Measurement of perceptions of educational environment in evidence-based medicine

28 Aug 2014

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in measuring perceptions regarding different aspects of the medical educational environment. A reliable tool was developed for measuring perceptions of the educational environment as it relates to evidence-based medicine as part of a multicountry randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a clinically integrated evidence- based medicine course. Participants from 10 specialties completed the questionnaire. A working dataset of 518 observations was available. Two independent subsets of data were created for conducting an exploratory factor analysis (n=244) and a confirmatory factor analysis (n=274), respectively. The exploratory factor analysis yielded five 67-item definitive instruments, with five to nine dimensions; all resulted in acceptable explanations of the total variance (range 56.6–65.9%). In the confirmatory factor analysis phase, all goodnessof- fit measures were acceptable for all models (root mean square error of approximation ≤0.047; comparative fit index≥0.980; normed χ² ≤1.647; Bentler-Bonett normed fit index ≥0.951). The authors selected the factorisation with seven dimensions (factor-7 instrument) as the most useful on pragmatic grounds and named it Evidence-Based Medicine Educational Environment Measure 67 (EBMEEM-67). Cronbach’s α for subscales ranged between 0.81 and 0.93. The subscales are: ‘Knowledge and learning materials’; ‘Learner support’; ‘General relationships and support’; ‘Institutional focus on EBM’; ‘Education, training and supervision’; ‘EBM application opportunities’; and ‘Affirmation of EBM environment’. The EBMEEM-67 can be a useful diagnostic and benchmarking tool for evaluating the perceptions of residents of the environment in which evidence-based medicine education takes place.