Magnitude of change in outcomes following entry-level evidence-based practice training: a systematic review

Sze C. Wong1, Maureen P. McEvoy2, Louise K. Wiles1 and Lucy K. Lewis1

1Health and Use of Time (HUT) group, Sansom Institute for Health Research, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Australia

2International Centre of Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE), School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Australia

Submitted: 20/02/2013; Accepted: 25/05/2013; Published: 06/06/2013

Int J Med Educ. 2013; 4:107-114; doi: 10.5116/ijme.51a0.fd25

© 2013 Sze C. Wong et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited.

Objectives: The aim of this systematic review was to determine the magnitude of change (effect size) in outcomes (knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, skills and confidence) following evidence-based practice training in entry-level health professional students.

Methods: Six electronic databases were searched for primary studies that investigated the effectiveness of evidence- based practice intervention(s) and reported on, or included data, to allow the calculation of effect size. Data were extracted regarding the effect size, or enabling calculation of effect size (mean, standard deviation, standard error, sample size).

Results: Eight studies were found that met the inclusion criteria. Effect sizes for evidence-based practice knowledge and skills ranged from small (0.33) to huge (5.42). Four studies exploring attitudes found negligible (0.075) to medium (0.57) effect sizes. These studies assessing behaviours showed effect sizes ranging from negligible (0.031) to very large (1.34). Very large (0.89) and huge (3.03) effect sizes were reported for confidence with evidence-based practice.

Conclusions: Few studies reported the effect size for outcomes and many did not report sufficient data to enable calculation of effect size. Considerable and varied improvements were found in students' evidence-based practice knowledge, skills and confidence after training.