PERSPECTIVES OF UNDERGRADUATE MEDICAL STUDENTS ABOUT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND ITS INTEGRATION INTO MEDICAL CURRICULUM
University of Porto, Faculty of Medicine (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Principles of scientific research are rarely integrated in medical curricula in a comprehensive way, although the global awareness of the need of such education in the full development of medical students. Research activities enhance students' critical thinking and problem solving abilities, skills essential for excellence in clinical practice. Students are encouraged to participate in research activities because evidence demonstrates that such students: 1) become better physicians through their understanding and practice of evidence-based medicine; 2) are more likely to contribute to that evidence by their own research contributions; and 3) are more competitive for desirable residences and fellowship programs. The aim of this study was to assess the perspective of students about scientific research and its integration into medical curricula.
252 students of the first year of the medical course of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, completed a questionnaire that included 28 items about attitudes of medical students towards scientific research and its relevance in the medical curriculum. Exploratory factor analyses on the 28 items were used to evaluate the dimensionality of the items and the Cronbach’s alpha was used to measure the reliability. All items followed a Likert scale ranging from total agree (1) to total disagree (4).
Exploratory factor analysis identified the three dimensions of the questionnaire. The Cronbach’s alpha ranged from 0.67 to 0.72 for the 3 dimensions.The students agreed both with the positive attitudes towards science/research (mean=1.6, sd=0.3) and the integration of scientific research into medical curriculum (mean=1.9, sd=0.3), and disagreed with the negative attitudes towards science/research (mean=3.0 , sd=0.3). Integration of research into medical curriculum was positively (r=0.3, p<0.001) and negatively correlated (r=-0.4, p<0.001), respectively with the positive and negative attitudes towards science/research.
These results showed that students have good perceptions about scientific research and its integration into the medical curriculum. In addition, these perceptions were linked with research integration, since students with more favorable perceptions about scientific research were the most enthusiastic for its integration. These data have important implications not only for our knowledge of current undergraduate awareness of scientific research but also for future implementation of a structured research program, curriculum-integrated, in medical education.
Keywords: Medical education, scientific research, medical students, transversal competences.