The University of Southern California (USC) Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy offers an “Essentials for Appraising Evidence” online course package, outlining clinical practice guidelines, systemic reviews, and 2-part Appraising Intervention Studies.
According to the university’s website, the course series features a case-based module designed to assist physical therapists (PTs) in understanding and applying clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) in clinical practice. The module reportedly discusses the purpose of CPGs, as well as the differences between CPGs and other evidence-based resources such as Clinical Prediction Rules and Clinical Summaries. The module is also designed to provide resources for finding CPGs, discuss CPG appraisal tools, and review a publicly available CPG in detail using the AGREE II tool.
The university states that completion of this module will enable participants to describe and identify the purpose of clinical practice guidelines, list resources to find clinical practice guidelines, and complete a checklist to appraise the applicability, quality, and clinical unity of clinical practice guidelines.
The systematic reviews module is intended to assist PTs in gaining the ability to understand and apply systematic reviews in clinical practice. The module is also slated to outline the differences between narrative reviews and systematic reviews with and without meta-analysis. The university notes that participants will also learn about the best sources for finding systematic reviews. Upon completion of the module, the university says, participants will have gained the ability to list resources to find systematic reviews, complete a checklist; including items from the AMSTAR tools, to appraise the applicability, quality, and clinical implications of a systematic review. Participants will also have the ability to understand the different types of reviews and literature upon the module’s completion.
In the two-part Appraising Intervention Studies module, participants will first define key questions designed to enable them to appraise the quality of an intervention study. The university notes that the first module will also allow participants to learn to locate where the answers to these questions are typically found in an article. Upon completion, participants will have achieved a variety of objectives including the ability to identify typical study designs for intervention research, state the most important flaws in an intervention research study, and identify typical study designs for intervention research.
Part two of the module targets the interpretation of the results of an intervention study. Participants will learn, the site states, how to determine the difference between a statistically significant result and a clinically meaningful result. Upon completion of the module, participants will accomplish objectives that include the ability to state reasons to use specific types of statistics, interpret data in tables in research papers, and interpret the results of an intervention study.
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[Source: USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy]