Open Access Research article

Propensity score matching in estimating the effect of managerial education on academic planning behavior. Study design: a cross-sectional study

Huy V Nguyen1*, An TM Dao1 and Dzung V Do2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, 01 Ton That Tung Str, Dong Da Dist, Hanoi, Zip code: 10000, Vietnam

2 Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Public Health, Hochiminh University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 217 Hong Bang Str., District 5, Hochiminh City, Zip code: 70000, Vietnam

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:102  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-102

Published: 8 December 2011



In many academic settings teaching a particular topic is applied to every student enrolled in the same academic year, it is a difficult task for researchers to design a randomized control group study. This research aimed to estimate the effect of teaching management and planning on increasing academic planning behavior (APB), using propensity score matching (PSM).


In a cross-sectional survey utilizing a self-reported structured questionnaire on a systematic random sample of 421 students in Hanoi Medical University, one of the eight medical schools in Vietnam, this evaluation study adopted regression procedures to assess model fit, then PSM to create a matched control group in order to allow for evaluating the effect of management education.


The study showed both direct and indirect effects of the education on behavior. After PSM to adjust for the possible confounders to balance statistically two groups - with and without management education, there is statistically a significant difference in APB between these two groups, making a net difference of 18.60% (p < .05). The estimated 18.6 percentage point increase can be translated into the practice of APB by 670 students in the population. This number of academic planners can be attributed to a high recall of important management and planning education.


The study provided theoretical as well as practical implications to guide the design of the education and evaluation of teaching.