gms | German Medical Science

Entscheiden trotz Unsicherheit: 14. Jahrestagung des Deutschen Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin

Deutsches Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V.

15.03. - 16.03.2013, Berlin

Comparison of component instruments, assessing the quality of RCT, by students after training sessions in Evidence-based medicine (EbM) – first results

Meeting Abstract

Entscheiden trotz Unsicherheit. 14. Jahrestagung des Deutschen Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin. Berlin, 15.-16.03.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. Doc13ebmP78

doi: 10.3205/13ebm081, urn:nbn:de:0183-13ebm0811

Published: March 11, 2013

© 2013 Buchberger et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Aims and background: Based on a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) comparing tools, used for the assessment of the methodological quality of studies, we started a project for the comparison of component instruments.

Methods: As a first step, we trained a cohort of students, our future study population, in the methods of EbM.

Within the framework of a lecture on health economics and epidemiology at our university, we offered the opportunity to substitute written papers and tutorials to achieve three credit points by visiting four additional sessions of 90 minutes each in November 2011 and January 2012.

First, we introduced essential terms of EbM theoretically such as validity, single aspects of study quality, hierarchy of study types, the PICO-scheme and different types of bias. We also demonstrated the classical structure of publications and therein, the sections containing validity aspects.

In the second session, we intensified the knowledge by interactive exercises, simulating different methods of randomisation, blinding, stratification, intention-to-treat- and per-protocol analyses. Furthermore, posters with single aspects of study quality were prepared and presented in groups.

Thereafter, the five component instruments [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], mainly written in English, were introduced and the participants exercised the application of these instruments with randomly selected publications.

In the last session, the students carried out the assessment of studies and their data were collected for evaluation.

Results: In total 47 students, on average 27 years old and 68% female, were evaluated. Prior knowledge of the assessment of study quality was stated by eight students, 39 had none, and on average, the number of master semesters was two out of four.

English language skills correlated weakly but statistically significant with the knowledge gained. The correlation between two instruments [1], [2] with similar items, concerning the assessment of distortion, was negative (Kendall’s Tau -,442, p<0.002), the research into causes is ongoing.


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