Research Skills Training in Undergraduate Medical Education

Burgoyne, Louise, Boylan, Geraldine and O'Flynn, Suin (2010) Research Skills Training in Undergraduate Medical Education. [Conference Proceedings]


Objectives: Research training is essential in a modern undergraduate medical curriculum. The ability to analyse and interpret evidence is critical for the development of competent and reflective practitioners. All medical students are required to complete a significant research project during their 4th and final year at UCC, thus ensuring that all students develop basic research skills before leaving the Medical School. The objectives of this study were to (a) assess student understanding of the skills required to do research, (b) examine students’ perceptions of their research abilities, (c) determine which skills students would like to improve, (d) gauge students knowledge of research activities at UCC, (e) obtain students personal views of research. Method: Medical undergraduate students in years 1-4 (N=317) completed a research skills questionnaire developed by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning in Applied Undergraduate Research Skills (CETL-AURS) at Reading University. The questionnaire assessed students’ transferable skills, research specific skills (eg design, data collection, data analysis), research experience and attitude and motivation towards research. Results: Our findings show that students perceive themselves to have a low level of competency in certain research skills such as participant recruitment and data analysis. This is in contrast to a high level of perceived competency in more general academic skills such as information gathering and critical thinking. Overall, students have a moderate level of motivation towards research and are often unaware of the range of research programmes taking place at their own university. Despite this, 52% of students surveyed hoped to incorporate medical research into their future careers. Conclusions: The findings indicate a need for educators to focus on the integration of specific research skills training into the undergraduate medical curriculum. This is probably best achieved through the involvement of students in ongoing institutional research programmes. The study has influenced curricular reform locally.

[thumbnail of NAIRTL Third Annual Conference ED539248.pdf]
NAIRTL Third Annual Conference ED539248.pdf

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