University of Oulu

Nieminen, P.; Uma, E.; Pal, S.; Laitala, M.-L.; Lappalainen, O.-P.; Varghese, E. Information Retrieval and Awareness about Evidence-Based Dentistry among Dental Undergraduate Students—A Comparative Study between Students from Malaysia and Finland. Dent. J. 2020, 8, 103.

Information retrieval and awareness about evidence-based dentistry among dental undergraduate students : a comparative study between students from Malaysia and Finland

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Author: Nieminen, Pentti1; Uma, Eswara2; Pal, Sudipta2;
Organizations: 1Medical Informatics and Data Analysis Research Group, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Dentistry, Melaka Manipal Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), 75150 Melaka, Malaysia
3Research Unit of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-04


Background: A fundamental skill in education includes the ability to search for, evaluate, and synthesize information, and this cannot be underestimated in dental education. The aim of this study was to assess how dental students from Malaysia and Finland acquire scientific information and to compare their information retrieval skills.

Methods: Fourth and fifth-year dental students from Malaysia and Finland were invited to participate. A self-administered structured questionnaire including items about the use of information sources, subjective assessment of literature retrieval skills and knowledge was used.

Results: A total of 226 dental students participated in the survey: 131 from Malaysia and 95 from Finland. In both countries, the highest interest for data retrieval among students was found in the oral surgery specialty. The three most used sources of information among Malaysian students were personal lecture notes, dental textbooks, and colleagues; while Finnish students used colleagues, lecture notes, and current clinical guidelines. Students’ knowledge of evidence-based practice was inadequate in both student groups. Though the majority of participants reported that they had good or passable skills in literature retrieval, more students from Finland judged themselves to have at least good skills compared to those from Malaysia.

Conclusions: Dental education in both countries includes information retrieval studies and mandatory research projects. However, students did not often use those sources that are considered essential in evidence-based dentistry. Universities should further develop educational and training interventions that guide students to use knowledge resources more effectively for critically appraising scientific evidence.

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Series: Dentistry journal
ISSN: 2304-6767
ISSN-E: 2304-6767
ISSN-L: 2304-6767
Volume: 8
Issue: 3
Article number: 103
DOI: 10.3390/dj8030103
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 313 Dentistry
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (