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J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2016 Sep 22;13:34. eCollection 2016.

Educational strategies for teaching evidence-based practice to undergraduate health students: systematic review.

Author information

Society of Junior Doctors, Athens, Greece.
Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Greece.
Department of Upper Gastrointestinal and Bariatric Surgery, St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Venizeleio General Hospital, Heraklion, Greece.
Department of Nursing, Technological and Educational Institute of Crete, Sitia, Greece.
Department of Child and Family Health, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, London, UK.



The aim of this systematic review was to find best teaching strategies for teaching evidence-based practice (EBP) to undergraduate health students that have been adopted over the last years in healthcare institutions worldwide.


The authors carried out a systematic, comprehensive bibliographic search using Medline database for the years 2005 to March 2015 (updated in March 2016). Search terms used were chosen from the USNLM Institutes of Health list of MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) and free text key terms were used as well. Selected articles were measured based on the inclusion criteria of this study and initially compared in terms of titles or abstracts. Finally, articles relevant to the subject of this review were retrieved in full text. Critical appraisal was done to determine the effects of strategy of teaching evidence-based medicine (EBM).


Twenty articles were included in the review. The majority of the studies sampled medical students (n=13) and only few conducted among nursing (n=2), pharmacy (n=2), physiotherapy/therapy (n=1), dentistry (n=1), or mixed disciplines (n=1) students. Studies evaluated a variety of educational interventions of varying duration, frequency and format (lectures, tutorials, workshops, conferences, journal clubs, and online sessions), or combination of these to teach EBP. We categorized interventions into single interventions covering a workshop, conference, lecture, journal club, or e-learning and multifaceted interventions where a combination of strategies had been assessed. Seven studies reported an overall increase to all EBP domains indicating a higher EBP competence and two studies focused on the searching databases skill.


Followings were deduced from above analysis: multifaceted approach may be best suited when teaching EBM to health students; the use of technology to promote EBP through mobile devices, simulation, and the web is on the rise; and the duration of the interventions varying form some hours to even months was not related to the students' EBP competence.


Educational measurement; Evidence-based practice; Health occupations; Medical students; Teaching

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