Integrating evidence-based principles into the undergraduate physiotherapy research methodology curriculum: Reflections on a new approach
Background. The research methodology module was reviewed as part of the overall revision of the undergraduate physiotherapy curriculum of Stellenbosch University. This created an ideal platform from which to assess how to align the principles of evidence-based practice (EBP) with research methodology. Fostering the principles of EBP provides students with research skills and attributes to be able to seek, evaluate and integrate new knowledge and to apply critical thinking in order to effectively facilitate professional growth and support lifelong learning.
Objective. To describe the process of changing the undergraduate research methodology module from a primary research to a secondary research approach.
Methods. We consulted international experts and searched the literature for ideas and concepts of how to incorporate the principles of EBP. The overall objective of the new research module was formulated to provide students with lifelong skills in obtaining, evaluating, synthesising and forming clinical recommendations, as well as applying research evidence to the clinical setting.
Results. Structuring the research methodology module using an EBP teaching framework prepares students to formulate a research question, effectively search for and critically appraise the evidence and formulate clinical recommendations. The barriers and strategies of implementing the new undergraduate research methodology module, as well as lessons learnt, are presented.
Conclusion. Utilising a secondary research approach in the form of a systematic review or meta-analysis in our undergraduate research methodology module provides the opportunity for students, as novice researchers, to be trained in the principles of EBP.