Research knowledge and skills in primary medical training – a crosssectional audit

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Journal Article

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Cheek, C., Hays, R., Allen, P., & Smith, J. (2016). Research knowledge and skills in primary medical training – a crosssectional audit. MedEdPublish.

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© The Authors, 2016





Internationally, medical education has either adopted, or is moving toward, a Masters level qualification at completion. This reflects the higher-level learning outcomes and potentially facilitation of thinking and decision-making required of medical graduates. In Australia, the main difference between bachelor and masters programs appears to be the level of research skills training. This study explores the characteristics of research training in medical schools and alignment with higher education qualification frameworks.


A cross-sectional audit was conducted of 22 medical schools in Australia and New Zealand, seeking information on: degree type, entry requirement, research knowledge and skills taught, teaching format, and barriers to offering students research experiences.


Information about 15 medical programs was obtained, with Australian Qualifications Framework or New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level 7, 8 or 9E outcomes. All included a variety of teaching methods on biomedical ethics, principles of evidence-based practice, and search strategies for medical evidence, critical appraisal of the literature and disease surveillance/epidemiology. Small projects were available in all programs, although voluntary in Level 7/8 programs and mandatory in Level 9E programs.


There appear to be few differences in research training and learning outcomes from Level 7 and Level 9E programs, although Level 9E programs have a more systematic approach and assurance that all graduates can achieve the higher outcomes. Barriers to successful implementation relate to finding curriculum space and sufficient research training capacity for all medical students.



This document has been peer reviewed.