Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Undergraduate medical students’ perceptions, attitudes, and competencies in evidence-based medicine (EBM), and their understanding of EBM reality in Syria

Fares Alahdab1*, Belal Firwana12, Rim Hasan12, Mohamad Bassam Sonbol1, Munes Fares1, Iyad Alnahhas1, Ammar Sabouni1 and Mazen Ferwana3

Author Affiliations

1 University of Damascus, Faculty of Medicine, Damascus, Syria

2 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA

3 National and Gulf Center for Evidence Based Health Practice, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:431  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-431

Published: 12 August 2012



Teaching evidence-based medicine (EBM) should be evaluated and guided by evidence of its own effectiveness. However, no data are available on adoption of EBM by Syrian undergraduate, postgraduate, or practicing physicians. In fact, the teaching of EBM in Syria is not yet a part of undergraduate medical curricula. The authors evaluated education of evidence-based medicine through a two-day intensive training course.


The authors evaluated education of evidence-based medicine through a two-day intensive training course that took place in 2011. The course included didactic lectures as well as interactive hands-on workshops on all topics of EBM. A comprehensive questionnaire, that included the Berlin questionnaire, was used to inspect medical students’ awareness of, attitudes toward, and competencies’ in EBM.


According to students, problems facing proper EBM practice in Syria were the absence of the following: an EBM teaching module in medical school curriculum (94%), role models among professors and instructors (92%), a librarian (70%), institutional subscription to medical journals (94%), and sufficient IT hardware (58%). After the course, there was a statistically significant increase in medical students' perceived ability to go through steps of EBM, namely: formulating PICO questions (56.9%), searching for evidence (39.8%), appraising the evidence (27.3%), understanding statistics (48%), and applying evidence at point of care (34.1%). However, mean increase in Berlin scores after the course was 2.68, a non-statistically significant increase of 17.86%.


The road to a better EBM reality in Syria starts with teaching EBM in medical school and developing the proper environment to facilitate transforming current medical education and practice to an evidence-based standard in Syria.