As a result of the Bologna Process the educational systems in all European countries are in the process of reforming and harmonization. Accordingly, at the European Higher Education Space the learning model has been built on competence-based education (CBE). The characteristics of CBE are: it is oriented to the professional practice; it is learner-centred and the learning process is central; it has a constructivist approach .
In Spain, from this new framework, the National Government has determined a revision of the curricula, the teaching model and a definition of the competences in most of the degrees, included health care sciences (nursing, medicine, etc.). In the new Nursing Degree (four-year programme) one of the academic competences is related to the utilization of “Evidence-based Practice (EBP)” in the clinical decision-making .
So, the nursing curriculum should provide the acquisition and development of knowledge, attitudes and skills in EBP. For successful implementation in practice, EBP knowledge would need to result in skills, attitudes and appropriate changes in behaviour . Most evidence-based practice (EBP) educational assessment tools evaluated until today have focused on specific knowledge components or technical skills. Other important potential barriers to the adoption of EBP, such as attitudinal, perceptual and behavioural factors, have yet to be studied , especially in the undergraduate setting . Shaneyfelt  added that further development and testing is required to evaluate EBP attitudes. Tilson et al. remark the significance of this concept “EBP is gaining knowledge and skills, as well as much as increasing positives attitudes toward EBP that will promote a change in behaviour to implement EBP in practice” . Therefore, the teachers and health care educators need good quality instruments to assess the student acquisition of EBP competence.
Determination of the best methods to teach clinical decision-making has been made difficult by the lack of well-validated evaluation tools and the absence of randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of EBP educational interventions . In addition, assessment tools used to assess EBP competence have primarily focussed on medical students and graduates [9, 10]. A systematic review  identified 104 unique instruments, most of which were administered to medical students and postgraduate trainees and evaluated EBP skills. That paper identified that the majority of instruments predominantly focused only on one aspect of EBP (critical appraisal).
At nursing area the published questionnaires are used to evaluate self perceived competency in EBP for registered nurses. One of this, the Evidence Based Practice Questionnaire (EBPQ)  focuses on research utilization, in particular nurses’ ability to access and appraise research reports and implement research findings in practice. Several other questionnaires have been adapted from medical context. One of them is the questionnaire adapted by Watters et al.  from the McColl et al.  Evidence Based Medicine instrument. Watters et al. didn’t mention the reliability and validity results from the questionnaire adaptation. Other example of the use of medicine instruments to study the EBP in nursing is the one written by Brown et al.  based in the Johnston et al.  “KAB Questionnaire”. In this case, it was focused in United Stated nursing students from different academic years, and the authors didn’t make any adaptation of the items to the nursing context.
Very few reports have looked at the undergraduate learning environment, even less in nursing context. A growing body of literature exploring EBP teaching and learning confirms the research deficit in undergraduate EBP education and calls for further work within this area. Waters et al.  adapted the Nurses Perceptions of Evidence- based Practice survey for student attending post-registration education courses at a professional nursing college. Brown et al.  adapted the questionnaire developed for undergraduate medicine students by Johnston et al.  to nursing students. To conclude: assessing EBP competence in nursing students is hampered by a relative shortage of validated and practical assessment tools.
In Spanish nursing area we only found two questionnaires related to the EBP. One is the translation of the EBPQ  and the other one has been originally developed in Spanish . However, any of these have been created specifically for the assessment of undergraduate nursing student’s competence in EBP.
From this review of the literature and published instruments, there appeared to be a need for a knowledge, attitude and behaviour questionnaire designed to evaluate EBP teaching and learning in an undergraduate nursing curriculum in Spanish. However, concepts like attitude and behaviour need to be measure with self-perceived questionnaires. For the reason that undergraduate nursing students’ competence in EBP appear to be important in determining the future behaviour and use of EBP  and because existing instruments may be less than satisfactory for measuring these attributes. For the purpose of this study, competence is defined as the capability to choose and use an integrated combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes with the intention to develop a task in a certain context .
The purpose of the study was to develop and validate a new measure, the Evidence-based Practice Competence Questionnaire (EBP-COQ), an instrument to assess undergraduate nursing students’ attitude, knowledge and skills in EBP in a Spanish context.