Methods: We used SurveyMonkeyTM to develop our survey based on an existing questionnaire used to measure basic knowledge, skills and beliefs about EBP among allied healthcare professionals and CAM practitioners. We invited 26 chiropractic educational institutions teaching in English and accredited by official organizations to participate. Academic officials and registrars at participating institutions forwarded an invitation email and two reminders to students between July and September 2010. The invitation contained a link to the 38-item web-based questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were performed for analysis.
Results: Fourteen institutions from Australia, Canada, US, Denmark and New Zealand participated. Among an estimated 7,142 student recipients of invitation letters, 674 participated in the survey for an estimated response rate of 9.4%. Most respondents reported having access to medical/healthcare literature through the internet, but only 11% read literature every week and 21% did not read literature at all. Respondents generally agreed that the use of research evidence in chiropractic was important. Although 76% of respondents found it easy to understand research evidence and 81% had some level of confidence assessing the general worth of research articles, 71% felt they needed more training in EBP to be able to apply evidence in chiropractic care. Respondents without previous training in research methods had lower confidence in assessing published papers. While more than 60% marked the correct answer for two knowledge items, the mean number of correct answers to the five knowledge questions was 1.3 (SD 0.9).
Conclusions: Although it is feasible to conduct an international web survey of chiropractic students, significant stakeholder participation is important to improve response rates. Students had relatively positive attitudes toward EBP. However, participants felt they needed more training in EBP and based on the knowledge questions they may need further training about basic research concepts.
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