Research shows that prerequisite courses prepare students for participation in more challenging coursework and more advanced future learning. Despite being a field that heavily relies on research evidence to inform clinical decisions as part of evidence-based practice, many undergraduate Communication Sciences and Disorder (CSD) programs do not include prerequisite undergraduate coursework dedicated to research methods. The purpose of the present study was to explore speech-language pathology and audiology graduate students’ experiences with and opinions about critical appraisal of research articles. A total of 201 graduate students from institutions nationwide completed an online survey with questions related to exposure to research appraisal, use of an appraisal tool, and perspectives on the importance of research appraisal and confidence in appraisal skills. Results indicated that nearly one-third of the respondents did not learn or could not remember learning about article appraisal in their undergraduate CSD programs, though almost all survey respondents reported that they had learned about article appraisal in their graduate classes. Over half of the students used an article appraisal tool to bolster their learning of article critiques, almost all of whom found it helpful. Most of the respondents recognized the importance of article appraisal knowledge prior to graduate school but suggested that many of their undergraduate instructors did not place importance on the skill. Respondents’ confidence in their article appraisal skills ranged from “least confident” to “most confident”. This study supports early and ongoing practice with article appraisal, which will provide these future clinicians with the confidence to communicate their knowledge and understanding when making evidence-informed clinical decisions. Additionally, instructors who teach article appraisal may consider using a hands-on appraisal tool since almost all students with experience using them believe they are helpful.
Mahoney, A. S.,
Garand, K. L.,
Lundblom, E. G.
A Survey of Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduate Students' Perceptions of Critical Appraisal Skills.
Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders, 7(2).