↓ Skip to main content

Utilisation of internet resources for continuing professional development: a cross-sectional survey of general practitioners in Scotland

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medical Education, January 2016
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (77th percentile)

Mentioned by

13 tweeters


30 Dimensions

Readers on

127 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Utilisation of internet resources for continuing professional development: a cross-sectional survey of general practitioners in Scotland
Published in
BMC Medical Education, January 2016
DOI 10.1186/s12909-016-0540-5
Pubmed ID

Gordon MacWalter, John McKay, Paul Bowie


Participation in continuing professional development (CPD) is a professional and regulatory expectation of general practitioners (GPs). Traditionally, CPD activity was undertaken face-to-face in educational settings, but internet based formats have found increasing favour. The need for doctors to use the internet for service and educational purposes is growing, particularly in support of specialty training and appraisal. We aimed to determine how GPs in Scotland utilise online resources in support of their CPD. This involved identifying which resources are used and how frequently, along with their preferences as to how and why they access these resources. A cross sectional study was undertaken using an online questionnaire to survey general practitioners across Scotland. Data were subjected to descriptive analysis and differences in attitudinal responses between groups and Fischer's exact tests were calculated. Three hundred and eighty-three GP responses were received, with the majority being female (n = 232, 60.6 %) and GP partners (n = 236, 61.6 %). The majority used the internet on three or more working days per week or more frequently (n = 361, 94.3 %) with the three most common reasons being to obtain information for a patient (n = 358, 93.5 %), answering a clinical question (n = 357, 93.2 %) and CPD purposes (n = 308, 80.4 %). Of 37 online resources used by respondents, the top five were SIGN Guidelines (n = 303, 79.3 %), BMJ Learning (n = 279, 73.0 %), NICE Guidelines (n = 255, 66.8 %), GP Notebook (n = 243, 63.6 %) and Google (n = 234, 61.3 %). Low use of social media such as Facebook (n = 11, 2.9 %) and Twitter (n = 11, 2.9 %) was reported for CPD. A majority agreed that 'reading information online' (95.0 %) and 'completing online learning modules' (87.4 %) were the most valued online activities. Slow internet connections (n = 240, 62.7 %), website access restrictions (n = 177, 46.2 %) and difficulties logging into online CPD resources (n = 163, 42.6 %) were reported barriers. Significant response differences (P < 0.05) were found between groups based on high volume online usage, gender and age. The majority of respondents had positive attitudes to using online resources for continuing professional development, and a preference for evidence-based and peer reviewed online resources. Information technology (IT) difficulties remain a barrier to effective utilisation. The findings have implications for future planning and design of online resources and IT infrastructure.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 13 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 127 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Switzerland 1 <1%
Unknown 126 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 28 22%
Other 15 12%
Student > Doctoral Student 14 11%
Student > Bachelor 13 10%
Researcher 9 7%
Other 22 17%
Unknown 26 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 29 23%
Nursing and Health Professions 16 13%
Computer Science 11 9%
Business, Management and Accounting 10 8%
Social Sciences 9 7%
Other 24 19%
Unknown 28 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 6. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 November 2019.
All research outputs
of 21,945,694 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medical Education
of 3,143 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 375,993 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medical Education
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,945,694 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 75th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 3,143 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 6.4. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 73% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 375,993 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 77% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them