Requirements, Grading, and Guidelines
Requirements and Grading
1. Completion of a comprehensive open book examination on the health resources and venues included under the first objective above (30% of course grade).
2. Completion of an individualized Health Reference Guide for future career use, including preparing for job interviews, finding information for health professionals or consumers. The Reference Guide should include the topics and sources of the kind mentioned in the fist objective above (30% of grade.)
3. Submission of the results of a comprehensive (extensive, intensive, long term) information search on an assigned, major category disease or disorder. The search should appropriately utilize the kinds of approaches, entities or resources mentioned in the first course objective above: relevant terminology; organizational resources; print, online and web resources; evidence-based, complementary and genetic sources; information retrieval aids; other bibliographic resources (30% grade).
4. Positive, constructive and proactive class participation and the sharing of insights and information with classmates (10% of grade).
Guidelines for Completion of Requirements
1. Open Book Exam : We will cover the various topics listed under the first objective in class and also in the required books and readings. The exam will test your familiarity with the services and resources of NLM and other key organizations; reference sources; the usefulness of various web sites; evidence-based approaches; genetic resources; search strategies; bibliographic databases; the potential use of electronic medical libraries; alternative/integrative medicine concepts; and general disease categories. The exam will consist of a several short-answer questions. Because the PubMed tutorial is not too clear, several dozen supplementary or alternative PubMed tutorials have been developed by libraries and individuals, and may be found by using search engines. Examples:
2. Health Reference Guide: A few medical reference operations develop their own customized guides to improve their searching capability, as do other groups or individual health information professionals. The Guide that you prepare should demonstrate broad coverage of health information resources and demonstrate a good start in organizing information resources for joint professional use and rapid searching throughout your career. The Guide may be prepared in electronic format or in a binder that accommodates standard 8 ½ x 11 inch photocopied papers and carefully screened, downloaded print outs. You should state the specific objectives of your Guide and include a table of contents. The organization of the Guide should sub-serve the Guide’s objectives.
Guides should be organized primarily on the basis of major disease or disorder categories, since most health professionals and consumers will present health and disease problems to you as information queries. It is recommended that you base your Guide primarily on the MedlinePlus broad groups of “Disorders and Conditions-Body Location/Systems,” etc. found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthtopics.html. Such broad groups are compatible with MESH categories and Medline searching, and can be updated in parallel with ongoing NLM revisions. You might well annotate a minimum of 20 of the broad groupings to provide a good start for your Guide. NLM has already annotated each group (overview, anatomy/physiology, diagnosis, treatment, etc.) and you may briefly summarize such annotations.
Some of you might wish to experiment by instead using the Section/Chapter format of The Merck Manual of Diagnosis & Therapy as a primary basis for organizing your Guide. But the Merck categories might be less directly compatible with Medline search subject headings than the MedlinePlus group headings. Nevertheless, most physicians and many other health professionals rely on Merck manuals as basic references. In any case, alternative disease categorizations can be different from those of Western biomedicine. Oriental medicine, for example, deploys drastically different disease paradigms and different sets of diagnostic and treatment concepts based on broad sets of holistic relationships between organ systems, energy/moisture flows and environmental relationships. We will address some of these differences.
Secondary bases for organizing your Guides might be by form of literature (as used in the Boorkman textbook); web category; evidence-based rating; integrative/alternative headings; and by other topical concerns listed below the first course objective above. However, when addressing a given major disease category (e.g. cancer or cardiovascular disease), it is often useful to aggregate relevant conventional, alternative, genetic, web, online, print, and search strategy information under that disease category. Other ways to organize the guides might be useful. Organization is largely a creative as well as an analytical process, and we are somewhat free to experiment with innovative approaches to organization. A health reference guide formatting example will be distributed. In any case, you should try to develop a reference guide that will help you provide answers to any query within five minutes.
Submitted Guides will be graded on the basis of (a) your statement of each objective and the extent to which your Guide serves stated objectives, (b) coverage of the breadth of relevant sources, (c) the extent of which the Guide treats the various categories of reference resources listed under the first course objective, (d) the Guide’s apparent adequacy as a platform for expanding, adapting and revising it in the future, and (e) the Guide’s apparent helpfulness in answering queries accurately within five minutes.
3. Comprehensive Information Search : A general health problem (e.g., an idiopathic disease) will be assigned/selected in class. Your job is to become the “class expert” on this disease or disorder and share with us the results of your in-depth search on the topic. This is a specialized, in depth exercise, rather than one of breadth (the Health Reference Guide project above is one of breadth). You should consider various approaches for dealing with the problem: Western biomedicine; Oriental, and other integrative/complementary approaches; literature, database and web resources; genetic approaches, prevention, evidence-based findings; etc. You should aim to support both consumers and professionals in their quest for information about the disease or problem. Searchers will be graded according to coverage of major relevant sources for a reasonably extended time period, consideration of conventional, complementary and genetic approaches, evidence-based assessments, and apparent usefulness to health professionals and to consumers. Please be prepared to share your findings and insights with the class as we progress through the semester.
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Content last updated 2006 January 18 by Don Drumtra