Towards evidence-based practice in medical training: making evaluations more meaningful

Med Educ. 2004 Dec;38(12):1288-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2004.02021.x.


Context: The evaluation of training is problematic and the evidence base inconclusive. This situation may arise for 2 main reasons: training is not understood as a complex intervention and, related to this, the evaluation methods applied are often overly simplistic.

Method: This paper makes the case for construing training, especially in the field of specialist medical education, as a complex intervention. It also selectively reviews the available literature in order to match evaluative techniques with the demonstrated complexity.

Conclusions: Construing training as a complex intervention can provide a framework for selecting the most appropriate methodology to evaluate a given training intervention and to appraise the evidence base for training fairly, choosing from among both quantitative and qualitative approaches and applying measurement at multiple levels of training impact.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education*
  • Humans
  • Research Design