Evidence-based teaching

Evidence-based teaching requires familiarity with the medical education literature. There are a few key journals  in medical education such as:

You can see a listing here.

But what counts as appropriate quality evidence? In higher education, of which medical education is a sub-genre, the types of study designs and what counts as high-quality evidence is different from what counts as high-quality evidence in medicine. Most obvious is the relative scarcity of randomised-control trial designs. Much more common are quasi-experimental studies with non-random allocation of participants to groups, as part of post-hoc analyses and group comparisons; thus, there is a tolerance for confounds, uncommon in medical research. It is also common in higher education to see correlational studies, regression analyses, including structural equation modelling (SEM), and qualitative studies. There are also systematic reviews in the medical education literature that examine and synthesise previously-conducted studies; the Best Evidence in Medical and Health Professional Education collaboration is a clearing house for reviews of the evidence on educational practices in clinical disciplines, especially medicine.

According to Harden et al., (2017, p. 35) the sources of evidence about effective teaching can come from a variety of sources including: personal experience, the experiences of colleagues, experiences reported in the literature and at conferences, published guides, and systematic reviews of the literature. Of course, evidence should always be judiciously appraised, looking at, for example, the study design, the generalisability of the findings to your own context, the replication record or past replications of these or similar findings, effect size for a method, applicability to your curriculum or students, ecological validity or generalisability to contexts similar to yours (Harden et al., 2017, p. 36).


Harden, R. M., Laidlaw, J. M., & Irby, D. M. (2017). Essential Skills for a Medical Teacher: An introduction to teaching and learning in medicine (2nd ed.). Elsevier.