BACKGROUND: Although decision-makers in health care settings need to read and understand the validity of quantitative reports, they do not always carefully read information on research methods. Presenting the methods in a more structured way could improve the time spent reading the methods and increase the perceived relevance of this important report section. OBJECTIVE: To test the effect of a structured summary of the methods used in a quantitative data report on reading behavior with eye-tracking and measure the effect on the perceived importance of this section. METHODS: A nonrandomized pilot trial was performed in a computer laboratory setting with advanced medical students. All participants were asked to read a quantitative data report; an intervention arm was also shown a textbox summarizing key features of the methods used in the report. Three data-collection methods were used to document reading behavior and the views of participants: eye-tracking (during reading), a written questionnaire, and a face-to-face interview. RESULTS: We included 35 participants, 22 in the control arm and 13 in the intervention arm. The overall time spent reading the methods did not differ between the 2 arms. The intervention arm considered the information in the methods section to be less helpful for decision-making than did the control arm (scores for perceived helpfulness were 4.1 and 2.9, respectively, range 1-10). Participants who read the box more intensively tended to spend more time on the methods as a whole (Pearson correlation 0.81, P=.001). CONCLUSIONS: Adding a structured summary of information on research methods attracted attention from most participants, but did not increase the time spent on reading the methods or lead to increased perceptions that the methods section was helpful for decision-making. Participants made use of the summary to quickly judge the methods, but this did not increase the perceived relevance of this section.
PubMed ID: 35412464
Projects: Scientific Databases and Visualisation
Publication type: Journal
Journal: JMIR Med Inform
Citation: JMIR Med Inform. 2022 Apr 12;10(4):e29813. doi: 10.2196/29813.
Date Published: 12th Apr 2022
Registered Mode: by PubMed ID
Created: 11th Jan 2023 at 13:59