Accessing research literature: A mixed-method study of academics in Higher Education Institutions in Nepal
Research in Higher Education (HE), particularly in health and medical sciences plays a crucial role, not only in enhancing knowledge and skills of students and academics, but also in helping to develop managers and policy makers who rely on evidence-based planning and programming. This paper reports university teacher’s knowledge and practices in accessing to electronic research-based evidences in health and medical sciences in Nepal.
Material and Methods:
This was mixed-methods study comprising a self-administered questionnaire completed by HE teachers and informant key interviews with authorities of HE institutions. A total of 15 out of the total 40 institutions offering HE above Bachelors level on health-related subjects were included for the study.
The response rate was 68%; 244 out of 360 HE teachers completed self-administered questionnaire. The respondents comprised nurses (36%), followed by doctors (23%), public health practitioners (18%), dentists (17%) and pharmacists (12%). Most of the HE teachers reported that they have computer skills and possess their own computer. Two-thirds (66%) of the HE teachers had work email and almost all (93%) have a personal email ID. All institutions had a computer lab and/or library. Almost all teachers had internet access at work but the internet was reportedly slow. Each institution had a librarian to support to the students and staff but only a third of teachers sought their help. Many do not know what kind of support librarians can provide. Less than half of the staff had accessed electronic research materials. This proportion varied between HE institutions ranging from 13 to 83%. HINARI and PubMed were the mostly used research databases. Less than half of respondents (48%) had published research papers in peer-reviewed journals, and only 19% published a paper based on a systematic review. Female HE teachers were less likely to publish (32%) than males (68%). More readers and professors had published (75%) than instructors/assistant lecturers (30%) and lecturers (45%).
Accessing electronic research literature provides an opportunity to gathering up-to-date research-based information that should be core to all health curricula. We call upon curriculum developers and university authorities in Nepal to revise health curricula and help build electronic searching skills among staff and students.
Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 2014; 4(4):405-14
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