Teaching evidence-based medicine to medical students using wikipedia as a platform

Heather Murray*, Melanie Walker, Jennifer Dawson, Natalie Simper, Lauren A. Maggio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Problem While ideal curricular structures for effective teaching of evidence-based medicine (EBM) have not been definitively determined, optimal strategies ensure that EBM teaching is interactive and clinically based, aligns with major trends in education and health care, and uses longitudinally integrated, whole-task activities. Approach The authors developed a longitudinal, semester-long project, embedded in a first-year medicine course, through which they taught EBM using Wikipedia as a platform. Students worked individually and in small groups to choose a medicine-related Wikipedia article, identify information gaps, search for high-quality resources, appraise the sources, and incorporate the new information into the article (i.e., by editing Wikipedia). Students also applied their new appraisal skills to critique a second article. The authors used an online tool to track and record student editing, and they obtained qualitative data on student perceptions of the project via survey. Duplicate marking of a sample of assignments was performed using the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education critical thinking rubric developed by Finley and Rhodes. Outcomes In fall 2017, 101 students made over 1,000 unique edits to 16 online Wikipedia articles, adding over 10,000 words. Through thematic analysis of qualitative data, the authors highlighted several aspects of the project that students appreciated, as well as barriers related to completing their projects. Correlation of the 17 consenting students’ final assignments with the critical thinking rubric supports the assignment structure as a tool for assessing critical thinking. Next Steps This authentic task adheres to the principles of high-quality EBM instruction and could be implemented by a variety of health care educational programs. Modifications to the delivery model are underway to address challenges identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-386
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


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