Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation as Drivers for Early Engagement in Research by Medical Students
Received 5 December 2020
Accepted for publication 8 February 2021
Published 23 February 2021 Volume 2021:12 Pages 189—194
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Azim Majumder
Yassar Alamri,1,2 Erik Monasterio,3 Lutz Beckert,2 Tim J Wilkinson2,4
1Department of General Medicine, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch, New Zealand; 2Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand; 3Department of Psychological Medicine, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch, New Zealand; 4Medical Education Unit, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
Correspondence: Yassar Alamri
Canterbury District Health Board, 2 Riccarton Avenue, Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand
Background: A student’s motivation is a key factor in their success in undertaking an education endeavour. However, how this relates to involvement in research by medical students is unclear.
Methods: An electronic questionnaire was sent to all medical students at our institution. To ascertain students’ motivation to undertake research, they were asked an open-ended question to describe the single major factor that would encourage them to get involved in research as a medical student. A framework of self-determination theory was used to deductively code the responses as intrinsic motivation (“IM”; e.g., interest/passion) or extrinsic motivation (“EM”; e.g. improving CV). The two groups were then contrasted in relation to their research engagement.
Results: A total of 348 students were included in the survey, of whom 204 were coded as IM responses, and 144 were coded as EM responses. Students who engaged in extra-curricular research activities were more likely to report an underlying EM (48% vs 36%, p = 0.03). They were also older (23.7 ± 3.5 vs 21.9 ± 3.7, p = 0.005), and more likely to have completed a prior research degree (15% vs 3%, p = 0.01).
Conclusion: In this study, EM was a bigger influencer on research involvement by medical students than IM. Future studies should explore promoters of IM, and include longitudinal data in order to assess whether EM students continue to be involved in research long-term.
Keywords: motivation, medical education and training, statistical and research methods
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