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Volume 8, Issue 2 (Summer 2022)                   JMIS 2022, 8(2): 184-195 | Back to browse issues page

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Sabaghinejad Z, Khalaf Kabomeir A, Fakhri A. Relationship Between Critical Thinking and Information Seeking Behavior on the Web in Postgraduate and Doctoral Students. JMIS 2022; 8 (2) :184-195
URL: http://jmis.hums.ac.ir/article-1-368-en.html
Department of Medical library and Information Sciences, School of Allied medical Sciences, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
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In today’s world, instead of teaching the materials that quickly become old, there is a need to strengthen critical thinking at all levels of education. Critical thinking is a key skill when people are in professional situations. Strengthening such skills requires receiving education in this field. Therefore, it is necessary for the higher education system to focus on the process and critical thinking skills instead of just producing educational materials. In most of the studies in examining the growth of critical thinking skills in the first- and last-year university students, it has been reported their critical thinking skills do not differ much, which indicates the need for more orientation towards critical thinking. Critical thinking based on information deals with the analysis and application of information; accordingly, by discovering scientific laws and presenting new theories, it intensifies the process of science production. 
It seems that examining the two variables of information seeking behavior and critical thinking in college students and the factors affecting them and determining the relationship between these two variables can improve the college students’ information seeking behaviors. Considering the importance of critical thinking and its effective relationship with various activities, including activities related to finding information on the web, the present study aims to evaluate the relationship between critical thinking and information seeking behavior on the web in postgraduate/doctoral students of Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences (AJUMS).
This is a descriptive-correlational survey. The study population consists of 1035 students of AJUMS including 755 postgraduate students and 280 doctoral students. The sample size was determined 280 using Cochran’s formula (180 postgraduate and 100 doctorate) and samples were selected using a stratified random sampling method.
To measure the students’ critical thinking, a critical thinking skills test including 34 items and three subscales of analysis (9 items), evaluation (14 items) and inference (11 items) was used. To survey information-seeking behaviors on the web, a researcher-made questionnaire was used which was designed based on the studies conducted by Redad, Shafiei et al., and Bigdali and Pourmosavi. The validity of the tool was confirmed by faculty members of AJUMS and its reliability (after distributing it among 50 students) was confirmed (Cronbach’s alpha= 0.87). The final version had 41 questions and 7 subscales of identifying and starting (items 1-6), chaining (items 7-13), browsing (items 14-17), differentiating (items 18-22), monitoring (items 23 to 24), extracting (items 25-33) and confirmation (items 26-41). To analyze the collected data, SPSS v. 26 software was used by applying correlation test, linear regression, etc.
The mean score of information seeking behavior on the web in terms of starting the search was 3.50; in chaining, the mean score was 3.39; in browsing, the mean score was 3.25; in differentiating, the mean score was 3.21; in monitoring, the mean score was 3.19; in extracting, the mean score was 3.15; and in confirmation, the mean score was 3.03. The mean total score of information seeking behaviors in postgraduate students was higher than in doctoral students (t= 4.086, P=0.000). In all domains, the mean scores of postgraduate students were also higher than those of doctoral students. There was a significant difference between the mean scores of all domains in the two study groups.
The overall mean score of the critical thinking test was 0.27±0.08, which indicates the low level of critical thinking in two postgraduate and doctoral students. The mean score of critical thinking test in postgraduate students (7.54) was higher than in doctoral students (7.14) and this difference was significant based on the independent t-test results. The results of Spearman’s correlation test showed a direct and significant relationship between the mean scores of critical thinking and information-seeking behavior on the web in postgraduate and doctoral students. The results of linear regression showed that 5.8% of the changes in the information seeking behaviors on the web was due to critical thinking (F=5.7, P=0.001).
The present study showed that the information seeking behaviors on the web of postgraduate/doctoral students of AJUMS was based on Ellis’s information seeking behavior model, and the results are consistent with the results of Ghabisabi and Amiri Pari, Mehrabadi, Khoshbaf and Hashemi Nasab. Postgraduate students spend more time searching the web for the health information than doctoral students. The critical thinking of the both groups of students was low. Based on the California critical thinking model, the analysis dimension of critical thinking in students had the highest score while the inference dimension had the lowest score. Therefore, these students had very low skills in searching for evidence and published articles, and checking the accuracy and validity of information retrieved from the web. The overall critical thinking score of postgraduate students was significantly higher than that of doctoral students. In the study by Ghaebi and Amiri Pari, it was also shown that the score of students in critical thinking was low. There was a direct and significant relationship between the mean scores of critical thinking and information-seeking behavior on the web. This is consistent with the results of Wallace and Jefferson, Kovaroi et al., and Maleki et al., but is against the results of Tahmasebi et al. and Ghaebi and Amiri Pari.

Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines

This study obtained ethical approval from the ethics committee of Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences (AJUMS) (Code: IR.AJUMS.REC.1398.936).

This study was extracted from the master thesis of Abdolreza Khalaf Kabomeir. It was funded by Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences (AJUMS).

Authors' contributions
Investigation, data analysis, and initial draft preparation: Zivar Sabaghinejad; Data analysis: Ahmad Fakhri; Data collection and initial draft preparation: Abdolreza Khalaf Kabomeir.

Conflicts of interest
The authors declared no conflict of interest.

We thank Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences (AJUMS) for the material and spiritual support of this research.

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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2021/11/13 | Accepted: 2022/05/14 | Published: 2022/07/1

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