The current study examines the effects of database assistance on clinical problem solving across three cohorts of students and two database interfaces. Medical students attempted to solve problems presented as clinical scenarios, first from their personal knowledge and then, on a second pass, assisted by one of two versions of a bacteriology database. One version had a form-filling interface in which each term was typed into the form; the other had a direct manipulation interface that allowed students to select terms with a mouse. Data were collected on three assessment occasions: just before the bacteriology course, just after the course, and six months after the course. Personal Knowledge Scores varied by occasion, being highest just after and lowest just before the course. The Database-Assisted Scores were similar just before and after the course, but were higher six months after the course. The differences between the interfaces did not have any statistically significant effect on database-assisted performance. There was a marginally significant interaction between interface style and assessment occasion, suggesting that performance with the direct manipulation interface was less affected by variation in the students' personal knowledge than performance with the form-filling interface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Information Systems
- Media Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Library and Information Sciences