Effectiveness and efficiency of a literature search strategy to answer questions on the etiology of occupational diseases: A controlled trial

Frederieke Schaafsma, Carel Hulshof, Angela Boer, Frank Dijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of a search strategy to find evidence-based answers to questions related to the possible occupational etiology of diseases. Methods: A controlled trialof 70 occupational health physicians and 55 insurance physicians who were asked to answer one out of four 'occupational disease case-vignettes' following the steps of evidence-based medicine (EBM). The intervention group were given the search strategy as a tool. Results: The intervention group scored significantly better than the control group in answering the main question of the case-vignette correctly (57% versus 37%) using more adequate search terms. The intervention group scored significantly better regarding satisfaction with the applied search strategy (28% very satisfied versus 8%). We found no differences in time spent in solving the case or in the intention of future practice of EBM. Conclusions: The introduction and application of specific search strategies can have a positive effect on the effectiveness of searching literature. Future initiatives for developing and testing specific search strategies in the field of occupational health should be encouraged. © Springer-Verlag 2006.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-247
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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