Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1031–1045 | Cite as

Instructional practices for evidence-based practice with pre-registration allied health students: a review of recent research and developments

  • Danielle HitchEmail author
  • Kelli Nicola-Richmond


The aim of this study is to update a previous review published in this journal on the effectiveness of teaching and assessment interventions for evidence based practice in health professions, and to determine the extent to which the five recommendations made from that review have been implemented. The Integrating Theory, Evidence and Action method was used to synthesise all published evidence from 2011 to 2015, which addressed instructional practices used for evidence based practice with pre-registration allied health students. Seventeen articles were found to meet the inclusion criteria, and were analysed for both their individual rigour and relationship to the five recommendations. The evidence reviewed in this study was diverse in both its geographical setting and the allied health disciplines represented. Most of the evidence used less rigorous methods, and the evidence base is generally exploratory in nature. To date, the five recommendations regarding instructional practices in this area have been implemented to varying degrees. Many current practices promote social negotiation, collaborative decision-making and collaborative learning, so the social constructivist approach is being adopted. However, the prior knowledge of students is not being assessed as a basis for scaffolding, communication of evidence based practice to varying audiences is rarely addressed and the role of clinicians in the learning of evidence based practice knowledge, skills, beliefs and attitudes remains limited.


Allied health Evidence based practice Higher education Research methods Review Teaching 


