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Medical research and audit skills training for undergraduates: an international analysis and student-focused needs assessment
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  • Published on:
    Re: [Medical research and audit skills training for undergraduates: An international analysis and student-focused needs assessment]
    • Duranka S Perera, Medical student King's College London
    • Other Contributors:
      • Adeeba T Anwar, Medical Student
      • Mehreen Anwar, Medical Student

    Dear Sir,

    It was a pleasure reading Fitzgerald’s study on provision of research/audit opportunities and skills required to conduct such projects[1]. As medical-students, it was revealing to read statistics on how our contemporaries reported lack of formal research opportunities and training. As part of Europe’s largest medical school[2], one with a strong reputation that no doubt hinges on viable research output, we were not surprised by these results.

    Though we agree with the article’s conclusions, we’d like to offer our thoughts on factors affecting student output and improvements that could be made.

    From our experience, the main ways students are granted research opportunities are through Student Selected Components (SSCs) and intercalated BScs. Timescales for these are 5-6 months, with most having a shorter duration. Usually this is enough for a topic introduction, let alone information accumulation for an acceptable paper. Moreover, iBSc-derived research offers opportunities to access respected research teams and get better publications. We know students published in Nature due to their iBSc modules[3]. However, these modules are invariably oversubscribed, meaning students without sufficient marks are often excluded. Lastly, because of time and location demands on students during clinical years, it is likely most student publications come from research exposure during iBSc. The importance of this publication route needs further investigation....

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.