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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-11

Dental students awareness towards research at King Khalid University, College of Dentistry, Saudi Arabia


Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication13-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
DPD Zuhair Motlak Alkahtani
Assistant Professor in Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1658-743X.291960

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  Abstract 


Objectives: To evaluate the attitude toward and knowledge of dental research among dental students in a teaching institute in Saudi Arabia. Methods: This study was conducted at the King Khalid University College of Dentistry, Saudi Arabia, from July 2018 to January 2019. A total of 137 final year dental students and interns were provided with an online survey questionnaire designed in English and Arabic. Results: Ninety (males, 64; females, 26) students and interns responded to the questionnaire. More than half of the participants showed a positive attitude towards the importance of research and its incorporation in the dental curriculum. However, the majority of the students and interns demonstrated limited knowledge about research activities. Conclusion: The students and interns in this cohort demonstrated moderate attitudes towards and limited knowledge of research. The provision of intensive training and adequate support in research activities at the undergraduate level may help improve the perception of dental students towards research.

Keywords: Research, Dental students, Undergraduate students, Awareness, Attitudes


How to cite this article:
Alkahtani ZM. Dental students awareness towards research at King Khalid University, College of Dentistry, Saudi Arabia. King Khalid Univ J Health Scii 2020;5:7-11

How to cite this URL:
Alkahtani ZM. Dental students awareness towards research at King Khalid University, College of Dentistry, Saudi Arabia. King Khalid Univ J Health Scii [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 25];5:7-11. Available from: https://www.kkujhs.org/text.asp?2020/5/1/7/291960




  Introduction Top


The implementation of research in the fields of medicine and dentistry has gained popularity and is currently being promoted, especially among undergraduate students. The field of dentistry has expanded considerably over the past decade with the introduction of numerous new challenges, products, and methods. In addition to adequate basic knowledge and clinical expertise, the dentists will need to keep themselves updated with current changes and trends in the dental field and implement them appropriately.[1],[2],[3]

Research is an integral part of evidence-based treatment and vital for the training of undergraduate students.[1] The introduction of a research component during undergraduate studies can help the students to understand the principles of scientific research and the statistical methods involved; besides, it can enhance their critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities, and provide skills that can be effectively used during clinical practice.[3],[4]

The knowledge and attitudes of medical students toward scientific research have been assessed in several countries throughout the world,[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] However, to the best of our knowledge, there is a lack of data regarding the attitudes and perceptions of dental students towards research. This study aimed to assess the awareness of dental research among final year dental students and interns at our teaching institute in Saudi Arabia.


  Materials and Methods Top


This study was conducted from July 2018 to January 2019, and approved by the Ethical Clearance Committee (REC# IRB/KKUCOD/ETH/2019-20/010) on 25/12/2019 at King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia. Informed consent was obtained from all participants.

A self-reported online survey questionnaire regarding orientation and awareness of dental students towards dental research was designed in English, and the link was forwarded to 137 final year dental students and interns at the School of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia. A total of 10 questions about research interests, knowledge about study design and manuscript writing, and views about the incorporation and implementation of research were provided to the students. Those who did not complete the questionnaire or refused to participate in this study were excluded.

Statistical analysis

Data was collected using an MS Excel sheet and analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA).


  Results Top


Of the 137 students and interns provided with the online survey link, 90 (males, 64; females, 26) responded to the questionnaire (response rate, 65.7%).

As shown in [Table 1], the majority of the students preferred to link their research work to their favorite specialty or to solve a specific subject-related problem. The reasons for conducting research varied among the participants, with more than a third (34.4%) of them citing completion of requirements for higher training as the main reason, while 20% of the students wanted to perform research-based studies due to personal interest. Interestingly, nearly half (44.4%) of the students had no idea as to how to design a study, and an equal proportion of them admitted to having only some idea about it. The majority of the students did not know how to write a manuscript and were unaware of the difficulties that may be encountered while conducting a research study. Similarly, only 17.8% of the students had some knowledge about Research ethics and plagiarism [Table 1].
Table 1: Responses to questions assessing the awareness and attitudes of dental students towards dental research at the university

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A third (30%) of the participants preferred to conduct research studies in the field of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry. Positive responses for the inclusion of a research component during the final year or internship was obtained from a greater proportion (>70%) of the participants.


  Discussion Top


A trend towards a knowledge-based economy with additional importance to the research component has been noted in Saudi Arabia [11]. In the present study, more than half of the final year students and interns showed a positive attitude towards research; however, the majority of the participants reported a lack of experience and knowledge about the implementation of research.

Similar to previous reports, the participants in the current study demonstrated awareness of the importance of research in dentistry.[6],[10] The positive attitude towards research among the participants in the current study may be attributed to the fact that they belonged to the final year and internship phase of the undergraduate course. Studies have shown that clinical students demonstrate an increased level of maturity and awareness when compared to preclinical students.[5],[6] Students who have been at the institution for a more extended period tend to be more aware of the resources available for their research work. Moreover, they believe that the addition of a research component would enhance their credibility when applying for higher studies. In the current study, more than a third of the participants demonstrated interest in conducting research work in order to complete the requirements for higher training.

