The aim of this study was to determine the information-seeking behaviour, needs and
preferences of doctors, specifically with reference to Evidence Based Medicine
(EBM) in the UK. This is particularly relevant during the current IT and resource
development currently being undertaken in the NHS. Mixed methods research techniques were utilised to gather and analyse the data
collected to meet the aims and objectives of this study. Three data collection methods
have been utilised. The first utilised Clinical Librarians to count the information
needs (questions) of doctors (Clinical Librarians Logs). The second data collection
method gathered clinical questions from clinical librarians (specialists), medical
librarians (generalists) and from websites hosting clinical questions (such as http://www.attract.wales.nhs.uk). These were analysed using the taxonomy developed by Ely et al. 2000. Finally an online questionnaire was used to gather data on doctors' awareness and use of electronic EBM resources. The major finding is that research undertaken on the information needs in the healthcare sector in the USA cannot be readily utilised in the NHS. This research utilised a unique data collection technique, the Clinical Librarian as a
data collector. This enabled the quantification of doctors unperceived information needs. This research identified that doctors in the UK asked roughly one question for every four patients seen. Despite the advances and ease of use of electronic resources, the preferred information source was colleagues. Time continues to be the major barrier
for accessinge lectronici nformation to aid clinical decision making.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.