A survey exploring research perception of homeopathic undergraduate students in West Bengal, India
Keywords: Attitude, barriers, homeopathic students, India, knowledge, research perception, undergraduates
AbstractBackground: Prioritizing undergraduate research is emphasized to develop critical analytical skills and thinking, independent writing, future clinical practice, enhanced employability, and improved research productivity. Despite far reaching consequences, research perception of homeopathic undergraduate students has barely been investigated to date. Poor participation of homeopathic undergraduates in research is reflected by a single MEDLINE indexed publication with adequate studentsâ€™ contribution in the last decade. We aimed to assess their knowledge and attitude towards research and to identify barriers towards successful conduct of research. Methods: Institutional cross-sectional survey was carried out during August-September, 2013 in the four Government undergraduate homeopathic schools in West Bengal, India involving 902 participants. A semi-structured questionnaire was developed for the purpose depending on earlier studies on medical undergraduates. 364 completed responses were analyzed in the end. Results: Study sample mostly spanned 18-25 years of age group (94%), belonged to urban families (44.8%), with no gender differences (almost 1:1) and no physicians in family (73.1%). Maximum complete responses were obtained from 3rd year students (61.5%) and students of Calcutta Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital (51.2%). In spite of willingness to participate and keeping a positive attitude towards research, current involvement, training, knowledge and awareness remained quite unsatisfactory. Lack of infrastructure was identified as the chief barrier towards research. Conclusion: Undergraduates had a positive attitude towards homeopathic research, but need a realistic understanding of the research process. Opportunities for research skill development are underdeveloped.