Objectives: The study sought to evaluate near-peer tutors' teaching of critical appraisal skills to medical students as an aspect of Evidence-based Medicine.
Methods: In a randomized crossover trial, 241 students completing a Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence-based Medicine (CE-EBM) module in the Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia (FMUI) were randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. During tutorial sessions, intervention group participants were assigned to near-peer tutors, who were newly graduated doctors, and those in the control groups were assigned to staff tutors. After two tutorial sessions, intervention and control groups exchanged tutors for the next two sessions. Outcomes were measured using written knowledge and skills multiple choice questions (MCQ) test, the Evidence-based Practice Confidence Scale (EPIC) and a student attitude questionnaire, along with student evaluation of tutors to evaluate the process.
Results: On completion of the module, the written test scores of intervention group students were similar to those of the control group (t(239) = 1.553, p=0.122), as well as overall Evidence-based Practice Confidence Scale scores (F(2/170) = 0.179, p = 0.673) and attitude scores (t(219) =-0.676, p = 0.085). In the tutor evaluations, the students rated their near-peer tutored sessions as better than those tutored by staff in most respects.
Conclusions: Near-peer tutors were as effective as and more readily accepted than staff tutors in teaching critical appraisal skills. These findings support the broader implementation of peer-teaching in other areas of medical education.