Contemporary global perspectives of medical students on research during undergraduate medical education: a systematic literature review

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Medical education online

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BACKGROUND: The need for increased expertise in evidence-based medicine and concerns about the decreasing numbers of physician-scientists have underscored the need for promoting and encouraging research in medical education. The critical shortage of physician-scientists has assumed a dimension demanding a coordinated global response. This systematic review examined the perceptions of medical students regarding research during undergraduate medical school from a global perspective. METHODS: Articles for this review were searched using PubMed, SCOPUS and Cochrane. Studies published within the last 10 years of the start date of the study that met specified criteria were included. Identified articles were initially screened by title as well as keywords and their abstracts were further screened to determine relevance. Full-text of screened articles were read for validation prior to inclusion. RESULTS: A total of 26 articles from the literature met the set criteria for final inclusion. Contents of the abstracts and corresponding full-text articles were analyzed for themes on the research perspectives of medical students. The themes derived comprised: research interest, physician-scientist decline and shortage, responses to physician-scientist shortage, curriculum issues, skills (motivation and self-efficacy), research needs, socioeconomic and cultural issues, and barriers. CONCLUSION: Despite the wide variations in medical education systems worldwide, the perspectives of medical students on research in undergraduate medical education shared many common themes. Globally, medical students underscored the necessity and importance of research in medical education as reflected by many students reporting positive attitudes and interest in research endeavors. Moreover, a worldwide consensus emerged regarding the decline in the numbers of physician-scientists and the necessity for a reversal of that trend. Various barriers to research engagement and participation were highlighted.



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