Inclination towards research and the pursuit of a research career among medical students: An international cohort study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Medical Education. 2018, 18 (86), . 10.1186/s12909-018-1202-6
Background Involvement of clinicians in biomedical research is imperative for the future of healthcare. Several factors influence clinicians’ inclination towards research: the medical school experience, exposure to research article reading and writing, and knowledge of research. This cohort study follows up medical students at time of graduation to explore changes in their inclination towards research and pursuing a research career compared to their inclination at time of entry into medical school. Methods Students from medical schools in six different countries were enrolled in their first year of school and followed-up upon graduation in their final year. Students answered the same self-administered questionnaire at both time points. Changes in inclination towards research and pursuing a research career were assessed. Factors correlated with these changes were analysed. Results Of the 777 medical students who responded to the study questionnaire at entry into medical school, 332 (42.7%) completed the follow-up survey. Among these 332 students, there was no significant increase in inclination towards research or pursuing a research career over the course of their medical schooling. Students from a United States based school, in contrast to those from schools other countries, were more likely to report having research role models to guide them (51.5% vs. 0%–26.4%) and to have published in a peer-reviewed journal (75.7% vs. 8.9%–45%). Absence of a role model was significantly associated with a decrease in inclination towards research, while an increased desire to learn more about statistics was significantly associated with an increase in inclination towards pursuing a research career. Conclusion Most medical students did not experience changes in their inclination towards research or pursuing a research career over the course of their medical schooling. Factors that increased their inclination to undertaking research or pursuing a research career were availability of a good role model, and a good knowledge of both the research process and the analytical tools required.