A model for the evaluation of search queries in medical bibliographic sources
Health Libraries Review
The aim of this study was to develop a model to evaluate the retrieval quality of search queries performed by Dutch general practitioners using the printed Index Medicus, MEDLINE on CD-ROM, and MEDLINE through GRATEFUL MED. Four search queries related to general practice were formulated for a continuing medical education course in literature searching. The selected potential relevant citations from the course instructor and the 103 course participants together served as the basic set for the
... ee judges to evaluate for (a) relevance and (b) quality, with the latter based on journal ranking, research design and publication type. Relevant individual citations received a citation quality score from 1 (low) to 4 (high). The overall search quality was expressed in a formula, which included the individual citation quality score of the selected and missed relevant citations, and the number of selected non-relevant citations. The outcome measures were the number and quality of relevant citations and agreement between the judges. Out of 864 citations, 139 were assessed as relevant, of which 44 citations received an individual citation quality score of 1, 76 of 2, 19 of 3 and none of 4. The level of agreement between the judges was 68% for the relevant citations, and 88% for the non-relevant citations. We describe a model for the evaluation of search queries based not only on the relevance, but also on the quality of the citations retrieved. With adaptation, this model could be generalized to other professional users, and to other bibliographic sources.