The Impact of a Structured Research Scholarship Course on Evidence-Based Medicine Skills among Undergraduate Medical Students
While the inclusion of mandatory research or scholarly projects in undergraduate medical education is growing, research on learning outcomes has derived almost entirely from surveys of student perception rather than direct assessments of knowledge and skills. We investigate the impact of participation in a structured research course on skills in evidence-based medicine (EBM). We compared performance on a test of EBM knowledge and skills among students who had participated in a summer research course and completed a mandatory EBM/epidemiology curriculum to those that experienced only the mandatory curriculum. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). After adjusting for measures of academic standing and performance in epidemiology and EBM courses, we found that students completing the summer research course had approximately three times the odds of demonstrating competence in PICO question construction (OR = 3.4; 95% CI 1.5–7.7) and acquiring information (OR = 3.1; 95% CI 1.4–7.0), as compared to students who did not participate. The mean Fresno test score for those participating in the summer research course was 157.8 (SD = 21.3) compared to 149.9 (SD = 21.6) for those who did not (mean difference 7.9; 95% CI 1.8–14.0; p = 0.011). Our findings support an educationally significant effect of participation in a structured research course intercalated into a mandatory EBM curriculum on two essential EBM skills: clinical question formulation and acquiring information. Additional work to increase the precision of these results and investigate the impact of participation on skills demonstrated in the context of authentic clinical care is necessary.
KeywordsEvidence-based medicine Medical students Undergraduate medical education Curricular research Scholarly concentration Fresno test
Melissa Ward-Peterson is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities grant (1U54MD012393-01) for FIU-RCMI.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.
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