KUMJ | VOL. 8 | NO. 3 | ISSUE 31 | JULY-SEPT, 2010

Fostering research skills in undergraduate medical students through Mentored Student Projects: Example from an Indian medical school
Devi V, Abraham RR, Adiga A, Ramnarayan K, Kamath A


Abstract:
Background: Healthcare decision-making is largely reliant on evidenceĖbased medicine; building
skills in scientific reasoning and thinking among medical students becomes an important part of medical education. Medical students in India have no formal path to becoming physicians, scientists or academicians.
Objectives: This study examines studentsí perceptions regarding research skills improvement after
participating in the Mentored Student Project programme at Melaka Manipal Medical College, Manipal Campus, India. Additionally, this paper describes the initiatives taken for the continual improvement of the Mentored Student Project programme based on faculty and student perspectives.
Methods: At Melaka Manipal Medical College, Mentored Student Project was implemented in the curriculum during second year of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme with the intention of developing research skills essential to the career development of medical students. The study design was cross-sectional. To inculcate the spirit of team work students were grouped (n=3 to 5) and each group was asked to select a research project. The studentsí research projects were guided by their mentors. A questionnaire (Likertís five point scale) on studentsí perceptions regarding improvement in research skills after undertaking projects and guidance received from the mentor was administered to medical students after they had completed their Mentored Student Project . The responses of students were summarised using percentages. The median grade with inter-quartile range was reported for each item in the questionnaire. The median grade for all the items related to perception regarding improvement in research skills was 4 which reflected that the majority of the students felt that Mentored Student Project had improved their research skills. The problems encountered by the students during Mentored Student Project were related to time management for the Mentored Student Project and mentors.
Results: This study shows that students acknowledged that their research skills were improved
after participating in the Mentored Student Project programme.
Conclusions: The Mentored Student Project programme was successful in fostering positive attitudes
among medical students towards scientific research. The present study also provides scope for further improvement of the Mentored Student Project programme based on studentsí and faculty perspectives.

Keyword : curriculum, , medical students, mentored student projects, methodology, research skills