A qualitative study of factors promoting EBM learning among medical students in Japan

Int J Med Educ. 2022 Aug 26;13:215-220. doi: 10.5116/ijme.62eb.7c19.


Objectives: To identify the elements needed to facilitate undergraduate EBM learning among Japanese medical students.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative study based on individual semi-structured interviews. Participants were physicians working at universities, teaching hospitals, or clinics who teach EBM to medical students. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants via email through the researchers' acquaintances. Six physicians agreed to participate in the study and were interviewed individually from October 2019 to January 2020. The interviewees were asked about their own EBM learning and teaching experiences, what they kept in mind when teaching EBM to medical students, and what they felt was needed to improve current undergraduate EBM education. Interviews were recorded. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Thematic analysis extracted five themes: finding foreground questions, observing role models, active learning, understanding patient backgrounds, and understanding the reason for learning EBM. To promote EBM education for medical students, it is first necessary for students to actively participate in clinical practice and identify foreground questions by observing their supervisors practicing EBM. In addition to acquiring skills in information retrieval and critical appraisal, understanding a patient's background leads to understanding the significance of learning EBM, which improves students' motivation to learn EBM.

Conclusions: This study identified five themes that promote undergraduate EBM education. Curriculum development incorporating these elements would improve EBM education in Japan and other countries.

Keywords: active learning; evidence-based medicine; patient communication; qualitative research; undergraduate education.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students, Medical*