ABSTRACT: Systematic reviews in medical education: A practical approach: AMEE Guide 94.
The twentieth century saw a paradigm shift in medical education, with acceptance that ‘knowledge’ and ‘truth’ are contextual, in flux and always evolving. The twenty-first century has seen a greater explosion in computer technology leading to a massive increase in information and an ease of availability, both offering great potential to future research. However, for many decades, there have been voices within the health care system raising an alarm at the lack of evidence to support widespread clinical practice; from these voices, the concept of and need for evidence-based health-care has grown. Parallel to this development has been the emergence of evidence-based medical education; if healthcare is evidence-based, then the training of practitioners who provide this healthcare must equally be evidence-based. Evidence-based medical education involves the systematic collection, synthesis and application of all available evidence, when available, and not just the opinion of experts. This represented a seismic shift from a position of expert based consensus guidance to evidence led guidance for evolving clinical knowledge. The aim of this guide is to provide a practical approach to the development and application of a systematic review in medical education; a valid method used in this guide to seek and substantiate the effects of interventions in medical education.