Question formulation skills training using a novel rubric with first-year medical students


  • Jonathan Eldredge Associate Professor, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, Family & Community Medicine Department, School of Medicine, College of Population Health, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
  • Melissa A. Schiff Research Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
  • Jens O. Langsjoen Associate Professor, Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
  • Roger N. Jerabek Associate Scientist II, Program, Evaluation, Education, and Research, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM



Question Formulation, Evidence-Based Medicine, Evidence-Based Practice, Information Seeking Behavior, Medical Education, Undergraduate, Problem-Solving, Clinical Competence, Professional Competence


Objective: The research used an assessment rubric to measure medical students’ improvement in question formulation skills following a brief evidence-based medicine (EBM) training session conducted by a health sciences librarian.

Method: In a quasi-experimental designed study, students were assessed on their pre-instructional skills in formulating answerable EBM questions, based on a clinical scenario, using a rubric. Following their training, they were assessed using the same scenario and rubric. Student pre- and post-test scores were compared using a paired t-test.

Results: Students demonstrated statistically significant improvement in their question formulation skills on their post-instructional assessments. The average score for students on the pre-test was 45.5 (SD 11.1) and the average score on the post-test was 65.6 (SD 5.4) with an increase of 20.1 points on the 70-point scale, p<0.001.

Conclusion: The brief instructional session aided by the rubric improved students’ performance in question formulation skills.


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Original Investigation