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Abstract

A recent development in biological research is the emergence of bioinformatics, which employs novel informatics techniques to handle biological data. Although the importance of bioinformatics training is widely recognized, little attention has been paid to its effect on the acceptance of bioinformatics by biologists. In this study, the effect of training on biologists' acceptance of bioinformatics tools was tested using the technology acceptance model (TAM) as a theoretical framework. Ninety individuals participated in a field experiment during seven bioinformatics workshops. Pre- and post-intervention tests were used to measure perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and intended use of bioinformatics tools for primer design and microarray analysis—a simple versus a complex tool that is used for a simple and a complex task, respectively. Perceived usefulness and ease of use were both significant predictors of intended use of bioinformatics tools. After hands-on experience, intention to use both tools decreased. The perceived ease of use of the primer design tool increased but that of the microarray analysis tool decreased. It is suggested that hands-on training helps researchers to form realistic perceptions of bioinformatics tools, thereby enabling them to make informed decisions about whether and how to use them.