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Keywords:

  • attitude;
  • evidence-based medicine;
  • internal medicine;
  • knowledge;
  • medical education;
  • questionnaires

Abstract

Rationale, aims and objectives  Knowledge in evidence-based medicine (EBM) is increasingly becoming a core competence in medical education. We evaluated the trainee doctors’ attitudes and knowledge of EBM to obtain the basis required for developing appropriate teaching and learning opportunities.

Methods  Trainee physicians at a Tehran University hospital were surveyed. The questionnaire included six questions evaluating knowledge of EBM, the number of correct answers yielding the knowledge score, and eight questions evaluating attitudes towards EBM. Participants were also asked to mark on a 10-cm Visual Analogue Scale their use of various information sources and tendency to participate in EBM training courses.

Results  The response rate was 80% (104/130). The mean knowledge score was 3 ± 1.3 (SD) on a range of 0–6 for all respondents and was not significantly different between interns (2.9 ± 1.4) and postgraduates (3.3 ± 1.0). Forty one per cent of interns and 66% of postgraduates had a positive attitude towards EBM; the remaining respondents were neutral. Textbooks and consulting experts were the most, and Cochrane Library was the least, used sources of information among both interns and postgraduates. The knowledge score was not associated with attitude, but was higher in those with previous research experience, prior EBM training, or the postgraduates that read more articles. The postgraduates and those with prior EBM training showed a significantly more positive attitude towards EBM.

Conclusion  The present study demonstrates that the majority of trainee physicians at a Tehran University hospital lack adequate knowledge about basic concepts of EBM. Furthermore, most of them continue to use traditional sources of knowledge rather than evidence-based sources. On the positive side, there was an overall positive attitude towards EBM and the majority had a positive tendency to take part in EBM training courses.