How Does Pretesting for PubMed Knowledge Spark Student Learning?

Med Ref Serv Q. 2018 Oct-Dec;37(4):357-366. doi: 10.1080/02763869.2018.1514900.


Predoctoral students enter dental school with varying skill levels for searching biomedical databases and a tendency to overestimate their abilities. Accordingly, PubMed instruction is embedded within a required dental course and includes a graded component. This article describes a pretest/intervention/posttest developed for the PubMed session. The expectation for this new assessment was that motivation to learn PubMed would increase during the intervention if pretesting objectively showed students the difference between their self-perceived versus actual PubMed abilities. The goals were to help students better self-assess their genuine searching abilities, spark learning during the instruction session, and elicit measurable improvement in skills.

Keywords: Dental education; PubMed; dental students; liaison librarians; library instruction; posttesting; pretesting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Dental / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Pennsylvania
  • PubMed / organization & administration*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult