OBJECTIVE: To explore the attitudes of chiropractic students toward research and factors influencing it.
DESIGN: This study was conducted through the use of a survey questionnaire. Students were given a questionnaire with no prior knowledge of the survey to ensure that their responses were spontaneous and to increase the possibility that the responses reflected their true feelings.
SETTING: This study was conducted at a small southern chiropractic college.
PARTICIPANTS: Students were selected from all quarters (1st-13th) to determine the effect of educational level on research attitude.
RESULTS: Seventy students (51 men and 19 women, representing 40% of college student population) completed the questionnaire. Of those students, 51.62% indicated they were interested in research in general; 70.96% thought chiropractic research was important; 35.65% were interested in conducting research before coming to chiropractic college; 90.32% had experienced something interesting in chiropractic and wanted to know more about it; 64.52% had at some time thought about a chiropractic research topic; 35.48% had thought about other research topics; 67.75% agreed that there are many things that need to be researched in chiropractic; 25.81% had research experience in some setting; 45.16% thought basic research technique and statistics should be taught in chiropractic college; 19.36% thought research training should be a requirement in chiropractic college; and 61.29% would participate in chiropractic research if given the opportunity while in chiropractic college. Age and gender had very little effect on the research attitude of students in this study. The level of education in chiropractic college affected the students' general interest in research. Middle quarter-level students who had not taken the required research and chiropractic courses showed greater willingness to participate in research than senior students did. Students with previous research training and experience showed significant positive attitudes toward research in almost all questions. However, providing research training in school did not change students' attitudes toward research significantly in a short period of time. Lack of research experience and family concerns were the major factors affecting the students' interest in participating in research while in school.
CONCLUSIONS: Most students completing the survey indicated an interest in research but were reluctant to take extra courses in research. A majority indicated an interest in participating in research. Students interested in doing research were most likely to be students who had some previous research experience or a personal interest as a result of some personal experience. Reasons given for the students' lack of desire to participate in research included family responsibilities, heavy study workload and lack of personal interest and/or previous experience. The overwhelming concern to the students in terms of participating in research was the additional time requirement.
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