Background: To determine the behavior of physicians regarding medical literature reading and participation in research activities at one of the largest teaching hospitals in Pakistan.
Method: This descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted by interviewing the house officers, residents and fellows of six major specialties (Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychology, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Anesthesia) in Civil Hospital, Karachi between August and December, 2011. The questionnaire elicited responses regarding the reading habits of physicians, preferred sources of information, their participation in research activities (publication & supervision) and views regarding journal club. SPSS 17.0 was used for data entry and analysis.
Result: A total of 259 completely filled questionnaires were returned with a response rate of 85.19%. Mean age of the participants was 29.67 ± 7.65 years. Books were selected by 71.4% doctors as their preferred source of information, regardless of their clinical specialties. (p < 0.05). E-journals were preferred by 75.7% of the doctors over printed journals. This holds true for doctors from all specialties (p < 0.05). The ease of searching for relevant articles was the major contributor (50.5%) in preference of e-journals. 137 (52.9%) doctors read 5 or less articles per week. 30 (11.6%) doctors have subscription of journals (printed or electronic). At least one research paper has been published by 151 (58.3%) of the physicians interviewed. Most common reason for not participating in research activities was busy schedule (56.4%). Almost half (49.4%) doctors reported lack of journal club in their units. Of these, majority (88.35%) wanted a journal club in their respective units.
Conclusion: Urgent intervention is required to promote healthcare literature reading and writing practice in our physicians. Easy access to workplace computers with internet and subscription of paid journals will facilitate physicians. Lack of supervisors and busy schedule were reported to be important contributors for not participating in research. Addressing these issues will encourage doctors to participate more in research activities.