Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Taking Care of Business, Part II

In the last entry, I wrote about the following requirements for the term project:

1. Selection and characteristics of the user.
2. User's question.
3. Mode of and results from interview.
4. User model and changes in user model as the search progresses.

Today, I will be tackling the list below:

1. Construction and variations in search strategies and tactics.
2. Discussion of changes and reasons for these changes.
3. Consideration of modes of presentation of results.
4. User evaluation.
5. Resulting changes.

Construction and Variations in Search Strategies and Tactics

The construction of the search strategy used in this project was based primarily two elements: 1. reference interview questions and 2. evaluation of available online search systems. Although subtle in most cases, the variations in search strategies and tactics also were driven by the reference interviews, as well as the search results (e.g., a failure to produce relevant results in a given database would push me to search in a different database). Because successful results were produced so early in the search process, techniques typically used to augment searches, i.e., berrypicking, were not applied.

The reference interview questions, as seen in the previous post, went a long way toward shaping the search strategy. Knowing that Andrea specifically wanted applications of the motivational techniques to use for her work helped me to target the articles that would be of most help to her. Because she works in the dual-diagnosis field (people who not only battle addiction, but also live with other psychiatric disorders), it was easy to see that the Alcohol Studies Database in the Rutgers databases would be an excellent fit for the search.

The biggest change in strategy was when I felt that I had been able to find enough very relevant articles from the Alcohol Studies Database to resume searching on the web, albeit in a very target way. My goal was to find "nuts and bolts" as Andrea put it, not just studies of success or failures in the field. While she didn't explicitly state it, Andrea wanted guidelines and manuals. I made a decision not to search on the terms "guidelines" and "manuals" along with motivational interviewing because it seemed that the topic is such a specialized one (and because my success in just using those terms gave me confidence) that the results would lead me to the documents Andrea needed. All I needed to do was look in the right place.

Based on my previous professional experience, I selected some government sites which led me to uncover the MIA:STEP brochure. Andrea's feedback in the comments section of the entry where I explained my search strategy for finding that brochure were very confidence-building. She was elated to find the brochure and a link that had led her (independently) to find audio files on the entire motivational interviewing technique being applied with a patient. It was rewarding to find that my strategies and tactics were so successful.

Discussion of Changes and Reasons for These Changes

As noted earlier in this post, my changes were not significant in terms of the search terms. Instead, the changes were more evident in the selection of databases and free online resources. Because the previous topic above addresses this requirement, I will save space and move on to the next topic.

Consideration of Modes of Presentation of Results

This element of the term project was of particular importance to both Andrea and me because both of us are short on time due to work and school commitments. It also was a key consideration because we needed a web-based solution due to our geographical distance. The ability to be able to use this blog to accomplish the task solved all manner of potential issues.

For instance, I worried that I would have to scan miles of pages to email to Andrea. However, the articles were readily available to her through her work and school channels. Additionally, the ability to use Snag It (a very handy screen capture tool) to capture sections of search results and place those as jpgs within the blog was extraordinarily helpful to Andrea and me as we progressed through the search. I made sure to include instructions on viewing (e.g., click to view images larger) so that she could have an easy way to see the results.

The comments option of the blog also offered instant feedback options to Andrea. While she had difficulty initially (the fault was entirely mine, I had incorrectly set up the option, but corrected it quickly after being alerted to the problem), Andrea quickly used the comments option to give constructive and positive feedback during the search.

Using this blog for the presentation of results allowed me to go into as much or as little detail as needed to display what I had found. Additionally, the use of image capture technology along with the Blogger application allowed me to convey the results in an easy-to-use and easy-to-view way for Andrea.

User Evaluation

This element of the project was by far the most rewarding part of the experience. Andrea's enthusiastic responses to each of my search results (as seen in the comments of the posts) kept driving me forward to seek more information on motivational interviewing.

In order of appearance from oldest to newest, here are Andrea's comments:

1. Feedback on first search results using Google.

2. Comments on the results of using the Rutgers Indexes and Databases.

3. Feedback on my finding a very "nuts and bolts" article on motivational interviewing.

4. Comments on my findings at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site.

Resulting Changes

As has been discussed earlier, due to the consistent relevant results of using the term "motivational interviewing", my search strategies and tactics did not change significantly during my efforts. Only the locations for searching changed significantly, from a free online search engine (Google), to the Rutgers Libraries' Indexes and Databases (Alcohol Studies Database and Social Sciences Full Text Database), back to a free online search engine (Resource Discovery Network), then back to a particularly successful Rutgers Libraries' database (Alcohol Studies Database), and finally, U.S. government web sites (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health).

Reflections and Conclusion

Looking back on the experience, I can think of this search as successful because the client was delighted by the results. However, knowing now what I do, I would have made a few slight changes in the search strategy in the use of a few additional terms. In my searches, I would have added the term "practice" with motivational interviewing because that is essentially what Andrea needed -- articles on the practice of the technique, not just research about it. Asking more and better questions during the reference interview would have led me to that conclusion earlier.

I enjoyed working within the Rutgers Library Indexes and Databases, however, I'm very much looking forward to the coming changes to the search and results interfaces as well as the handshaking improvements between the databases housed on external servers and the Rutgers system. At present, it's very klugy and inconsistent.

I also liked discovering all the helpful information provided by the U.S. government sites. It was surprising to see all the useful links and other resources that led both Andrea and me to discover even further useful information.

In conclusion, at the beginning of this project, I didn't expect it to be as enjoyable as it turned out to be. The credit for that sits squarely on the shoulders of my user Andrea, who provided such useful and rewarding feedback. I no longer feel lost in the weeds about searching for topics unknown to me because I can apply search strategies and tactics learned in Principles of Searching (as well as following my gut around the free web).

