Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 253–276 | Cite as

Evidence-based practice: a review of theoretical assumptions and effectiveness of teaching and assessment interventions in health professions

  • Aliki ThomasEmail author
  • Alenoush Saroyan
  • W. Dale Dauphinee


Health care professionals are expected to use a systematic approach based on evidence, professional reasoning and client preferences in order to improve client outcomes. In other words, they are expected to work within an evidence-based practice (EBP) context. This expectation has had an impact on occupational therapy academic programs’ mandates to prepare entry-level clinicians who demonstrate competence in the knowledge, skills and behaviors for the practice of evidence-based occupational therapy. If the EBP approach is to be entrenched in the day to day practice of future clinicians, a pedagogically sound approach would be to incorporate EBP in every aspect of the curriculum. This, however, would require a comprehensive understanding of EBP: its basis, the principles that underpin it and its effectiveness in promoting core professional competencies. The existing literature does not elucidate these details nor does it shed light on how requisite competencies for EBP are acquired in professional education in general and in occupational therapy education in particular. Drawing from educational psychology and EBP in the health professions, this paper provides a critical review of the evidence that supports EBP and the effectiveness of EBP teaching and assessment interventions in professional heath sciences programs and offers suggestions for the design of EBP instruction, grounding recommendations in educational theory for the health professions.


Evidence-based practice Occupational therapy Higher education Teaching Assessment Review 



The work contained in this review was supported by a Doctoral Scholarship from the “Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et Culture”, Quebec Government. Special thank you to Dr. Susanne P. Lajoie and Dr Laurie M. Snider for their valuable feedback on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aliki Thomas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alenoush Saroyan
    • 1
  • W. Dale Dauphinee
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, Faculty of EducationMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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