Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Not provided at time of registration

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Robin McLeod


Contact details

Mount Sinai Hospital
449 - 600 University Ave.
M5X 1G5
+1 416 586 4800 ext. 8534

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title


Study hypothesis

There is no rigorous study comparing the value of electronic teaching of critical appraisal skills to that of a conventional standard journal club format. We hypothesise that web based learning is as effective as a standard journal club format in teaching critical appraisal skills.

Ethics approval

Ethics approval received from Mount Sinai Hospital Research Ethics Board on 3rd August 2007 (ref: 07-0171-E).

Study design

Multicentre randomised controlled trial. Programs randomly allocated by cluster randomisation to control or intervention group. Residents within the program will receive the same method of teaching.

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet


Teaching critical appraisal skills through web-based learning


Please note that, as of 20/06/2008, the anticipated end date of this ISRCTN record has been updated from 31/12/2008 to 30/06/2009.

Baseline data will be collected on the programs as well as the residents. The information will include the following:
1. Program:
1.1. Type of journal club currently in existence
1.2. Number of residents in the program
1.3. Current education intervention for teaching critical appraisal skills
1.4. Faculty with clinical epidemiology or health services research training and performing related research
1.5. Information related to format and faculty who will be involved in the standard journal club format (if randomised to this group)
1.6. List of all residents and their email addresses who will be participating in the trial
2. Residents:
2.1. Year of training
2.2. Previous training in clinical epidemiology
2.3. Previous exposure to critical appraisal teaching

General Surgery Programs will be randomised to either the web based group or the standard journal club group:

Web Based Group:
1. All residents in the program will receive EBRS packages through the internet only. No other critical appraisal journal club will be held
2. All participating residents will be registered with EBRS
3. The residents will be provided with instructions on how to access the EBRS website and will be able to download all articles and reviews from the site
4. A listserv discussion group will be set up for the residents in this group which will be facilitated by methodological and clinical experts
5. Each month the resident will receive email notification that the articles are available for reading
6. A clinical scenario will be posted on the listserv to start the discussion
7. At the end of the first week of the 2 week discussion, the clinical and methodological reviews will be posted
8. At the completion of the 2 week discussion, residents will have 2 weeks to complete an online monthly evaluation form

Standard Journal Club Group:
1. All residents in the program will receive EBRS teaching in the standard journal club format. No other journal club will be held
2. Eight EBRS packages including all articles and reviews will be sent to the programs
3. Programs will be asked to set up a monthly journal club led by the general surgical staff.
4. Residents will be expected to have read the articles prior to each journal club and be prepared to discuss the articles in a seminar situation with prompts by the faculty member.
They will receive the clinical and methodological reviews at the end of each journal club.
5. The residents will complete an evaluation at the end of each journal club and they will be returned to the administrative centre

Intervention type



Not Specified

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

All participating residents will complete a critical appraisal test within one month of completion of the EBRS packages. The critical appraisal test is a validated tool developed by the University of Toronto. The test will be administered by the individual general surgery programs in a 3-hour time slot in a designated examination room. The tests will be sent to the administrative centre at Mount Sinai Hospital and will be corrected by two of the investigators using a standardised exam key.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Mean number of packages which each group completes
2. All residents will be asked to complete a survey which will assess the convenience, interest, relevance and educational value of EBRS and the format it is given in

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. The general surgery program has an organised journal club in existence but is not currently using Evidence Based Reviews in Surgery (EBRS) packages
2. The program is willing and has the commitment to be randomised to either a web based or standard journal club format
3. The program has an administrative assistant who can liaise with the trial coordinator
4. Within the program, there are at least 10 residents who are agreeable to participating in the trial

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

Currently or previously using EBRS packages.

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

Canada, United States of America

Trial participating centre

Mount Sinai Hospital
Toronto, Ontario
M5X 1G5

Sponsor information


Physician's Services Incorporated (PSI) Foundation (Canada)

Sponsor details

1006 - 5160 Yonge Street
M2N 6L9
+1 416 226 6323

Sponsor type

Research organisation



Funder type

Research organisation

Funder name

Physician's Services Incorporated (PSI) Foundation (Canada) (ref: 07-59)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes