The Washington State University Health Sciences Library (HSL) is a specialized academic library at a land-grant public university located in Pullman, WA, USA. This discussion focuses on instruction to students in the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) during their participation in a case-based learning activity known as Diagnostic Challenges (DCs).
DCs take place twice during the veterinary students' second professional year and are an intensive departure from the typical course schedule. The purposes of the DCs are to decrease discipline-based compartmentalization of the curriculum, increase the opportunities for active learning, develop students' interpersonal and communication skills, and promote independent learning skills.
A literature search is a required part of these assignments. At the end of the week, the teams present synopses of their cases and the clinical reasoning they went through to design treatment regimens.
Over the years a variety of strategies have been employed to help students understand both why a literature search is important as well as how to complete one.
This summary provides examples of what worked, what did not, and the effects of library involvement in the program on the students' successful completion of the exercise.
Poster presented at the 5th International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists, 4-7 July 2005, Onderstepoort, South Africa