Medical Librarians may be Underutilised in EBM Training within Pediatric Resident Programs




A Review of: 

Boykan, R., & Jacobson, R. M. (2017). The role of librarians in teaching evidence-based medicine to pediatric residents. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 105(4), 355-360.


Objective – To identify the use and role of medical librarians in pediatric residency training, specifically in the teaching of evidence-based medicine (EBM) to medical residents. This research also aims to describe current strategies used for teaching evidence-based medicine in pediatric residency training programs.

Design – Web-based survey.

Setting Pediatric residency programs within the United States of America.

Subjects – 200 members of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD).

Methods – The 13-question, web-based survey used multiple choice and short answer questions to ask how pediatric residency programs used medical librarians. The survey collected demographic information such as program name, geographic region, and program size. Where respondents indicated their programs utilised librarians, the survey asked about their specific role, including involvement in EBM curricula. For respondents who indicated their programs did not use librarians, the survey asked about their reasons for not doing so, and to describe their EBM curricula. Researchers used SPSS software to analyse the quantitative data.

Main Results – Overall 91 (46%) APPD-member program directors responded to the online survey. Of these, 76% of program directors indicated a formal EBM curriculum in their residency programs. Medical librarians were responsible for teaching EBM in 37% of responding pediatric programs. However, only 17% of responding program directors stated that medical librarians were involved in teaching EBM on a regular basis. The EBM skills most commonly taught within the pediatric residency programs included framing questions using PICO (population, intervention, comparator, outcome), searching for relevant research literature, and critical appraisal of studies. The strategies reported as most effective for teaching EBM in pediatric residency training programs were journal clubs, regular EBM conferences or seminars, and ‘morning reports.’

Conclusion – The study concluded that medical librarians may be important in the teaching of EBM in pediatric residency programs, but are likely underutilised. The librarian might not be seen has having a significant role in forums such as journal clubs, despite these being a predominant venue for EBM teaching. The authors recommend that program directors and faculty work together to better integrate medical librarians’ expertise into clinical teaching of EBM.


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Author Biography

Alisa Howlett, University of Southern Queensland

Coordinator, Evidence Based Practice




How to Cite

Howlett, A. (2018). Medical Librarians may be Underutilised in EBM Training within Pediatric Resident Programs. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 13(4), 105–107.



Evidence Summaries