First-Year Medical Students Changed Resources They Cite in Response to Curricular Changes

PBL 2  First-year students writing weekly “learning issue” essays in a problem-based learning curriculum cited the sources of their information.  The type of references cited changed after changes in the curriculum including earlier delineation of “high-quality” resources, instruction on efficient search strategies, a hands-on computer searching workshop, and peer collaboration and feedback.  From 2006-2009, before and after these curricular changes, the percentage of “highest quality” references (peer-reviewed primary reports, systematic reviews, and guidelines) increased from 20% to 31%, while the percentage of references to lay or discouraged sources decreased from 24% to 6%.  The authors do not mention whether these essays and the type of literature cited contributed to the student’s grade for the course. — Laura Willett, MD

Krasne S, Stevens CD, Wilkerson L., Improving Medical Literature Sourcing by First-Year Medical Students in Problem-Based Learning: Outcomes of Early Interventions. Academic Medicine 2014 May 13 [epub ahead of print]

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