Comparison in learning between a formal vs. informal course on critical appraisal in internship

Hector Cobos-Aguilar, Patricia Perez Cortés, Héctor de la Garza Quintanilla, Ricardo M. Aguirre Velázquez, Salvador Gómez García, Miguel Ángel Romero García


Introduction: Research is fundamental during the undergraduate internship year. A formal course on critical reading and appraisal has positive effects on the students´ learning. Aim: to compare the results obtained after a formal critical appraisal course vs. an informal course in interns.

Material and methods: We studied 79 interns divided into four groups: 1 (n14), 2 (n16), 3 (n15), 4(n13 and n13). The formal course was offered to G2 and G4 and the informal one to G1 and G3. The formal course was taught by professors with previous experience, it lasted 40 hours and included reading an article, solving guidelines and group discussions led by the interns; the informal course was defined by any of the following: missing more than three sessions, no homework, no discussion. Instrument: valid and consistent, with 96 items, 32 for interpretation, judgment and proposal, and 12 evaluating study design: case-control, diagnostic tests, surveys, instruments, RCT, cohorts, meta-analysis and follow-up. It was applied at the beginning and at the end of the courses. The overall maximum grade was 96, 32 per indicator and 12 for designs. The randomness of answers was determined as well as the weighed progress.

Results: Overall initial vs. final (G1: 18 vs. 17, G2: 20 vs. 32*, G3: 25 vs. 26 and G4: 25 vs. 41*); also in judgment and proposals in G2 and G4. (*Wilcoxon <0.05). Randomness decreased to 3% and 5% in G2 and G4, 9% in G3, but it increased to 50% in G1. Weighed progress determinations were 2.5 and 3.2 in G 2 and G4. There was greater progress in the evaluation of designs at the end of formal courses (5 vs. 0 and 1).

Conclusion: Formal critical reading and appraisal during the internship increases student advancement and should be appropriately implemented at some point throughout the year.


critical reading, critical appraisal, internship, formal course

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