Evidence-Based Practice Knowledge, Perceptions, and Behavior: A Multi-Institutional, Cross-Sectional Study of a Population of U.S. Dental Students

Cheryl L Straub-Morarend, Christine R Wankiiri-Hale, Derek R Blanchette, Sharon K Lanning, Tanja Bekhuis, Becky M Smith, Abby J Brodie, Deise Cruz Oliveira, Robert A Handysides, Deborah V Dawson, Heiko Spallek
Journal of Dental Education 2016, 80 (4): 430-8
The aim of this study was to help inform faculty and curriculum leaders in academic dental institutions about the knowledge, skills, perceptions, and behavior of an institutionally diverse population of dental students with respect to evidence-based practice (EBP). A survey utilizing the validated Knowledge, Attitudes, Access, and Confidence Evaluation instrument developed by Hendricson et al. was conducted in 2012 with fourth-year dental students at seven geographically dispersed U.S. dental schools. The survey addressed elements of EBP knowledge, attitudes toward EBP, behavior in accessing evidence, and perceptions of competence in statistical analysis. A total of 138 students from the seven schools participated. A slight majority of these students correctly responded to the knowledge of critical appraisal questions. While the students demonstrated positive attitudes about EBP, they did not report high levels of confidence in their critical appraisal skills. The findings also showed that the students accessed various sources of evidence with differing frequencies. The most frequently accessed resources were colleagues, the Internet (excluding Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews), and textbooks. The results of this study help to identify areas for improvement in EBP education in order to advance dental students' preparation to become evidence-based practitioners.

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