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Keywords:

  • education;
  • medical;
  • undergraduate/*methods;
  • evidence-based medicine/*education;
  • *peer group;
  • teaching/*methods;
  • group processes;
  • Germany

Purpose  To evaluate the effect of a compulsory evidence-based medicine (EBM) seminar in critical appraisal skills and the overall acceptance of compulsory EBM seminars for Year 3 medical undergraduate students.

Methods  Small group seminars by peer teaching were conducted for up to 23 undergraduates. Knowledge and skills in EBM before and after the compulsory seminars were evaluated by 2 different sets of 20 questions. To apply knowledge, each undergraduate had to analyse an individual paper case using the principles of EBM. Undergraduates gave anonymous feedback using separate evaluation sheets at the end of the seminar. Main outcome variables were changes in knowledge and skills.

Results  A total of 132 Year 3 undergraduates at the University of Frankfurt participated in a compulsory EBM seminar during the academic half-year 2003/04 as part of their regular curriculum. Complete datasets were available for evaluation from 124 undergraduates (94%). The seminars led to an overall increase in knowledge (question paper score increase from 2.37 to 7.48, 99% CI 6.61–8.36, or 216%). Transfer of knowledge into a paper case scenario was generally good, with a mean score of 49.5 (SD 5.24) out of 55 points. Feedback indicated good overall acceptance of the seminars, with a median of 2 (score range from 1 = excellent to 6 = failed).

Conclusion  Trained medical students are effective and well accepted EBM trainers in compulsory undergraduate seminars.