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Avicenna J Med. 2018 Jan-Mar;8(1):24-33. doi: 10.4103/ajm.AJM_116_17.

Attitudes, barriers, and practices toward research and publication among medical students at the University of Damascus, Syria.

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Damascus, Damascus, Syria.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Evidence-Based Practice Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
Division of Hematologyand Oncology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.
Department of Internal Medicine and Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Damascus University, Damascus, Syria, USA.
Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye an Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.



Research is crucial for health-care delivery. However, medical students may not participate in research during their training, which might negatively affect their understanding of the importance of research and their future ability to conduct research projects. This is more prominent in developing countries. We aim to assess the attitudes of a sample of Syrian medical students toward research and suggest plausible solutions to reduce their self-reported barriers.


A cross-sectional study was conducted using a self-administered, pretested questionnaire.


Three hundred and twenty-three responses were included. Most students demonstrated positive attitudes toward research. However, most of the responses indicated that they did not receive any training in academic writing or research and therefore did not have the opportunity to participate in formal research projects or scholarly writing. Students reported various types of barriers that challenged their progress in the field of research. Students who reported being encouraged by their professors to participate in research and writing/publishing scientific papers or reported receiving training about these activities were more likely to participate in research projects or writing scientific articles.


Students have positive attitudes toward research and publication while they reported poor education, limited participation, and presence of many barriers that impede their participation in such activities.


Developing country; Syria; medical education; medical students; publications; research

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