Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Search Continues

I recently encountered one of the toughest questions to date. This one nearly blew my mind out when I first skimmed it over. Where to start? How to start? What is it? (And, what have I gotten myself into?)

We are attempting to build a scale out of our
Attitudes and Expectancy data. A starting reference point is Brown, Christiansen and Goldman 1987 – Journal of Studies on Alcohol Sept. 48(5), 483-491.

If these references fully explain the methodology for the development of the Alcohol Expectancy questionnaire, you can move on to…

Other attempts at building an expectancy profile exist around the Iceberg Profile – from the Profile of Mood States questionnaire.

You can also look at scale development in Item Response Theory information…

We are looking for scales that have been developed in the exact same way as we hope to, and/or the Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire was developed.

After a few gin & tonics, and some LIS training and search experience under my belt, I thought it would be interesting to take this on as an information professional at the ref desk. Here is what I did: (1) Find the article. Read it. Analyze it. I used PubMed, which has a "single citation match" feature which allows us to enter a the author's name, volume, issue, and page number to find the article, if a title is not provided. And wouldn't you know it, PubMed indeed came up with the title I needed, plus an abstract!

(2) I then moved onto the the UBC Library Subject Guides. The challenge is that the multi-disciplinary nature of the topic at hand. My first inclination is to start off in Psychology. Yet, other life sciences topics are equally pertinent (i.e. nursing and social work). Even within medicine, different disciplines are relevant.

(3) Thus, starting with PsychInfo, I eventually cover what I feel are the other main indexes & databases: CINAHL, Embase, Medline, and Web of Science. I also cover the free online databases: Google Scholar, SCIRUS, and Tripdatabase. Interestingly, Academic Search Premiere, a multidisciplinary database proved to be one of the most useful as numerous useful hits came up.

(4) With the search tools mapped out, the next step is to come up with some search terms. It took quite some experimentation, using many different combinations of terms. But in the end, I used (1) "alcohol expectancy questionnaire" and "scale development". (2) "Iceberg profile"; (3) "profile of mood states questionnaire" and "scale development"; (4) "Item response theory" and "scale development". Some interesting results did come up. Any ideas on how to improve upon this fairly rag-tag approach?


nancy said...

Hi Allan,

What an interesting question. As a newbie on the Woodward reference desk, I wonder if I would have been able to work out such a thorough search!

One thought – did you come across the UBC Psychology Tests and Measurements Guide? I wonder if it would be helpful.

Regards, Nancy

Dean Giustini said...

Allan and Nancy

You're making my heart sing!

A sincere effort at applying your knowledge, experiential learning and the reflective, social aspect of blogging