I also didn't expect to find so many useful resources so quickly. I'll be sure to tag them for my Delicious account. When I find time between term projects, take home exams, and papers. For now, I hope that the followers of this blog have learned a few things along with me. I look forward to the next searching adventure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Taking Care of Business

Now that my client, Andrea is more than satisfied with the information I have provided, it's time to fulfill the requirements for the term project. This task will be done in stages, but for now, I will focus on the following sections:

1. Selection and characteristics of the user.
2. User's question.
3. Mode of and results from interview.
4. User model and changes in user model as the search progresses.

Selection and characteristics of the user

Selecting Andrea as my user was based on the facts that she is a recent graduate in her field of study, and new to the practice of drug and alcohol counseling, specifically in the area of dual-diagnosis. I felt that if I could help her develop her knowledge base in specific techniques, it would help her career. Andrea is an especially hard-working individual with a great deal of dedication to her field and continuing education. When I asked if she would be willing to participate in this project her reply was nothing short of enthusiastic. She welcomes new knowledge and is genuinely interested in the search process.

User's question

I first approached Andrea via email to ask if she would be interested in participating in the project. After she enthusiastically agreed, I spoke to her on the phone to clarify the scope of the project and discover what her topic would be. She introduced me to a technique she was practicing called "motivational interviewing". She told me that she wanted to know more about it; specifically, Andrea wanted to know how it was being applied to clients/patients with dual diagnoses (i.e., how professionals in the field use or have used motivational interviewing to help addicts and alcoholics who live with additional psychiatric diagnoses such as depression to cut down and eventually stop abusing substances).

Looking back on this contact on the project, I probably would have used the first opportunity to ask more questions, however, I approached this project early in the semester and had not yet read the reference interview questions in Bell's Librarian's Guide to Online Searching (2006, pp. 201-211).

Mode of and results from interview

Because the above was a very cursory discussion about the topic, for this purpose, I will not consider it the interview. Later, after a preliminary search on the topic to expand my knowledge on it, I was able to email Andrea the following questions:

1. Are there any other search terms you think I should try (or ones you have used)?
2. Have you already tried searching for this? If so, what worked and what didn't?
3. Are there any authors or names that you recommend I search?
4. How recent does the information need to be?
5. How will this information be used?
6. Are there any constraints on sources [for example, does it need to be only in English, can the sources be in any format (text files, pdfs, audio, video, etc)]

Andrea let me know that we should search from 2000 forward, that she would be using the information to improve her practice of the motivational interviewing technique at her place of work, and that documents need only be in English (regarding constraints). She had not yet tried searching on the topic.

After my preliminary search, Andrea informed me that I had discovered a resource from two of the top researchers in the field, William Miller and Stephen Rollnick. Additionally, she recommended two other search terms: payoff matrix and stages of change.

Finding such a valuable resource from Andrea provided searching confidence and a feeling of positive reinforcement. Her feedback was very encouraging and rewarding. It was good to find such a useful resource from the beginning because it provided both additional terms and citations on which to search if Andrea needed further information on topics not covered by the search later.

User model and changes in user model as the search progresses

The user modeling really came into play when I started searching in the Rutgers Libraries Indexes and Databases. I thought about the fields in which motivational interviewing and drug abuse counseling would fall, then searched the databases within those fields. I also thought about the clients Andrea might encounter, specifically adolescents and younger people as well as larger groups (e.g., women, retirees).

The Center of Alcohol Studies Library on Rutgers' Busch campus yielded great search results on just the term "motivational interviewing". As you can see from this post, the two terms Andrea suggested yielded mixed results. "states of change" was an important term in that it led me to search specifically in studies of alcoholism treatment, rather than drug abuse treatment in general. It appears that the phrase is used more widely in the former rather than the latter. Additionally, it was easier to find more materials to consider when searching on alcoholism than on drug abuse. It appears that motivational interviewing is may be more widely used in treating alcoholism than in drug abuse.

Overall, the user model didn't change that much over the life of the search because Andrea was so delighted with the information I had provided by using the three primary search terms ("motivational interviewing", "payoff matrix", and "states of change".) Because Andrea selected a topic so rich in recent research, we were rewarded early with useful information within articles, handbooks, and web sites.

For next time...

In the next blog post, I will be touching on the following topics:

1. Construction and variations in search strategies and tactics.
2. Discussion of changes and reasons for these changes.
3. Consideration of modes of presentation of results.
4. User evaluation.
5. Resulting changes.


Bell, S. (2006). Librarian’s Guide to Online Searching. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Friday, April 3, 2009

More Nuts and Bolts of Motivational Interviewing

In drilling down into the topic, I actually did NOT change my search terms. I still searched on "motivational interviewing" but what I did do was change the databases and places where I searched.

Because Andrea wants more application-type works on motivational interviewing, I went to the Alcohol Studies Database in the Rutgers databases.

There I found these potentially helpful articles:

On a different search, I started at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which led me to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. From SAMHSA, I found the Addition Technology Transfer Center Network. At the ATTCN, I found this page on Motivational Interviewing Assessment: Supervisory Tools for Enhancing Proficiency (MIA:STEP). It contains a link to a brochure that I'm sure will help Andrea in her work.

Additionally, I had great luck at the National Institutes of Health, where I came across the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In their Publications area of the site, I found lots of helpful information on treatment for Andrea. There were many guides and manuals. Especially this one -- to Andrea -- Is this another direction in which you would like to look?

Overall, I'm continually amazed at how much information I can find on this topic, even when Andrea has changed the nature of the query, just by using the same search terms. I wonder what this means.