Evaluation of research skills of medical interns by focus group discussion: a qualitative study in Chennai, India

Ganesh Shanmugasundaram Anusuya, Balaji Arumugam, Sree T. Sucharitha, Karthik R. C., Radhakrishnan A., K. R. S. Sivapriya, Ezhilvanan M.


Background: Health research has become an important component of undergraduate medical curriculum. Hence we assessed the research skills of interns who have recently completed the community medicine internship postings.

Methods: It is a qualitative cross sectional study of 32 interns who have completed community medicine internship postings and also have completed a research project during the postings in a private medical college in Chennai. The method of assessment is by focus group discussion. Duration of the study was 10th August to 23rd August 2018. The research skills were graded on a 0 to 9 point ordinal scale. The mean difference in research skills before and after the postings were analysed using paired t test.

Results: 43.8% were males. The mean age was 22 years. 15.6% felt they had research skills even before entering the internship postings. 100% felt they have acquired some kind of research skills after postings. The research skills acquired by the interns were in doing review of literature (50%), sample size calculations (53.1%), methodology (43.8%), questionnaire development (75%), data collection (75%), data entry (53.1%), data analysis under guidance (21.9%), report writing (34.4%), and presentation skills (65.6%). The overall mean increase in research skills before and after the postings was nearly 4.03 (p=0.000). Suggestions given by interns to improve the research activity were giving individual topics (19%), more time (47%) and more guidance (9%).

Conclusions: Our study has shown that a research project done during the community medicine internship postings has helped interns to gain research skills.


Research skills, Medical Interns, Focus group discussion, Qualitative study

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