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Characterization of the biomedical query mediation process.
To most medical researchers, databases are obscure black boxes. Query analysts are often indispensable guides aiding researchers to perform mediated data queries. However, this approach does not scale up and is time-consuming and expensive. We analyzed query mediation dialogues to inform future designs of intelligent query mediation systems. Thirty-one mediated query sessions for 22 research projects were recorded and transcribed. We analyzed 10 of these to develop an annotation schema for dialogue acts through iterative refinement. Three coders independently annotated all 3160 dialogue acts. We assessed the inter-rater agreement and resolved disagreement by group consensus. This study contributes early knowledge of the query negotiation space for medical research. We conclude that research data query formulation is not a straightforward translation from researcher data needs to database queries, but rather iterative, process-oriented needs assessment and refinement.