Objective: To describe the utilization and extent of influence of dental information sources by dentist’s level of involvement and practice years in three dental practice-based research networks (PBRNs), jointly known as the Collaboration of Networked Dental and Oral Health Research (CONDOR).
Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted of all PBRN practitioner-investigators, including a reference sample of non-PBRN dentists. Dentists reported on the frequency, type and format (online or print) of dental journals read, continuing dental education (CDE) sources, and extent of influence of information sources for practice guidance. Information sources were examined by practice years and level of involvement in their respective network as follows: full (participated in at least one clinical study), partial, and reference.
Result: 950 dentists of 1,453 (65%) participated in the survey; (96%) preferred reading print journals as opposed to online journals. Fully-involved practitioner-investigators were more likely to read a peer-reviewed journal such as the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) (p<0.004) and General Dentistry (p<0.01) as compared to partially-involved and non-PBRN dentists. Fully-involved practitioner-investigators (59%) were less likely to use dental meetings as a CDE source than the partial (76%) and reference groups(75%) (p< 0.0001).More experienced practitioners (> 15 practice years) were more likely to read peer-reviewed journals. The most influential sources for practice guidance were state or local dental meetings(52%), symposiums(49%), and peer-reviewed journals(48%); only 1% considered printed non-peer-reviewed journals as influential sources.
Conclusion: PBRNs may contribute to moving evidence-based dental research into practice. Fully-involved PBRN practitioner-investigators and those with more practice years differ in their sources of dental information compared to dentists less engaged or those with fewer years. The knowledge of what, where and how dentists seek evidence to guide their decision making is needed for the translation of evidence-based information in dentistry.