Scientific literacy and preferred resources used by Latin American medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic: A multinational survey

Enrique Teran, Bryan Nicolalde, Diego Añazco, Maria Jose Jaramillo-Cartwright, Ivonne Salinas, Aldo Pacheco-Carrillo, Saliha Hernández-Chávez, Gimena Moyano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study aims to identify the preferred sources for acquiring knowledge about COVID-19 and to evaluate basic knowledge on critical scientific literature appraisal in students from medical schools located in Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Methods: We designed an online survey of 15 closed-ended questions related to demographics, preferred resources for COVID-19 training, and items to assess critical appraisal skills. A snowball method was used for sampling. We conducted a descriptive analysis and Chi-squared tests to compare the proportion of correct identification of the concept of a preprint and a predatory journal when considering a) self-perceived level of knowledge, b) public vs private school, c) inclusion of a scientific literature appraisal subject in the curriculum, and d) progress in medical school. Results: Our sample included 770 valid responses, out of which most of the participants included were from Mexico (n=283, 36.8%) and Ecuador (n=229, 29.7%). Participants preferred using evidence-based clinical resources (EBCRs) to learn more about COVID-19 (n=182, 23.6%). The preferred study design was case report/series (n=218, 28.1%). We found that only 265 participants correctly identified the concept of a preprint (34.4%), while 243 students (31.6%) correctly identified the characteristics of a predatory journal. We found no significant differences in the proportion of correct answers regardless of the self-perceived level of knowledge, progress in medical school, or scientific literature critical appraisal classes. Conclusion: This study is novel in its approach of identifying sources of knowledge used by Latin American medical students and provides insights into the need to reinforce training in critical appraisal of scientific literature during medical school.

Original languageEnglish
Article number341
StatePublished - 2022


  • COVID-19; medical students; Latin America; critical scientific literature appraisal


Dive into the research topics of 'Scientific literacy and preferred resources used by Latin American medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic: A multinational survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this