Effect of an evidence-based medicine seminar on participants' interpretations of clinical trials: a pilot study

Acad Med. 2000 Dec;75(12):1212-4. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200012000-00019.


Purpose: To evaluate the effect of evidence-based medicine (EBM) education on physicians' short-term and long-term understanding of research methods and statistics.

Method: Twenty-four gastroenterology (GI) fellows attended a three-day seminar about evidence-based medicine and the critical appraisal of medical literature. Attendees completed the same 14-item test on this material at the start of the seminar, at the conclusion of the seminar, and six months after the seminar. A student's t-test and chi-square analysis were performed to determine the differences between test scores by testing date and performance on test items.

Results: Seminar attendees improved their test scores between pre-seminar and post-seminar tests (mean test score: 57% +/- 16% versus 82 +/- 14%, respectively; p <.001) and between pre-seminar and six-month post-seminar tests (mean test score: 57% +/- 16% versus 78% +/- 13%, respectively; p <.001). Seminar attendees showed significant improvement in frequency of correct answers with individual questions on concealment of allocation, relative risk reduction, and meta-analysis trial methods.

Conclusions: In this pilot study, the critical appraisal skills necessary to practice EBM were taught to GI fellows in a seminar format that led to significant improvement in their understanding of research methods and statistics. Data from this pilot study justify a definitive trial examining the educational value of EBM seminars for physicians.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Educational Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Gastroenterology / education
  • Gastroenterology / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Time Factors