Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Medical Students Towards Research in Two Public Universities In Egypt
Objective: To assess current attitudes and practices of medical students towards research activities and to identify barriers that affect their practices.
Methods: Survey of proportionately stratified and randomly selected 735 medical students at the Universities of Ain Shams (ASU) and the Suez Canal (SCU) in Egypt. Data were collected via semi-structured self-administered questionnaire in an English format that was previously used in Queen’s University, a public research university in Kingston, Ontario, Canada., to assess medical students’ awareness, attitudes and experience regarding research. Questions were primarily closed ended and consisted of Likert scales
Results Six hundred seventy five of the 735 of the surveyed students (91.8%) agreed to participate. Medical study in Egypt is divided into initial 3 years of academic study (preclinical years) followed by 3 years of clinical study. The students' ages were between 16 and 25 years old. Almost 55% of the students were in the academic years of medical study, while the remaining were in their clinical study years. Although more than 73 % of the students agreed that research will be an aspect of their future career , only 60.1% of them had ever participated in research projects. The following barriers to participate in different research activities were reported: 1) Lack of time (71.3 % in ASU, 63.5% in SCU); 2) Finding a supervisor (41.1% in ASU, said not difficult, 46.4% in SCU); 3)Funding (36.7% in ASU, said not difficult, 35.4% in SCU) ;4) Inadequate instructions from supervisor (63.3% in ASU, 49.6% in SCU) & inadequate training in literature review (77.8 in ASU, 65% in SCU).
Conclusion: There is a gap between students’ attitudes and willingness to participate in research and their actual practices. Students’ perceived barriers need to be addressed in order to improve amd implement more effecient research training programmes for the undergraduates.. There is a need for more formal research training and time during the academic years in addition to the promotion of knowledge of research principles through active participation of students in research projects in both universities. There is also a need for further studies to be conducted in other Egyptian universities and Middle Eastern medical schools, in order to develop effective regional research training programs.
Keywords— Research Training, Medical student, Ain Shams University, Suez Canal University.