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Medical students' perceptions of medical education research and their roles as participants


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Acad Med. 2005 Aug;80(8):780-5.


Joseph P Forester, David L McWhorter


Purpose: To better understand whether medical students perceive medical education research as important to their medical training and whether published opinions about why medical students participate in research are accurate.

Method: In 2003-04, 896 first- through fourth-year medical students at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine were asked to complete an online eight-item questionnaire by responding Yes or No to each question. Responses were tallied by year of medical training and converted into numbers and percentages. Chi-square analysis was used to compare response rates among first- through fourth-year students and responses between preclinical and clinical students.

Results: A total of 524 students (58.5%) completed the questionnaire. A total of 488 (93%) medical students believed medical education research should be conducted to improve their medical training, 477 (91%) did not feel coerced to participate in studies because of faculty members' positions of authority, and 398 (76%) did not believe they would receive better grades, recommendations, and/or other favors. Four hundred sixty-eight (89%) students were not concerned with their confidentiality as study participants, while 326 (62%) wanted special protections. Response rates by year of medical school were not significantly different (p > .05). Responses of preclinical and clinical students for six of the eight questions were significantly different (p < .05).

Conclusions: Medical school decisionmakers should recognize that students value medical education research. Published opinions about why medical students participate in studies are incongruent with medical students' views. Full review of medical education studies by Institutional Review Boards may be unnecessary and inappropriate.

Publication Date: 

2005 Aug



Forester, PJ., Mcwhorter, LD. (2005) 'Medical students' perceptions of medical education research and their roles as participants ', Acad Med. 2005 Aug;80(8):780-5.

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