How are medical students trained to locate biomedical information to practice evidence-based medicine? a review of the 2007-2012 literature

Lauren A. Maggio, Janice Y. Kung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives:This study describes how information retrieval skills are taught in evidence-based medicine (EBM) at the undergraduate medical education (UGME) level. Methods:The authors systematically searched MEDLINE, Scopus, Educational Resource Information Center, Web of Science, and Evidence Based Medicine Reviews for English-language articles published between 2007 and 2012 describing information retrieval training to support EBM. Data on learning environment, frequency of training, learner characteristics, resources and information skills taught, teaching modalities, and instructor roles were compiled and analyzed. Results:Twelve studies were identified for analysis. Studies were set in the United States (9), Australia (1), the Czech Republic (1), and Iran (1). Most trainings (7) featured multiple sessions with trainings offered to preclinical students (5) and clinical students (6). A single study described a longitudinal training experience. A variety of information resources were introduced, including Pub Med, Dyna Med, UpTo Date, and Access Medicine. The majority of the interventions (10) were classified as interactive teaching sessions in classroom settings. Librarians played major and collaborative roles with physicians in teaching and designing training. Unfortunately, few studies provided details of information skills activities or evaluations, making them difficult to evaluate and replicate. Conclusions:This study reviewed the literature and characterized how EBM search skills are taught in UGME. Details are provided on learning environment, frequency of training, level of learners, resources and skills trained, and instructor roles. Implications:The results suggest a number of steps that librarians can take to improve information skills training including using a longitudinal approach, integrating consumer health resources, and developing robust assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-191
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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