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Exploring factors associated with research involvement of undergraduate students at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda

Authors
  • Mugabo, Eric1
  • Velin, Lotta2
  • Nduwayezu, Richard1
  • 1 University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Kigali, Rwanda , Kigali (Rwanda)
  • 2 Lund University, Lund, Sweden , Lund (Sweden)
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMC Medical Education
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Apr 26, 2021
Volume
21
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-021-02662-3
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundEarly involvement of students in research processes is an important step in professional development and can increase the academic output of the university. Previous studies indicate low research involvement amongst undergraduate students, however limited research has been done in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed to describe the level of research involvement amongst undergraduate students at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) at University of Rwanda (UR) and to assess factors associated with research involvement.MethodsThis cross-sectional study covered the three CMHS campuses. A survey was shared in class WhatsApp groups from July to September 2020. Data were analyzed using Stata IC 16.0 with descriptive statistics and Fisher’s exact test. P-values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.ResultsIn total, 324 students participated with the mean age being 23.3 (standard deviation 2.27). Males constituted 65.1% of respondents vs. 33.3% females. The largest portion of respondents were from the School of Medicine and Pharmacy (46.6%), and Medicine was the most frequent department (33.3%). On a Likert scale from 1 to 10, 60.0% of the respondents thought that research was 10/10 important for undergraduate students, with the mean value being 8.8. Rating their interest in taking part in research during undergraduate studies, 48.2% scored it 10/10, with the mean value being 8.57. 80.3% of respondents had attended a research module, course, or workshop; however, only 48.8% had participated in a research project and 72.0% of them had been involved in data collection. Inadequate knowledge about research processes and lack of mentors were the main barriers to research participation in 48.0 and 40.2% of respondents respectively. Establishment of a UR-Undergraduate research support center (77.2%), and involving students in ongoing UR projects (69.4%) were the most frequent suggestions to improve students’ research participation.ConclusionUndergraduate students at the CMHS in the UR have a large research interest, yet their involvement is currently low. Limited knowledge about research processes and shortage of mentors remains potent barriers to participation. Inviting undergraduate students to partake in ongoing projects and establishing a UR undergraduate research support center are recommended to strengthen undergraduate research experience at the UR-CMHS.

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