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Benefits and pitfalls of scientific research during undergraduate medical education.

Kuhnigk O, Böthern AM, Reimer J, Schäfer I, Biegler A, Jueptner M, Gelderblom M, Harendza S - GMS Z Med Ausbild (2010)

Bottom Line: Starting a dissertation project early during undergraduate studies was correlated with a less successful outcome.Moreover, working on a dissertation significantly reduced time spent on undergraduate studies.Students who have been working successfully on a dissertation rate items regarding the acquisition of scientific research skills significantly more positively, and participation in undergraduate studies seems to be negatively affected by working on a dissertation project.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Hamburg, Deutschland.

ABSTRACT

Objective: The integration of scientific research into medical education is a widely discussed topic. Most research training programs are offered on a voluntary basis. In Germany, it is mandatory to complete a doctoral thesis to obtain the academic title "doctor". The reasons why students start a dissertation project and the influence of this project on their undergraduate studies and later career choices are not well known.

Method: This study was conducted at five German universities in 2003, with a total of 437 fifth-year students participating in it. A standardised questionnaire was used to ask participants about their current or finished dissertation (group A), a dissertation they had discontinued (group B) or why they had never started a dissertation project (group C).

Results: The two most important reasons for students from group A to start a dissertation were "interest in the topic" and "advantage for job applications". Compared with group B, they mentioned "improved ability to critically appraise scientific studies" and "doing scientific work independently" significantly more often as a result of working on their dissertation. Starting a dissertation project early during undergraduate studies was correlated with a less successful outcome. Moreover, working on a dissertation significantly reduced time spent on undergraduate studies. Students from group C named the "workload of undergraduate studies" and "no time" most frequently as reasons for not having started a dissertation.

Conclusion: Students who have been working successfully on a dissertation rate items regarding the acquisition of scientific research skills significantly more positively, and participation in undergraduate studies seems to be negatively affected by working on a dissertation project. Therefore, basic training in scientific research methodology should become an integrated part of the medical undergraduate curriculum, while special programs should be offered for students with a particular interest in scientific research programs or an academic career.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Advantages which students gained from working on their dissertations
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Figure 2: Advantages which students gained from working on their dissertations

Mentions: When asked about the advantages they gained from working on their dissertation project, students from group A most frequently named “improved ability to critically appraise scientific studies” and “doing scientific work independently” as the biggest gains (see Figure 2 (Fig. 2)). These and all other items (all means<3.0) were significantly different from group B (P<0.001, ε=0.43–0.62). Neither students from group A nor students from group B felt that a dissertation was a “useful addition to medical undergraduate studies”.


Benefits and pitfalls of scientific research during undergraduate medical education.

Kuhnigk O, Böthern AM, Reimer J, Schäfer I, Biegler A, Jueptner M, Gelderblom M, Harendza S - GMS Z Med Ausbild (2010)

Advantages which students gained from working on their dissertations
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3140381&req=5

Figure 2: Advantages which students gained from working on their dissertations
Mentions: When asked about the advantages they gained from working on their dissertation project, students from group A most frequently named “improved ability to critically appraise scientific studies” and “doing scientific work independently” as the biggest gains (see Figure 2 (Fig. 2)). These and all other items (all means<3.0) were significantly different from group B (P<0.001, ε=0.43–0.62). Neither students from group A nor students from group B felt that a dissertation was a “useful addition to medical undergraduate studies”.

Bottom Line: Starting a dissertation project early during undergraduate studies was correlated with a less successful outcome.Moreover, working on a dissertation significantly reduced time spent on undergraduate studies.Students who have been working successfully on a dissertation rate items regarding the acquisition of scientific research skills significantly more positively, and participation in undergraduate studies seems to be negatively affected by working on a dissertation project.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Hamburg, Deutschland.

ABSTRACT

Objective: The integration of scientific research into medical education is a widely discussed topic. Most research training programs are offered on a voluntary basis. In Germany, it is mandatory to complete a doctoral thesis to obtain the academic title "doctor". The reasons why students start a dissertation project and the influence of this project on their undergraduate studies and later career choices are not well known.

Method: This study was conducted at five German universities in 2003, with a total of 437 fifth-year students participating in it. A standardised questionnaire was used to ask participants about their current or finished dissertation (group A), a dissertation they had discontinued (group B) or why they had never started a dissertation project (group C).

Results: The two most important reasons for students from group A to start a dissertation were "interest in the topic" and "advantage for job applications". Compared with group B, they mentioned "improved ability to critically appraise scientific studies" and "doing scientific work independently" significantly more often as a result of working on their dissertation. Starting a dissertation project early during undergraduate studies was correlated with a less successful outcome. Moreover, working on a dissertation significantly reduced time spent on undergraduate studies. Students from group C named the "workload of undergraduate studies" and "no time" most frequently as reasons for not having started a dissertation.

Conclusion: Students who have been working successfully on a dissertation rate items regarding the acquisition of scientific research skills significantly more positively, and participation in undergraduate studies seems to be negatively affected by working on a dissertation project. Therefore, basic training in scientific research methodology should become an integrated part of the medical undergraduate curriculum, while special programs should be offered for students with a particular interest in scientific research programs or an academic career.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus