The main nationally common elements of the Medical Student Research Programme are shown in Table . However, the organisation of the scheme varies somewhat between the four medical schools [3
], including different admission times, different courses and some variation in the allocation of funding. Table shows more details of the educational and scientific part of the program, and also some of the differences between the universities regarding staff and funding. The Medical Student Research Programmes are organised under the Vice Dean for research at the individual schools, and managed by one faculty member (professor or postdoctoral level) and one administrative leader whose work is closely associated with the faculty, the medical school, the PhD programme administration and the research environments. The management is responsible for the academic aspects of the study, and actively recruit and follow up students and supervisors.
Common elements of the Medical Student Research Programmes at the Norwegian medical schools
Details of the educational and scientific part of the program, scientific and economic support, by the four universities (2007)
The working group established by the four deans in order to carry out a national evaluation consisted of 10 members, including representatives of the administrative and technical management of the medical schools as well as representatives of students and supervisors from the Research Programme. The mandate of the working group was to suggest content, technical solutions and method for interpreting the data in connection with the evaluation of the Programme. It was decided to create a web-based registration form for former and current students, supervisors and administrators on the Research Programmes (same structure, but edited specifically for each of the groups). The programme Quest-back was used.
The task of the questionnaire was to reveal the participants' satisfaction with specific and organisational aspects of the Research Programmes, and to what extent they had reached the goal of increased recruitment of students to medical research. The questionnaire for current and former students consisted of the following parts:
- demographic variables and identification of university-time of enrolment
- classification of project
- volume and frequency of supervision and satisfaction with the supervisor
- personal aims for the research
- scientific output in form of publications and manuscripts, presentations of research results at national/international conferences, or field studies abroad-satisfaction with services from the local Research Programme
- ambitions of and recruitment to subsequent PhD projects-interference with the ordinary curriculum
- global satisfaction with the programme
The questionnaire for supervisors consisted of the following parts:
- demographic variables, identification of professional level and name of university
- classification of main research interest (basic, laboratory, clinical, public health/epidemiology)
- information about the research group (size, kind of persons, scientific level, number of PhD students)
- volume and frequency of supervision-personal aims for the student
- evaluation of the student's level of progress, interest and ambitions for future research-satisfaction with services from the local Research Programme
- global satisfaction with the programme
The questionnaire for administrative personnel was used to collect information about the curricula and study programs, enrolment and dropouts, and other administrative information.
The questionnaires consisted mainly of quantitative and categorical answering options, but also some open questions with the opportunity to comment and give more extensive replies. Questionnaires were only sent to main supervisors. Some supervise more than one student on the Research Programme, and in such cases one form should be completed for each student. Supervisors count as one for each Research Programme student, and not as a number of different people. Before the questionnaire was sent out, a pilot registration was carried out among three Research Programme students and three supervisors at the University of Tromsø. The questionnaires were sent out on 15 January 2007 and the deadline was 1 February 2007. The survey was not anonymous, but all replies were sent to the University of Tromsø where the data files were made non-anonymous before statistical analyses and distribution to the individual universities.
An evaluation like this one is not subject to formal approval by the Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics, Western Norway (REC West) according to Norwegian regulations in force, and the study was therefore not presented for the REC in advance. Upon later request, REC West has stated that this judgement was correct and that it has no objection to publication of the study.
We are presenting data only from the quantitative part of the survey as very few respondents answered the open questions. The data are mainly treated descriptively for the whole student population and supervisors, regardless of their institution. However, statistical analyses have been carried out in order to reveal any significant differences in the responses between the universities. One-way ANOVA is used for continual variables, while a chi square test is used for categorical variables. A two-way p-value < 0.05 was defined as statistically significant. SPSS version 14.0 was used for the analyses.