Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Building research skills to empower evidence based practitioners (#159)

Judy Mullan 1 , Kathryn Weston , Warren Rich 1 , Shelley Crowther 1 , Peter McLennan 1
  1. Graduate School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

The development and practice of authentic inquiry during medical training can influence future practice through an understanding of research findings and their application to patient care, as well as developing the research interests and research capacity of future doctors.

The Initiative/practice
The Graduate School of Medicine (GSM) Research and Critical Analysis (RCA) team at the University of Wollongong have developed from concept an integrative, multifaceted and reflective approach to seamlessly embed the theory and practice of RCA into the medical curriculum. With a goal to produce thinking and not just doing practitioners the team has skilfully woven the theme throughout the entire course in a way that has not only proven to be effective, but now appears effortless. Entirely innovative, internationally recognised and ready for adoption by other schools this approach has proven to develop research savvy graduates who are empowered with the requisite skills to tackle the most challenging questions that will arise in their future professional lives.

Method(s) of evaluative data collection and analysis
Following the completion of their RCA curriculum, three medical students cohorts (N = 221) completed a self-assessment of their research experiences in the following ten areas of research activity: defining a research question/idea; writing a research protocol; finding relevant literature; critically reviewing the literature; using quantitative research methods; using qualitative research methods; analysing and interpreting results; writing and presenting a research report; publishing results; and applying for research funding.

Evidence of effectiveness
Improved research capability among medical students was evidenced by significant increases in median response scores (p < 0.05) in nine of the ten research areas. These results suggest that medical students can be positively influenced by the provision of a research-based integrated medical curriculum. In addition, 25 of the student projects have been published as peer reviewed journal articles and/or presented as national/international conferences providing further evidence about the effectiveness of the program.

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

Themes addressed by abstract: Learning for life and work in a complex world” and Navigating uncertainty and complexity

This abstract provides evidence about an initiative developed by the University of Wollongong (UOW) Graduate School of Medicine (GSM) Research and Critical Analysis team to develop learner resilience in a world of complexity revolving around the ever changing nature of best-practice health care and health care delivery. The team has embedded an integrative, multifaceted and reflective approach to teaching medical students about the theory and practice of research and critical analysis which will provide them with lifelong skills to access filter and critically engage with new knowledge regarding best evidence based practice. Evidence provided in the abstract about the effectiveness of the program suggests that UOW graduates will be empowered with the necessary research skills to engage with a diverse range of communities and future research opportunities, as well as giving them the confidence and the skills set to undertake future research to help deliver better patient care.