A+ Education

As I stated previously I decided to focus my search on my first research question: “Does an inquiry learning approach lead to improvements in student clinical reasoning skills?”

This time I’m searching in Informit A+ Education.  According to its website, Informit A+ Education provides “access to authoritative research from Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific and around the world” and it “exists to preserve, enhance and distribute hard to find content”.

Below are my most successful search strings using Informit A+ Education:

Search String Results in Google Comments
Inquiry learning and clinical reasoning 9 To my surprise, my first simple search in A+ Education results in a link which provides a perspective on my further research question:

“Have other types of inquiry learning (apart from PBL and CBL) been shown to improve clinical reasoning skills?” However, disappointingly 4 of the 9 results of this search were actually identical, but were being returned from multiple databases.

I decide to perform another fairly simple search but using the Advanced Search tab, and narrowing it down to health related databases because previous unsuccessful searches returned far too many irrelevant results.  According to the database search function (which is a very useful feature!) A+ can search databases called “Health Collection” as well as “APAIS Health”.  I decide to start with “Health Collection” even though it states that its focus is mainly on Allied Health and Nursing and Midwifery rather than Dentistry or Medicine.  It seems that this is the closest I can get to searching literature specific to my discipline.  “APAIS Health” is more concerned with public health which is not the main focus of my inquiry.

Search String Results in Google Comments
“problem based learning” OR “problem-based learning” AND “clinical reasoning” 189 Again, this search string is successful for a surprising reason:  it provides a good reference which relates to my further inquiry question.  However, this is puzzling to me because I specifically asked for resources related to problem based learning!  I used the thesaurus function to search for related terms but unfortunately that drew a blank.  A quick scan of the rest of the results reveals that they are not relevant.


Whilst I have found a couple of useful general health professional education references during my A+ searches, I was not successful in locating any dentistry specific resources at all.  After spending quite some time searching through “Health Collection” using A+, I’m disappointed to say that none of the other search strings I tried were successful.  I found that my searches using both the simple and advanced search tabs either returned no results at all, or many results which bore little resemblance to my search terms.  For example, the search below returned 209 results but none of them were relevant:


One reason for this could be that this tool mainly searches Australasian journals.  Unfortunately, there are only a handful of dental schools in Australia and teaching-focused dental academics are a very rare breed here.  As a result, their research output is very small.  Also, I searched under the Browse Publications tab to see whether the Australian Dental Journal was listed and was disappointed to find that A+ Education doesn’t search this journal.  To my knowledge, this is the only dental specific journal published in Australia.

In my professional context, whilst it is always useful to find out what other schools in Australia are doing, realistically we more often than not look to Europe and North America.  Whilst this tool has many great features (such as the ability to save results and search history very easily) I’ve made the decision to cut my losses and move on to ProQuest Education.  At this point in my inquiry journey, I think I will move on before the roots of my inquiry tree start to wither!



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