Extracurricular research activities among senior medical students in Kuwait: experiences, attitudes, and barriers
Becher Al-Halabi,1 Yousef Marwan,2 Mohammad Hasan,3 Sulaiman Alkhadhari4
1Department of Surgery, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, Ministry of Health, Kuwait; 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Al-Razi Hospital, Al-Sabah Medical Area, Ministry of Health, Kuwait; 3Department of Radiation Oncology, Kuwait Cancer Control Center, Al-Sabah Medical Area, Ministry of Health, Kuwait; 4Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Health Sciences Center, Kuwait University, Kuwait
Background: Research is the foundation of scientific advancement and improvement in quality of health care, which ensures the good health of the community. The aim of this study is to explore experiences, attitudes, and barriers of medical students in Kuwait University (KU) in regards to extracurricular research.
Methods: A questionnaire about extracurricular research activities (ie, any research activity that is not part of the required undergraduate curriculum, such as publishing a paper, research elective, etc) was distributed to 175 senior medical students (years 6 and 7). Descriptive and chi-square analyses were used to analyze the responses, considering a P-value of <0.05 as the cut-off level for significance. The main outcome was defined as taking part in any of the extracurricular research activities.
Results: Of the 150 participants (response rate = 85.7%), 26 (17.3%), 68 (45.3%), 52 (34.7%), and 17 (11.3%) had published their required medical school research, presented abstracts in conferences, conducted extracurricular research, and completed a research elective/course, respectively; 99 (66.0%) took part in any of these activities. Participants who read medical journals regularly (81; 54%) reported higher participation in extracurricular research activities than those who did not read journals (P=0.003). Improving the availability of mentors for students' extracurricular research was ranked by the participants as the most important factor to improve their participation in extracurricular research (4.05/5.00).
Conclusion: Despite the lack of adequate support, extracurricular research activities among medical students of KU were comparable to students from other countries. Barriers for these activities should be addressed by KU medical educators in order to enhance research activities among the students.
Keywords: research, publication, undergraduate, medical education, medical students
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