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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 149-151

Justifying the need of developing research skills among medical students to strengthen the practice of evidence-based medicine


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Chengalpet District, Tamilnadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamilnadu, India

Date of Submission18-Apr-2021
Date of Acceptance22-May-2021
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.jss_41_21

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  Abstract 


Encouragement of research has been recognized as one of the most important reasons for the advancement in the field of medicine and the same stands true for the adoption of curricular innovations in the delivery of medical education. However, there have been significant concerns about the fact that many of the medical doctors are not participating in clinical research or basic research. An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine and a total of eight articles were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives. These are ominous signs for the field of medical education and research in medicine and call for an urgent need to expose medical students to the basic skills of performing research at an early stage in their training period. The idea is that students should be informed about the set of research skills which they should develop during their graduation period and the ways in which these research skills will help them in their academic career and professional practice. In conclusion, a medical student has to master multiple research skills during their undergraduation period to ensure effective patient care as well as enhance their contribution in the field of medical research. However, considering the already packed curriculum, it is a must that the research should be integrated within the curriculum in a longitudinal manner throughout the duration of medical training.

Keywords: Evidence-based medicine, medical students, research


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Justifying the need of developing research skills among medical students to strengthen the practice of evidence-based medicine. J Sci Soc 2021;48:149-51

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Justifying the need of developing research skills among medical students to strengthen the practice of evidence-based medicine. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 18];48:149-51. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2021/48/3/149/333846




  Introduction Top


Encouragement of research has been recognized as one of the most important reasons for the advancement in the field of medicine and the same stands true for the adoption of curricular innovations in the delivery of medical education.[1] However, there have been significant concerns about the fact that many of the medical doctors are not participating in clinical research or basic research. In fact, regardless of the expansion in basic scientific research, the number of medical doctors participating in research-related activities continue to decline.[1]


  Methods Top


An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine. Relevant research articles focusing on research skills among medical students published in the period 2010-2020 were included in the review. A total of ten studies similar to the current study objectives were identified initially, of which two were excluded due to the unavailability of the complete version of the articles. Overall, eight articles were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. Keywords used in the search include research skills, medical students, and undergraduate. The collected information is presented under the following sub-headings, namely Limited focus on research, Research skills and practicing evidence-based medicine, Lessons from the field, and Implications for practice.


  Limited Focus on Research Top


The limited focus on research could be either due to the lack of exposure of medical students to research skills or they are finding it difficult to maintain a balance between conducting research and practicing clinical medicine.[1],[2] Moreover, we cannot also ignore that most of the passed out undergraduate medical students have opted for the postgraduation courses in their selected specialty, while the knowledge and skills required to perform research has been negatively impacted.[2],[3]

These are ominous signs for the field of medical education and research in medicine and call for an urgent need to expose the medical students to basic skills of performing research at an early stage in their training period. The idea is that students should be informed about the set of research skills which they should develop during their graduation period and the ways in which these research skills will help them in their academic career and professional practice.[1],[2],[3]


  Research Skills and Practicing Evidence-Based Medicine Top


In general, good medical doctors should acquire research skills and thus there is an immense need to train the medical students with regard to that as an integral part of the curriculum itself.[4] The first and foremost skill to perform research is to have inquisitiveness and a desire to stay abreast with the recent developments in the field of medicine. A student who has a curiosity to know things will not only be able to prosper in a research career, but will also be able to deliver effective patient care.[3] It is quite obvious that being inquisitive alone won't be of much use, unless the medical doctor has a strong base of knowledge about their specialty and the research area.[4],[5]

Medical students should also develop critical appraisal skills, which essentially include analysis, critical thinking, and development of new information. These sets of research skills will help the medical students to understand the results of the patient better and give an in-depth understanding about the results of the study findings.[3],[4] The students should also learn the skill to practice evidence-based medicine, which will depend on their ability to acknowledge the role of clinical research and aid them to decide the correct line of management.[1],[2]

As the practice of medicine as well as research is governed by ethics, it is quite essential that the medical students learn about ethics in research and always respect the fundamental principles of ethics.[2],[3],[4] Moreover, medical students also need to develop the research skill of ability to work in a team and effectively communicate with the patients, colleagues, and research participants.[3],[4],[5] A medical student should develop all these research skills during the course of their training and it is the responsibility of the faculty members to give them adequate number of learning experiences to strengthen their grip on research.[3],[5],[6]


