Using Self-Determination Theory to Drive an Evidence-Based Medicine Curriculum for Pediatric Residents: A Mixed Methods Study

Published:December 17, 2021DOI:



      The ability to incorporate evidence-based medicine (EBM) into clinical practice is an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competency, yet many pediatric residents have limited knowledge in this area. The objective of this study is to describe the effect of an EBM curriculum on resident attitudes and clinical use of EBM.


      We implemented a longitudinal EBM curriculum to review key literature and guidelines and teach EBM principles. In this Institutional Review Board-exempt mixed methods study, we surveyed residents, fellows, and faculty about resident use of EBM at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months after the beginning of the intervention. We conducted point prevalence surveys of faculty about residents’ EBM use on rounds. Residents participated in focus groups, which were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded using conventional content analysis to develop themes.


      Residents (N = 61 pre- and 70 post-curriculum) reported an increased appreciation for the importance of EBM and comfort generating a search question. Faculty reported that residents cited EBM on rounds, with an average of 2.4 citations/week. Cited evidence reinforced faculty's plans 79% of the time, taught faculty something new 57% of the time, and changed management 21% of the time. Focus groups with 22 trainees yielded 4 themes: 1) increased competence in understanding methodology and evidence quality; 2) greater autonomy in application of EBM; 3) a call for relatedness from faculty role models and a culture that promotes EBM; and 4) several barriers to successful use of EBM.


      After implementation of a longitudinal EBM curriculum, trainees described increased use of EBM in clinical practice.


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