Document Type : Articles


1 Associate Prof., Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

2 Master Student, Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.

3 Associate Prof., Department of Medical Library & Information Sciences, Faculty of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


This infodemiological study examined information-seeking behavior of users and the scientific production of Iranian researchers in the field of multiple Sclerosis (MS). The present study was conducted using a mixed-methods research approach. In the qualitative part, the preferred terms and keywords used by Iranian users in the field of MS from 2009 to 2019 were extracted through focused group discussions. In the quantitative part, based on the keywords extracted from the focus group discussions, the data on the information-seeking behavior of Iranian users were collected through Google Trends (using data mining techniques). Besides, the data on the scientific production of Iranian researchers published on multiple Sclerosis in PubMed, Web of Science (WoS), and Scopus from 2009 to 2019 were collected (using scientometric methods). The data collected using web mining techniques consisted of the keywords obtained from the focus group interviews, and the data collected using scientometric techniques included scientific products of Iranian researchers indexed in PubMed, Web of Science (WoS), and Scopus databases. Finally, to investigate the relationship between the information-seeking behavior of Internet users and the scientific production of researchers in the field of MS, the cross-correlation method, Shapiro-Wilk test, and Pearson correlation test was used in R software. The results of the Shapiro-Wilk test indicated that the information-seeking behavior of users in Google Trends and the scientific production of Iranian researchers on MS were normal (P-value> 0.05). However, the two variables had a powerfully negative and significant correlation (r = -0.81). The data also revealed that the keyword MS had the highest search volume index in Google Trends and was considered the final keyword in each category. The core category in the searches conducted by Iranian users in the MS field was MS treatment; most searches were conducted in 2013. The study's findings also indicated that the countries with higher search volume indexes for the keywords "MS" and "Multiple Sclerosis" worldwide were Italy, Spain, France, Russia, and Greece. However, the United States had the highest volume of scientific production. The results of the present study showed that Iranian researchers working in the field of multiple Sclerosis ignore reducing the questions of Iranian users in this field and have conducted their research projects for other reasons; In fact, many factors contribute to increasing the volume of scientific production in multiple Sclerosis. However, users' demand for health information or their information-seeking behavior online cannot be considered one of these factors. Information-seeking behavior of Iranian users in Google Trends and the scientific production of Iranian researchers have a strongly negative and significant correlation. Thus, the scientific production in the field of MS has increased over time. Still, Iranian users' tendency to engage in behaviors to seek information about MS in Google Trends has decreased over time. This implies that with scientific advancements in MS, physicians prevent most patients from searching the Internet for information about their disease. Nevertheless, the increasing use of online social media in recent years has effectively reduced the search volume index and changed information-seeking behavior.


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