  Lessons from the Field Top


At Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, a constituent unit of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, a dedicated unit in the name of Institute Research Council has been established. The ultimate aim of the Institute Research Council is to foster, encourage, and support research activities among all the stakeholders (viz., undergraduate medical students, postgraduate medical students, M.Phil scholars, PhD scholars, and faculty members). With regard to developing research skills among medical undergraduate students, a series of initiatives have been taken, namely organizing a 1-day workshop for the students to expose them to research methodology (the workshop deals with right from the selection of topic, review of literature, development of the data collection tool, ethics in research, writing a research protocol, importance of plagiarism, publishing the study, etc.). In addition, during the difficult times of coronavirus disease-19, the Council organized a series of webinar sessions for the 1st professional year students with an aim to inculcate research skills among students. Further, the undergraduate students are being guided in each and every step of their research proposals by the medical teachers and all efforts are being taken to improve their familiarity with different aspects of research.

In the University of Edinburgh, an integrated model for developing research skills in the undergraduate medical curriculum was implemented. In fact, as a part of the evaluation of the program, feedback from target students was obtained, and it was reported that the integrated model played a significant role in the attainment of the research competencies, which will help them to effectively practice evidence-based medicine in their clinical practice.[7] In a medical college in Karnataka, mentored student projects were initiated for the undergraduate medical students of 2nd professional year and the students were extremely benefitted in terms of acquiring research skills.[8]


  Implications for Practice Top


Training of medical students with regard to research skills is an essential integral component of the undergraduation period. This calls for the need to explore different opportunities for the benefit of students, without compromising the regular teaching–learning activities. As we cannot further stretch the period of undergraduate training, it becomes important to look for avenues within the available timeframe for accomplishing our aim. The exposure of students to research skills can start right from the 1st professional year during the period of foundation course, especially about the basics of research, types of research, and the importance of research in successful clinical practice.

The period of vacation can be utilized and the students can be motivated to carry out brief research projects. In addition, there is always an option to start an elective course on research methodology and help students to understand the intricacies in research. The Department of Community Medicine of Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute has taken an initiative to expose all the medical interns to be a part of brief research projects and drafting of the research findings in the form of a scientific presentation during their posting with the department. Moreover, the students can be encouraged or guided to apply for funded research projects. In fact, the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, has taken the lead by rewarding student projects with financial assistance to both the student and the guiding teacher.


  Conclusion Top


A medical student has to master multiple research skills during their undergraduation period to ensure effective patient care as well as enhance their contribution in the field of medical research. However, considering the already-packed curriculum, it is a must that the research should be integrated within the curriculum in a longitudinal manner throughout the duration of medical training.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Ashcroft J, Yousefpour C. Medical student research: It is necessary and beneficial! Postgrad Med J 2018;94:539.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Amgad M, Man Kin Tsui M, Liptrott SJ, Shash E. Medical student research: An integrated mixed-methods systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One 2015;10:e0127470.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Laidlaw A, Aiton J, Struthers J, Guild S. Developing research skills in medical students: AMEE Guide No. 69. Med Teach 2012;34:e754-71.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Murdoch-Eaton D, Drewery S, Elton S, Emmerson C, Marshall M, Smith JA, et al. What do medical students understand by research and research skills? Identifying research opportunities within undergraduate projects. Med Teach 2010;32:e152-60.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Uebel K, Pervaz Iqbal M, Adelstein BA. A pragmatic approach to promoting research skills in all medical students. Med Educ 2020;54:445-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Borgon RA, Verity N, Teter K. PILOTing undergraduate students to hands-on teaching and research skills. J Microbiol Biol Educ 2013;14:35-46.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Riley SC, Morton J, Ray DC, Swann DG, Davidson DJ. An integrated model for developing research skills in an undergraduate medical curriculum: Appraisal of an approach using student selected components. Perspect Med Educ 2013;2:230-47.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Devi V, Abraham RR, Adiga A, Ramnarayan K, Kamath A. Fostering research skills in undergraduate medical students through mentored students projects: Example from an Indian medical school. Kathmandu Univ Med J (KUMJ) 2010;8:294-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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Abstract
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