Immersed in scholarly projects: Upskilling our future medical workforce


  • Bernadette Ward Monash University, Australia
  • Basia Diug Monash University, Australia
  • Megan Wallace Monash University, Australia; Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Australia



medical student, research, curriculum


Introduction: Much has been written about the need for medical students to have research skills. Increasing numbers of medical schools are incorporating compulsory research experiences to increase research literacy. However, little is known about the student perceptions of, and outcomes from, those programs. We aimed to examine medical students' perceptions of a compulsory 6-week scholarly project at a large Australian university. There was a particular focus on comparing students’ perceptions based on their prior research experience.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to survey 418 final-year medical students. Responses were analysed using descriptive and bivariate statistics.

Results: One hundred and eleven students responded to the survey (27% of the cohort). Fifty-one percent had prior research experience. The majority of respondents perceived they had enhanced their confidence (69%) and research skills (74%), and as a result of this unit, 62% reported enhanced willingness to participate in future research projects. Students produced a variety of outputs in addition to their assessment requirements. Students without prior experience were significantly more likely to report they were suitably challenged and their project had enhanced their skills in interpreting and applying evidence.

Conclusion: We found that short (6-week) scholarly projects enhanced final-year medical students’ perceived ability to interpret and apply evidence. Many students also reported an increased willingness to participate in future research activities. As clinician research literacy and engagement are thought to improve healthcare performance and health outcomes, scholarly experiences in the final year of medical school have the potential to enhance graduate enquiry to improve healthcare.


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How to Cite

Ward, B., Diug, B., & Wallace, M. (2024). Immersed in scholarly projects: Upskilling our future medical workforce. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 25(1), 78–87.



Short Report