Evidence-Based Contributions to Discussion Forums
Ergebnis einer Recherche zu Vitamin Dgerman translation / full article
Result of Research on Vitamin D
Background: In recent years, discussion forums have been founded on the internet at various medical specialties. In our study we assessed, how evidence-based are the posts in a discussion forum about vitamin D. We exemplarily analyzed the contributions of the forum „Vitamin D Research Group“ as to number of active participants, ways of gathering information, share of contributions with evidence-based medical knowledge.
Methods: The contributions from the discussion forum „Vitamin D Research Group“ from 2009 to June 2012 were saved to qualitative empirical analysis for the study. They were divided into three fixed categories: Personal communication, opinions without giving scientific work and contributions on the basis of published studies. The cited studies were analyzed by applide methods and core statements.
Results: Most of the 70 registered participants (74 %) participated in active discussion. Of the 636 entries, 12 % were personal messages without directreferral to the topic of Vitamin D, 64 % were opinions from clinical practice without providing a scientific source and 23 % were related to studies. Of these, 14 % were randomized controlled trials.
Conclusions: In the analyzed discussion forum most of the contributions have not led to a publication, but consisted of pure experience reports. We speculate, that a literature search in a database will produce faster and more directly evidence-based informations. The main advantage of the forum seems to be a direct contact with colleagues who have been working for years in the field of vitamin D in clinical practice and research. Better structuring and introducing search options could render discussion forums even more effective for getting medical informations.