• Vol. 37 No. 9, 764–768
  • 15 September 2008

Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) for Undergraduate Medical Students

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Teaching evidence-based medicine (EBM) to practitioners and residents will improve their performance. There is insufficient evidence regarding the teaching of EBM in undergraduate medical education. We aimed to determine whether an EBM workshop would improve undergraduate medical student’s ability to form clinical questions and search databases, as well as their attitudes towards EBM.

Materials and Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study on fifth- and sixth-year medical students of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. In a 4- day workshop, students learned and practised how to form clinical questions, perform literature searches and carry out critical appraisals. We assessed the student’s ability to form a clinical question and their performance in searching and identifying the best clinical literature to answer the question, before and after the workshop. Students’ attitudes were assessed using the Likert scale 15-item questionnaire on the last day of the workshop. Wilcoxon signed ranks test was performed to compare pre- and post-tests.

Results: The workshop increased students’ scores in developing clinical questions (P = 0.004, mean rank = 14) and search skills (P <0.001, mean rank = 12.50). It also improved students’ attitudes towards EBM [mean = 3.76, (standard deviation = 0.7)]. The course allowed students (79.2%) to appreciate the need for EBM education for medical students. The students also commented that the course showed them the importance of EBM knowledge in effective clinical performance.

Conclusions: EBM workshop for undergraduate medical students increased their ability to form clinical questions and carry out appropriate literature searches. It also improved their attitudes towards learning and applying EBM.


The practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM), which integrates individual clinical expertise with the best available evidence from systematic research, demands a set of skills. These skills help clinicians retrieve, appraise and apply the current best evidence.

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