An Integrated Practical Evidence-Based Medicine Curriculum: Two Small Group Sessions to Teach PICO Question Formation and Searching Strategies

Publication ID Published Version
9446 June 17, 2013 1


The need to teach evidence-based medicine (EBM) goes beyond meeting the requirements of residency. For residents and all practicing physicians there must be a process to ensure that doctors know the latest and best information to apply to the care of their patients. Typically, in the majority of pediatric training programs, EBM is taught in the context of a journal club, which may not develop the skills needed to integrate EBM into one’s own clinical practice.

These two small group sessions comprise the beginning of a three-year longitudinal EBM curriculum and focus on the basics of EBM: asking the question and searching for the answer. In two 1.5-hour sessions, learners are introduced to basic EBM principles such as how to pose an answerable question in PICO (Patient/Population/Problem, Intervention/Indicator, Comparison, Outcome) format, and how to efficiently utilize evidence-based resources. Each session begins with a brief (10 minute) introduction. Utilizing the principles of active learning, the group works through one example together then breaks into smaller groups for further practice. The completion and review of homework given after each session helps learners to apply and reinforce basic principles and skills learned during the group sessions. While the curriculum was designed for and has been studied on pediatric residents, it could easily be adapted for use by a broader audience including residents of any specialty, and medical students in their last two years of medical school.


Boykan R, Chitkara M, Kenefick C, Messina C. An Integrated Practical Evidence-Based Medicine Curriculum: Two Small Group Sessions to Teach PICO Question Formation and Searching Strategies. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2013. Available from:

Educational Objectives

  1. To formulate three clinical questions using the PICO format, according to the criteria for good question building (worksheet) and according to the checklist.
  2. To conduct three literature searches using appropriate search strategies and resources, according to criteria given for searching and according to the checklist.
  3. To conduct three searches based on PICO questions derived from their own patients over the course of three weeks, using appropriate search strategies and source material to answer the question successfully.


  • Evidence-Based Medicine (MeSH), Resident Education, Medical Student Education, Problem-Based Learning (MeSH), Small-Group, PICO


  • Medical
    • Pediatrics


  • Interprofessional Collaboration
  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Patient Care
  • Personal & Professional Development
  • Practice-based Learning & Improvement
  • Systems-based Practice

Professional Interest

  • Curriculum Development/Evaluation
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Mentoring
  • Teaching Skills

Instructional Methods

  • Assessment
    • Attitudes & Beliefs
    • Clinical Practice
    • Clinical Reasoning
    • Intelligence (Aptitude)
    • Knowledge
    • Learning Environment
    • Self-directed Learning
  • Independent Learning
  • Tutorial

Academic Focus

  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Skills/Doctoring

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Medical Student
  • Professional School Post-Graduate Training
    • Resident


  • Presentation
  • Reference

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ISSN 2374-8265