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Information skills training: a systematic review of the literature

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The objectives of this study were to undertake a systematic review to determine the effectiveness of information skills training, to identify effective methods of training and to determine whether information skills training affects patient care. A systematic review, using an iterative approach to searching, was employed. Studies selected for inclusion in the review were critically appraised using a tool used in previous reviews. A tabular approach was used to provide a summary of each paper allowing synthesis of results. One thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven potentially relevant papers were located. On the basis of titles and abstracts, 41 potentially relevant studies were identified for potential inclusion. Further reading and application of the inclusion criteria left 24 studies for critical appraisal and inclusion in the review. Study designs included randomised controlled trials, cohort designs and qualitative studies. The majority of studies took place in US medical schools. Wide variations were found in course content and training methods. Eight studies used objective methods to test skills, two compared training methods and two examined the effects on patient care. There was limited evidence to show that training improves skills, insufficient evidence to determine the most effective methods of training and limited evidence to show that training improves patient care. Further research is needed in a number of areas.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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