This study explored which of two modes of access to a biomedical database better supported problem solving in bacteriology. Boolean access, which allowed subjects to frame their queries as combinations of keywords, was compared to hypertext access, which allowed subjects to navigate from one database node to another. The accessible biomedical data were identical across systems. Data were collected from 42 first year medical students, each randomized to the Boolean or hypertext system, before and after their bacteriology course. Subjects worked eight clinical case problems, first using only their personal knowledge and, subsequently, with aid from the database. Database retrievals enabled students to answer questions they could not answer based on personal knowledge only. This effect was greater when personal knowledge of bacteriology was lower. The results also suggest that hypertext was superior to Boolean access in helping subjects identify possible infectious agents in these clinical case problems.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings : a conference of the American Medical Informatics Association / ... AMIA Annual Fall Symposium. AMIA Fall Symposium|
|State||Published - 1996|
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