Increasing instructional relevance based on student reflections after they search for evidence

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  • Introduction: Every medical school integrates library based instruction in finding and evaluating evidence as part of its core curriculum. By the beginning of Year 3, undergraduate medical students have consolidated their preferred search methods and are given a refresher assignment to ensure that they are using the breadth of resources available. Historically, the results of this assignment demonstrated students' skill in finding evidence, but did not elucidate knowledge gaps, frustrations and barriers to their identification and use of evidence. We describe a simple education innovation of reorienting an assignment to build student self-awareness about searching for evidence. Intervention: We embedded a reflective component into an existing assignment without lengthening it. We asked students to compare multiple resources and to reflect on a challenge they experienced when searching for evidence to complete the assignment, or on a strategy they used. Responses were analyzed and themes identified. Conclusion: Major themes included: inability to find an article specific to every component of their question; difficulty narrowing search results; and successful use of rediscovered tools and strategies. Reorienting the assignment helped students to demonstrate self-awareness about their uncertainty and knowledge gaps in searching for evidence, and to celebrate their successes with new skills and tools for effective searching. Knowing what makes students feel frustrated, uncertain, or confident about searching, helps librarians tailor future instruction to students' articulated learning needs.

    Oral paper accepted for presentation at Weaving Humanism into the Fabric of Medical Education: 2020 Canadian Conference on Medical Education Annual Conference, Vancouver, April 20, 2020, but not presented due to covid-19 disruption. Abstract published in Canadian Medical Education Journal, Vol 11 No 2 (2020): Canadian Conference on Medical Education 2020 Abstracts

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    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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    Tan, MC. & Campbell, S. (2020). Increasing instructional relevance based on student reflections after they search for evidence. Proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Medical Education 2020, 11(2), e92.
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