The significant proportion of the participants in this study demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding research. This result is not in line with previous reports where knowledge of research was significantly correlated with the number of years spent at the college.[6],[12] This may be attributed to the fact that, in several universities, the final year students are required to complete a research project with the help of a mentor. It is a mandatory requirement for interns in our university to complete a research project under the supervision of a mentor and present their project in the form of a poster. However, the final year students can take up a project voluntarily. Studies have shown that developments in the field of research via the implementation of research work at the undergraduate level prove beneficial for both the individual as well as for health research, in general [9],[13]. Unlike the results of previous studies[9],[14] despite the lack of knowledge, more than half of the participants in the present study demonstrated a positive attitude towards research. Most of the participants believed that the incorporation of research into the curriculum would enhance their personal development and career and thought that research should be a part of their studies during the final year or internship period.

Interestingly, the vast majority of the participants in the current study indicated their interest in becoming a clinician, an academician as well as a researcher in the future. This result is contrary to the findings reported by Kumar et al. (2009), where the majority of the medical students indicated that a career in research was not rewarding both financially and in terms of social status.[15]

There are some limitations to this study. Firstly, the findings of this study are based on self-reports by dental students from one dental school, and are subject to participant overestimation and recall bias. Secondly, a causal relationship cannot be determined due to the cross-sectional nature of this study. Further studies evaluating the factors that influence research activity, such as funding, infrastructure, costs, and future opportunities, are warranted.


  Conclusion Top


The majority of the students demonstrated a positive attitude towards and moderate awareness of research. However, a lack of knowledge about the research terms and procedures indicates the need for intensive training and adequate support for the implementation of research activities at the undergraduate level.

Conflict of Interest: None



 
  References Top

1.
Iqbal A, Glenny A-M. General dental practitioners’ knowledge of and attitudes towards evidence-based practice. Br Dent J. 2002; 193(10):587-91.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Winning T, Needleman I, Rohlin M, Carrassi A, Chadwick B, Eaton K, et al. Evidence-based care, and the curriculum. Eur J Dent Educ. 2008; 12(Suppl 1): 48-63.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Bertolami CN, Med DS. The Role and Importance of Research and Scholarship in Dental Education and Practice. 2002, 66 (8) 918-924.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Editors TPlM. Improving health by investing in medical education. PLoS Med. 2005; 2(12):e424. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16363918  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Al-Hilali SM, Al-Kahtani E, Zaman B, Khandekar R, Al-Shahri A, Edward DP. Attitudes of saudi Arabian undergraduate medical students towards health research. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2016; 16(1):e68-73.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Khan S, Farooqi F, Moheet I, Rejaie A. Attitude and experiences of undergraduate dental students and interns towards research. Saudi J Med Med Sci. 2016; 4(2):108.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Khan H, Khawaja MRH, Waheed A, Rauf MA, Fatmi Z. Knowledge and attitudes about health research amongst a group of Pakistani medical students. BMC Med Educ [Internet]. 2006 Nov 2 [cited 2019 Jan 9];6:54. Available from:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17081286  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Vairamani CR, Akoijam BS. Knowledge, attitude and perceived barriers towards conducting research among students in a medical college, India. Int J Community Med Public Heal [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Jan 6];5(2):806. Available from: http://www.ijcmph.com  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
AlGhamdi KM, Moussa NA, AlEssa DS, AlOthimeen N, Al-Saud AS. Perceptions, attitudes and practices toward research among senior medical students. Saudi Pharm J. 2014; 22(2): 113-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Grossman ES, Naidoo S. Final-year South African dental student attitudes toward a research component in the curriculum. J Dent Educ. 2009; 73(11):1306- 12.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Meo SA, Hassan A, Usmani AM. Research progress and prospects of Saudi Arabia in global medical sciences. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013; 17(24):3265-71.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Kyaw Soe HH, Than NN, Lwin H, Nu Htay MNN, Phyu KL, Abas AL. Knowledge, attitudes, and barriers toward research: The perspectives of undergraduate medical and dental students. J Educ Heal Promot. 2018;7: 23.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Sadana R, D’Souza C, Hyder AA, Chowdhury AMR. Importance of health research in South Asia. BMJ. 2004; 328(7443):826-30.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Siemens DR, Punnen S, Wong J, Kanji N. A survey on the attitudes towards research in medical school. BMC Med Educ. 2010; 10(1):4.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Harsha Kumar H, Jayaram S, Kumar G, Vinita J, Rohit S, Satish M, et al. Perception, practices towards research and predictors of research career among UG medical students from coastal South India: A cross-sectional study. Indian J Community Med. 2009; 34(4):306.  Back to cited text no. 15
    



 
 
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