Irish medical students’ attitudes towards, and awareness of, research opportunities

Duignan, S., Mohan, H. and Winter, D. (2013) Irish medical students’ attitudes towards, and awareness of, research opportunities. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


AIMS To assess students’ attitudes towards research; awareness of the importance of research in their future career; awareness of research opportunities; ability to carry out literature appraisals. METHODS Students enrolled in the School of Medicine in UCD during the 2010 academic year were invited to participate in an online anonymous standardised questionnaire. An exemption from ethical approval was granted by UCD. Questions were primarily closed-ended, 5 of which involved a 4-point Likert scale, and students could use free text to answer certain questions such as ‘What is your understanding of evidence based medicine?’ RESULTS Responses were received from 180 students, of whom 16% had previously participated in research. Surprisingly 83% did not feel adequately aware of research opportunities . The projects they were most aware of were Health Resource Board (HRB) scholarships and Student Summer Research Awards (SSRA), and 40% said that they would like to participate in research but did not know how to get involved. The strongest motivating factor to participate in research was the potential benefit for future career prospects, and 36% of students said that an inspiring mentor would most encourage them to do research, ahead of prizes, monetary incentives or academic credits. The most common disincentive was ‘difficulty balancing with academic commitments’ (30%), followed by ‘lack of awareness of research opportunities’ ( 25%). A third of students thought that an intercalated BSc was a good idea, however only 25% were aware that UCD offers this option, and only 11% thought that the medical school provides enough information about it. Two thirds of students felt they understood the term ‘ critical appraisal’ and 23% judged themselves capable of carrying it out. Almost all (88%) students felt they needed more guidance in interpretation of the literature. CONCLUSIONS Medical students show an interest in participating in research and are aware of its importance, but do not feel they are made appropriately aware of research opportunities. Students are generally unaware of the option of an intercalated degree. Finally, most students do not feel they have the ability to critically appraise literature.

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INMED 2013 Book Of Abstracts.pdf

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