Peer teaching and information retrieval: the role of the
NICE Evidence search student champion scheme in
enhancing students’ conﬁdence
Laura Sbafﬁ* , Elaine Hallsworth
& Anne Weist
*Information School, University of Shefﬁeld, Shefﬁeld, UK,
NICE, Systems and Engagement Programme, National Institute
for Health and Care Excellence, London, UK, and
NICE, Quality and Leadership Programme, National Institute for Health
and Care Excellence, London, UK
Background: This research reports on the NICE Evidence search (ES) student champion scheme (SCS)
ﬁrst ﬁve years of activity (2011–2016) in terms of its impact on health care undergraduate students’
information search skills and search conﬁdence.
Objectives: A review of students’ evaluation of the scheme was carried out to chart the changes in attitude
towards NICE Evidence search as an online health care information source and to monitor students’
approach to information seeking.
Methods: This study is based on the results of questionnaires distributed to students before and after
attending a training session on NICE Evidence search delivered by their own peers. The exercise was
implemented in health related universities in England over a period of ﬁve consecutive academic years.
Results: (i) Students’ search conﬁdence improved considerably after the training; (ii) ES was perceived as being
an increasingly useful resource of evidence based information for their studies; (iii) the training helped students
develop discerning search skills and use evidence based information sources more consistently and critically.
Conclusions: The NICE SCS improves conﬁdence in approaching information tasks amongst health care
undergraduate students. Future developments could involve offering the training at the onset of a course
of study and adopting online delivery formats to expand its geographical reach.
Keywords: database searching; evidence-based practice (EBP); information seeking behaviour;
questionnaires; students, health; teaching
The NICE ES SCS is a national programme launched in 2011 to promote the use of evidence
based resources amongst health care undergraduate students.
The SCS has considerably improved information search conﬁdence in health care students who
participate in the scheme.
The scheme can help develop critical appraisal of health care information and increase routine use
of evidence based resources.
The peer teaching format adopted has contributed to the uptake of Evidence search and to the
students’ better reception of the scheme.
A thorough scrutiny and evaluation of initiatives
like the NICE Evidence search student champion
scheme (SCS) involve the consideration of
multiple aspects which help identify the correct
positioning of this research in the literature.
With this in mind, this research involves
elements of three main areas of study: peer
teaching in university settings, information
literacy applied to higher education and evidence
based practice (EBP) (including evidence based
Correspondence: Laura Sbafﬁ, Information School, University of
Shefﬁeld, 211 Portobello Road, Shefﬁeld S1 4DP, UK. E-mail:
© 2018 Health Libraries Group
Health Information & Libraries Journal, 35, pp. 50–63