library-based end-user search system. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1985 Apr;73(2):138–145. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Walker CJ, Ryan N, Fitzgerald D, Ramsden MF. Online access to MEDLINE in clinical settings. A study of use and usefulness. Ann Intern Med. 1990 Jan 1;112(1):78–84. [PubMed]
  • McKibbon KA, Haynes RB, Dilks CJ, Ramsden MF, Ryan NC, Baker L, Flemming T, Fitzgerald D. How good are clinical MEDLINE searches? A comparative study of clinical end-user and librarian searches. Comput Biomed Res. 1990 Dec;23(6):583–593. [PubMed]
  • Friedman CP, de Bliek R, Gilmer JS, Twarog RG, File DD. Influence of a computer database and problem exercises on students' knowledge of bacteriology. Acad Med. 1992 May;67(5):332–338. [PubMed]
  • de Bliek R, Martz JM, Reich GM, Friedman CP, Wildemuth BM. Domain knowledge and information retrieval in bacteriology: an information science perspective. Acad Med. 1992 Oct;67(10 Suppl):S54–S56. [PubMed]
  • Barnett O. Information technology and undergraduate medical education. Acad Med. 1989 Apr;64(4):187–190. [PubMed]
  • Williamson JW, German PS, Weiss R, Skinner EA, Bowes F., 3rd Health science information management and continuing education of physicians. A survey of U.S. primary care practitioners and their opinion leaders. Ann Intern Med. 1989 Jan 15;110(2):151–160. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer Application in Medical Care are provided here courtesy of American Medical Informatics Association