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J Dent Educ. 2014 Mar;78(3):334-48.

U.S. dental students' attitudes toward research and science: impact of research experience.

Author information

1
University of Maryland School of Dentistry, 650 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21201; swahl001@umaryland.edu.

Abstract

This study aimed to provide a first nationwide assessment of dental students' attitudes toward the importance of research and its integration into the dental curriculum. For this purpose, the American Association for Dental Research National Student Research Group developed an online survey that was distributed to 89 percent of U.S. dental students in May 2012. The survey consisted of twenty-one Likert-type items divided into three groups: importance of research in dentistry, barriers to research involvement, and exposure to research in the dental curriculum. There were 733 responses (3.9 percent response rate), including students in all stages of education representing fifty-eight out of sixty-one dental schools. Age and race/ethnic distributions corresponded with U.S. dental school enrollees. Results showed that 63 percent of respondents had conducted research before matriculation, and of the 34 percent that participated in research during dental school, only 27 percent were newcomers. Respondents strongly agreed that scientific research enabled their progress in dentistry. Inadequate time in the curriculum was an obstacle they perceived to research involvement during dental school. Respondents agreed that dental curricula emphasize evidence-based practices but may be inadequately teaching biostatistics and research methodologies. Students with research experience tended to have stronger positive opinions about the importance of research in dental education. Efforts to foster research in schools have been well received by students, but several issues remain for enriching dental education through greater involvement of students in research.

KEYWORDS:

academic careers; dental education; dental research; dental students

PMID:
24609336
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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