Mapping the literature of dental hygiene: an update

Carol L. Watwood, Terry Dean


Objective: This study updates Haaland’s 1999 dental hygiene mapping study. By identifying core journals and estimating database coverage, it characterizes changes in dental hygiene research and aids librarians in collection development and user education.

Method: Cited references from a three-year (2015–2017) sample of core dental hygiene journals were collected, categorized into five formats, and analyzed by format and publication year according to Bradford’s Law of Scattering. CINAHL Complete, MEDLINE, and EMBASE were surveyed to determine the indexing coverage of cited journals.

Results: The number of cited journal titles increased from 389 in 1999 to 1,675 in 2018. Core Zone 1 titles increased from 5 to 11. Journal article citations increased from 69.5% of all citations in 1999 to 78.4% in the present study, whereas book citations decreased from 18.1% to 5.1%. A newly added category, “Internet sources,” accounted for 8.4% of citations. Overall, 68.6% of citations were 10 years or younger versus 71.4% in 1999. Most Zone 1 and Zone 2 journals were specific to dentistry or dental hygiene.

Conclusion: Notable changes since 1999 were an increased volume of literature and a shift from print to online sources, reflecting improved accessibility of the literature and greater Internet use. From 1999 to 2018, citations to journal articles increased, books decreased, websites appeared, and government publications increased slightly. These findings indicate that dental hygiene research is growing and that indexing coverage for this field has improved dramatically in the past two decades.


Dental Hygiene; Literature; Bibliometrics

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