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Abstract

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an integral part of health professionals’ training. However, there is little research concerning learning outcomes in the allied health student population. This study explored changes in self-reported EBP knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours, and actual EBP knowledge of entry-level physiotherapy students following exposure to formal EBP training. Methods: Entry-level Bachelors and Masters physiotherapy students were surveyed before and after completing EBP training courses. Two validated and reliable surveys, the Evidence-Based Practice Profile Questionnaire (EBP2) and the Knowledge of Research Evidence Competencies (K-REC) survey were used. The EBP2 included self-reported domains: relevance, sympathy, terminology (knowledge), practice, and confidence. The K-REC survey measured actual EBP knowledge. Paired t-tests and effect sizes (ES) were used to assess the change in scores after exposure to one or both EBP training courses. Mixed design between-within ANOVAs were performed to assess the impact of EBP training on participants’ scores in the two different student groups (Masters and Bachelors). Results: In the group of 77 students, completion of EBP courses resulted in significant change in all self-reported domains: relevance p < 0.001 (ES = 0.49), sympathy p = 0.005 (ES = 0.30), terminology p < 0.001 (ES = 1.07), practice p < 0.001 (ES = 1.34) and confidence p < 0.001 (ES = 0.89), and also actual knowledge p < 0.001 (ES = 1.13). There were no interaction effects between time and the student sub-group (Masters or Bachelors) for relevance, terminology, confidence, and sympathy (p≥0.05). There was a significant interaction between time and the student sub-group for practice and actual knowledge (p<0.05). Conclusion: These findings allow identification of the size of changes likely to result from current EBP courses in entry-level training. The results provide a basis for measuring the effect of modifications to EBP courses and for future EBP training interventions.

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