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      Contemporary global perspectives of medical students on research during undergraduate medical education: a systematic literature review


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          Background: The need for increased expertise in evidence-based medicine and concerns about the decreasing numbers of physician-scientists have underscored the need for promoting and encouraging research in medical education. The critical shortage of physician-scientists has assumed a dimension demanding a coordinated global response. This systematic review examined the perceptions of medical students regarding research during undergraduate medical school from a global perspective.

          Methods: Articles for this review were searched using PubMed, SCOPUS and Cochrane. Studies published within the last 10 years of the start date of the study that met specified criteria were included. Identified articles were initially screened by title as well as keywords and their abstracts were further screened to determine relevance. Full-text of screened articles were read for validation prior to inclusion.

          Results: A total of 26 articles from the literature met the set criteria for final inclusion. Contents of the abstracts and corresponding full-text articles were analyzed for themes on the research perspectives of medical students. The themes derived comprised: research interest, physician-scientist decline and shortage, responses to physician-scientist shortage, curriculum issues, skills (motivation and self-efficacy), research needs, socioeconomic and cultural issues, and barriers.

          Conclusion: Despite the wide variations in medical education systems worldwide, the perspectives of medical students on research in undergraduate medical education shared many common themes. Globally, medical students underscored the necessity and importance of research in medical education as reflected by many students reporting positive attitudes and interest in research endeavors. Moreover, a worldwide consensus emerged regarding the decline in the numbers of physician-scientists and the necessity for a reversal of that trend. Various barriers to research engagement and participation were highlighted.

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          Most cited references54

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          Medicine residents' understanding of the biostatistics and results in the medical literature.

          Physicians depend on the medical literature to keep current with clinical information. Little is known about residents' ability to understand statistical methods or how to appropriately interpret research outcomes. To evaluate residents' understanding of biostatistics and interpretation of research results. Multiprogram cross-sectional survey of internal medicine residents. Percentage of questions correct on a biostatistics/study design multiple-choice knowledge test. The survey was completed by 277 of 367 residents (75.5%) in 11 residency programs. The overall mean percentage correct on statistical knowledge and interpretation of results was 41.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 39.7%-43.3%) vs 71.5% (95% CI, 57.5%-85.5%) for fellows and general medicine faculty with research training (P < .001). Higher scores in residents were associated with additional advanced degrees (50.0% [95% CI, 44.5%-55.5%] vs 40.1% [95% CI, 38.3%-42.0%]; P < .001); prior biostatistics training (45.2% [95% CI, 42.7%-47.8%] vs 37.9% [95% CI, 35.4%-40.3%]; P = .001); enrollment in a university-based training program (43.0% [95% CI, 41.0%-45.1%] vs 36.3% [95% CI, 32.6%-40.0%]; P = .002); and male sex (44.0% [95% CI, 41.4%-46.7%] vs 38.8% [95% CI, 36.4%-41.1%]; P = .004). On individual knowledge questions, 81.6% correctly interpreted a relative risk. Residents were less likely to know how to interpret an adjusted odds ratio from a multivariate regression analysis (37.4%) or the results of a Kaplan-Meier analysis (10.5%). Seventy-five percent indicated they did not understand all of the statistics they encountered in journal articles, but 95% felt it was important to understand these concepts to be an intelligent reader of the literature. Most residents in this study lacked the knowledge in biostatistics needed to interpret many of the results in published clinical research. Residency programs should include more effective biostatistics training in their curricula to successfully prepare residents for this important lifelong learning skill.
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            Medical Student Research: An Integrated Mixed-Methods Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

            Importance Despite the rapidly declining number of physician-investigators, there is no consistent structure within medical education so far for involving medical students in research. Objective To conduct an integrated mixed-methods systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies about medical students' participation in research, and to evaluate the evidence in order to guide policy decision-making regarding this issue. Evidence Review We followed the PRISMA statement guidelines during the preparation of this review and meta-analysis. We searched various databases as well as the bibliographies of the included studies between March 2012 and September 2013. We identified all relevant quantitative and qualitative studies assessing the effect of medical student participation in research, without restrictions regarding study design or publication date. Prespecified outcome-specific quality criteria were used to judge the admission of each quantitative outcome into the meta-analysis. Initial screening of titles and abstracts resulted in the retrieval of 256 articles for full-text assessment. Eventually, 79 articles were included in our study, including eight qualitative studies. An integrated approach was used to combine quantitative and qualitative studies into a single synthesis. Once all included studies were identified, a data-driven thematic analysis was performed. Findings and Conclusions Medical student participation in research is associated with improved short- and long- term scientific productivity, more informed career choices and improved knowledge about-, interest in- and attitudes towards research. Financial worries, gender, having a higher degree (MSc or PhD) before matriculation and perceived competitiveness of the residency of choice are among the factors that affect the engagement of medical students in research and/or their scientific productivity. Intercalated BSc degrees, mandatory graduation theses and curricular research components may help in standardizing research education during medical school.
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              The clinical investigator as an endangered species.


                Author and article information

                Med Educ Online
                Med Educ Online
                Medical Education Online
                Taylor & Francis
                29 October 2018
                : 23
                : 1
                : 1537430
                [a ] School of Osteopathic Medicine, Campbell University , Lillington, NC, USA
                [b ] Graduate Medical Education Department, Cape Fear Valley Health System , Fayetteville, NC, USA
                Author notes
                CONTACT G. D. Brannan glbrannan@ 123456yahoo.com School of Osteopathic Medicine, Campbell University , Levine Hall 161, 4350 US Hwy 421 South, Lillington, NC27546, USA
                Author information
                © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 28 April 2018
                : 23 July 2018
                : 12 October 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, References: 59, Pages: 14
                Funded by: study
                The authors did not receive any funding related to this study.
                Review Article

                evidence-based medicine,physician-scientist,research,undergraduate medical education,global perspectives


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