Information-Seeking Behaviors of First-Semester Veterinary Students: A Preliminary Report

Sharon A. Weiner, Gretchen Stephens, Abdelfattah Y.M. Nour
2011 Journal of Veterinary Medical Education  
Although there is an increasing emphasis in veterinary education on the ability to find, use, and communicate information there are few studies on the information behaviors of veterinary students or professionals. Improved knowledge in this area will provide valuable information for course and curriculum planning and the design of information resources. This paper describes a survey of the information-seeking behaviors of first-semester veterinary students at Purdue University. A survey was
more » ... nistered as the first phase of a progressive semester-long assignment for an introductory course in mammalian physiology. The survey probed for understanding of the scientific literature and its use for course assignments and continuing learning. The results of this survey showed that students beginning the program tended to use Google for coursework, although some also used the resources found through the Libraries' web site. On entering veterinary school, they became aware of specific information resources in veterinary medicine. They used a small number of accepted criteria to evaluate the quality of websites. This study confirms the findings of studies of information-seeking behaviors of undergraduate students. Further studies are needed to examine whether those behaviors change as students learn about specialized veterinary resources that are designed to address clinical needs as they progress through their training. The course professor sent an email with a link to the survey to all students enrolled in the Systemic Mammalian Physiology BMS 81100 course in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, in Fall 2009. He required the students to complete the survey and gave course credit to students for completing it. Students responded to the survey between September 28 and October 31, 2009. All seventy students in the course responded to the survey; 69 completed it for a response rate of 98.6%. The responses from the one survey that was begun, but not completed, were included in the results reported in this paper. RESULTS Demographics. The majority of the respondents (79%, n=55) were aged 22-26. Thirteen percent (n=9) of the respondents were under age 22 and 9% (n=6) were aged 26-35. None of the respondents were above 35 years of age. Eighty-one percent (n=57) of the respondents were female. The majority (94%, n=66) were born in the U.S. while the remaining 6% (n=4) were born in China, Japan, Poland, or South Korea. The college from which the largest number of respondents graduated most recently was Purdue University (31%, n=22). Sixty-nine percent (n=48) of the respondents graduated from other schools such as Ball
doi:10.3138/jvme.38.1.21 pmid:21805932 fatcat:cwcbqrny5raxrc6eatgqq6hlfi