Objective: To investigate the motivations, challenges and perceptions of the educational environment of emerging researchers in chiropractic.
Methods: A descriptive web-based survey of higher-degree chiropractic research students was performed between October and November 2013. The survey consisted of open and closed questions and the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure.
Results: Twenty-two students currently enrolled in a higher-degree research program participated. Students were most commonly enrolled in a doctor of philosophy program at a part-time rate. Motivations of research were desire to improve the clinical care aspects of chiropractic for the public and belief that chiropractic research is lacking. The greatest challenges were the negative attitudes towards chiropractic, finding enough time to do everything required, and feelings of isolation. The higher-degree research educational environment was perceived to be more positive than negative, with the stimulating nature of research a positive feature. A negative feature of the educational environment was poor undergraduate preparation for higher-degree research.
Conclusion: This study is the first study to describe higher-degree chiropractic research students. Primary motivations included building research, while challenges included not only negative attitudes toward the chiropractic profession but also negative attitudes toward researchers from within the profession. The higher-degree research educational environment was perceived to be positive. By acknowledging the issues that surround emerging researchers in chiropractic, the profession is better placed to foster academics and build research capacity.
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