Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Developing research skills for a professional life- a case study from the Monash MBBS program (#158)

Nirma A Samarawickrema 1 , Robyn Benson 1 , Basia Diug 1 , Janet O Macaulay 1
  1. Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

Medical professionals must be able to critically evaluate evidence, interpret and apply contemporary research findings in all aspects of their work. Fostering an evidence-based approach to their critical thinking and decision-making is fundamental in the education of medical graduates for life and work in a complex world. In alignment with this requirement, second year MBBS students at Monash University are expected upon completion of the academic year to demonstrate basic research skills: researching the literature, critically evaluating information, weighing up and interpreting evidence, collaborating and communicating findings to peers. Our study explores these students’ attitudes towards and engagement with research and its impact on their learning.

A total of 206 second year MBBS students from three campuses including: Clayton (metropolitan), Gippsland (rural) and Sunway (overseas) completed a questionnaire which sought information on their understanding, experiences and impact of research exposure on their learning. The data was analysed using SPSS.

Across all cohorts majority of students had a good understanding of what research was despite having limited exposure to it. Our data revealed that students only moderately engaged with research though the overseas and rural students engaged more than the metropolitan students. The data also suggested that our students lacked clarity on the relevance of research in their study program and consequently made little or minimum connection with the prospective professional lives they were training for. A key outcome of this study is the need for developing learning designs and curricula that are more explicitly aligned with research requirements for life and work in a professional world. 

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

This abstract relates to an investigation of the development of skills and strategies among second year medical undergraduates that will empower them to practice as contemporary health professionals in a changing and complex world.