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Perceptions of a research honours programme embedded in a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree: “The worst and best years of my life”

Emily May Anderson, Karen Johnston, Ronny Gunnarsson, Sarah Larkins


Background: Although clinician-researchers are an essential part of the health workforce, the number of clinical researchers is declining. Student participation in research during medical school has been shown to promote a future interest in research. Therefore, to promote clinical research, it is important to evaluate educational pathways and the impediments to students undertaking research at medical school.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted to identify the challenges, benefits and enablers for students who are undertaking or have graduated from an embedded research honours degree in the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (BMBS) degree. Two researchers performed an ongoing thematic analysis. Data collection continued until data saturation was reached. Codes were reviewed and organised into overarching themes.

Results: Participants’ two main reasons for undertaking honours were an interest in research and to enhance career prospects. Lack of research skills, workload and support were identified as challenges, and peer relationships and available support were enablers.

Conclusions: The embedded honours model provides research training and the opportunity to engage with and contribute to the research arena.


evaluation; undergraduate; medical career choice; medical education research; student support

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