  1. Aarons, G., Ehrhart, M., Farahnak, L. & Sklar, M. (2014, online). The role of leadership in creating a strategic climate for evidence-based practice implementation and sustainment in systems and organizations. Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research, 3.Google Scholar
  2. Aarons, G., & Sawitzky, A. (2006). Organizational climate partially mediates the effect of culture on work attitudes and turnover in mental health services. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 33, 289–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asokan, G. (2012). Evidence based practice curriculum in allied health professions for teaching- research-practice nexus. Journal of Evidence Based Medicine, 5, 226–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berman, R. (2013). Moving out of one’s comfort zone: Developing and teaching an interprofessional research course. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 44, 303–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boruff, J., & Thomas, A. (2011). Integrating evidence base practice and information literacy skills in teaching physical and occupational therapy students. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 28, 264–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bozzolan, M., Simoni, G., Balboni, M., Fiorini, F., Bombardi, S., Bertin, N., et al. (2014). Undergraduate physiotherapy students’ competencies, attitudes and perceptions after integrated educational pathways in evidence-based practice: A mixed methods study. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 30, 557–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burger, M., & Louw, Q. (2014). Integrating evidence based principles into the undergraduate physiotherapy research methodology curriculum: Reflections on a new approach. African Journal of Health Professions Education, 6, 198–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Callaghan, L., Lea, S., Mutton, L., & Whittlesea, E. (2011). Enhancing health students’ understanding of generic research concepts using a web-based video resource. Nurse Education in Practice, 31, 375–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohn, E., Coster, W., & Kramer, J. (2014). Facilitated learning model to teach habits of evidence based reasoning across an integrated master of science in occupational therapy curriculum. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, S73–S82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coomarasamy, A., & Khan, S. (2003). A systematic review of postgraduate teaching in evidence based medicine and critical appraisal. Medical Teacher, 25, 77–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Council, National Health And Medical Research. (2000). How to use the evidence: Assessment and application of scientific evidence. Australian Government Printing Service: Canberra.Google Scholar
  12. Dawes, M., Summerskill, W., Glasziou, P., Cartabellotta, A., Martin, J., Hopayian, K., et al. (2005). Sicily statement on evidence-based practice. BMC Medical Education, 5, 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deangelis, T., Dimarco, T., & Toth-Cohen, S. (2013). Evidence based practice in occupational therapy curricula. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 27, 323–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Flores-Mateo, G., & Argimon, J. (2007). Evidence based practice in postgraduate healthcare education: A systematic review. BMC Health Services Research, 7, 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gale, T. (2011). New capacities for student equity and widening participation in higher education. Critical Studies in Education, 52, 109–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gaspard, C., & Prentice, K. (2014). Focused library instruction for occupational therapy, physical therapy and respiratory care students and faculty: Library instruction in allied health. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 33, 335–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gorgon, E., Basco, M., & Manuel, A. (2013). Teaching evidence based practice in physical therapy in a developing country: A national survey of Phillipine schools. BMC Medical Education, 13, 154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harvey, G., & Kitson, A. (Eds.). (2015). Implementing evidence-based practice in healthcare: A facilitation guide. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Henderson, R., & Rheault, W. (2004). Appraising and incorporating qualitative research in evidence- based practice. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 18, 35–40.Google Scholar
  20. Hitch, D. P. (2015). Attitudes of mental health occupational therapists toward evidence-based practice: Attitudes des ergothérapeutes travaillant en santé mentale face à la pratique fondée sur les faits scientifiques. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 83, 27–32.Google Scholar
  21. Hitch, D., Pepin, G., & Stagnitti, K. (2014). The Integrating Theory, Evidence and Action (ITEA) method: A procedure for helping practitioners translate theory and research into action. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77, 592–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hyde, J., Deeks, J., & Milne, J. (2006). Teaching critical appraisal skills in health care settings. Review. New York: Cochrane Collaboration.Google Scholar
  23. Johnson, R., & Onwuegbuzie, A. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 14–26. doi: 10.3102/0013189X033007014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Long, K., Mcevoy, M., Lewis, L., Wiles, L., Williams, M. & Olds, T. (2011, online). Entry-level evidence based practice training in physiotherapy students: Does it change knowledge, attitudes and behaviours? A longitudinal study. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 9.Google Scholar
  25. Macdonald, K., Hrynchak, P., & Spafford, M. (2014). Evidence based practice instruction by faculty members and librarians in North American optometry and ophthalmology programs. Journal of Medical Librarians Association, 102, 210–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Norman, G., & Shannon, I. (1998). Effectiveness of instruction in critical appraisal (evidence based medicine) skills: A critical appraisal. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 158, 177–181.Google Scholar
  27. Olson, N., Bradley, P., Lomborg, K., & Nortvedt, M. (2013). Evidence based practice in clinical physiotherapy education: A qualitative interpretative description. BMC Medical Education, 13, 52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Peterson, S., Bacon, S., Phillips, A., & Machunda, Z. (2011). Teaching evidence based practice at the BSW level: An effective capstone project. Journal of Social Work Education, 47, 509–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ramos, K. D., Schafer, S., & Tracz, S. M. (2003). Validation of the Fresno test of competence in evidence based medicine. BMJ, 326, 319–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Reicherter, E., Gordes, K., Glickman, L., & Hakim, E. (2013). Creating disseminator champions for evidence based practice in health professions education: An educational case report. Nurse Education Today, 33, 751–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roy Dizon, J. M., Grimmer-Somers, K. A., & Kumar, S. (2012). Current evidence on evidence-based practice training in allied health: A systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Evidence Based Healthcare, 10(4), 347–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Royeen, C., & Lavin, M. (2007). A contextual and logical analysis of the clinical doctorate for health practitioners: Dilemma, delusion, or de facto? Journal of Allied Health, 36, 101–106.Google Scholar
  33. Rozas, L., & Grady, M. (2011). Making room for dynamics in evidence based practice: The role of psychodynamic theory in client centred approaches. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 31, 210–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M. C., Gray, J. A. M., Haynes, R. B., & Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ, 312, 71–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Soares, C. B., Hoga, L. A. K., Peduzzi, M., Sangaleti, C., Yonekura, T., & Silva, D. R. A. D. (2014). Integrative review: Concepts and methods used in nursing. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, 48, 335–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Spek, B., Wieringa-De Waard, M., Lucas, C., & Van Dijk, N. (2013). Teaching evidence based practice (EBP) to speech-language therapy students: Are students competent and confident EBP users? International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 48, 444–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thomas, A., Saroyan, A., & Dauphinee, W. (2011). Evidence-based practice: A review of theoretical assumptions and effectiveness of teaching and assessment interventions in health professional. Advances in Health Science Education, 16, 253–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Torrey, W., Drake, R., Dixon, L., Burns, B., Lynn, L., Rush, A., et al. (2001). Implementing evidence based practices for persons with severe mental illnesses. Psychiatric Services, 52, 45–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Whittemore, R., & Knafl, K. (2005). The integrated review: Updated methodology. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 52(5), 546–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

Personalised recommendations