Scholarly Communication Librarian Sacramento State University Sacramento, California
Background: Home birth midwifery is a field that relies heavily on intuition and authoritative knowledge. At a college for direct-entry home birth midwifery, research queries and theses often included alternative and complementary medicine topics. Our objective was to introduce evidence based medicine principles to information literacy instruction for direct entry midwifery students. The ability to formulate answerable research questions in the PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) format increases the relevancy of search results, which ultimately has the potential to improve professional practice and benefit patient care.
Description: Within a credit-bearing information literacy course, as well in individual research consultations, students were asked to define the different parts of the PICO format as it pertained to their research queries. The PICO template was then used collaboratively with students to assist them in formulating their research interests into database-searchable research questions in terms of therapy, diagnosis, etiology, prevention, and prognosis. Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive. Students demonstrated ability to apply the PICO format to research queries and an increased ability to evaluate search results based on relevancy. They reported increased confidence in conducting searches and usefulness in returning relevant results. Faculty responded positively to the results after seeing the literature searches and research assignments students turned in after instruction sessions and consultations.
Conclusion: Student evaluations showed that midwifery students found the PICO format helpful in navigating literature searches and evaluating responses. How PICO instruction translates into long term use of evidence based medicine (EBM) practices by midwifery students is an area for further research. The PICO model can be applied to nontraditional populations of healthcare providers and to alternative and complementary medicine research queries by all healthcare providers. There is a need for EBM instruction and outreach to other nontraditional health care populations.