Waqar Jeelani, Sanaa Masood Aslam, Asrar Elahi


Background: Initiatives taken over the last few years have led us to the day when most of the medical and dental institutions in the developed countries have established a strong research culture at undergraduate level but the situation is quite the contrary in Pakistan. This study was carried out to investigate the current trends in undergraduate medical and dental research and to highlight the research barriers. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at six medical and dental colleges of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 300 students. Results were recorded as percentages. Findings of current survey were compared with those of already reported in literature using chi-square test. Results: Out of 300 students, 206 (68.7%) students had already participated in research as principal researcher, co-researcher or as a research volunteer. Internet was most effective method of publicity of research opportunities reported by 74% of students. Only 36.7% students reported the presence of student research office at their institute. Accessibility to medical and dental journals and availability of research funds were reported by 77.2% and 13.4% of students, respectively. Lack of funding and academic overload were two main research barriers reported by 92.6% and 91.9% of students, respectively. Conclusion: The fraction of medical and dental students who are confident that they can plan, conduct and write a research study has increased over last four years. There is an improvement in the availability of research promoting activities but the number of research barriers is still high.

Keywords: Biomedical research, Undergraduate, Medical, Education

Full Text:



Altman DG. Poor-quality medical research. What can journals do? JAMA 2002;287:2765–7.

Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine, Student Research Opportunities. Overview of CDM Research Training Program, Opportunities Available at CDM, Opportunities Available Outside of CDM. Last modified: November 24, 2008. Available at:

Fairhurst K, Huby G. From trial data to practical knowledge: qualitative study of how general practitioners have accessed and used evidence about statin drugs in their management of hypercholesterolaemia. BMJ 1998;317:1130–4.

Jacobs CD, Cross PC. The value of medical student research: the experience at Stanford University School of Medicine Charlotte. Med Educ 1995;29:342–6.

Reinders JJ, Kropmans TJ, Cohen-Schotanus J. Extracurricular research experience of medical students and their scientific output after graduation. Med Educ 2005;39:237.

Hren D, Lukić IK, Marušić A, Vodopivec I, Vujaklija A, Hrabak M, et al. Teaching research methodology in medical schools: students' attitudes towards and knowledge about science. Med Educ 2004;38:81–6.

Aslam F, Shakir M, Qayyum MA. Why the medical students are crucial to the future of research in South Asia. PLoS Med 2005;2:e322.

Essick G. Dental research priorities and availability of research opportunities for dental students. J Dent Educ 1978;42:139–41.

Aslam F, Qayyum MA, Mahmud H, Qasim R, Haque IU. Attitudes and practices of post graduate medical trainees towards research –a snapshot from Faisalabad. J Pak Med Assoc 2004;54:534–6.

Bangash MA, Pragmatic solutions for problems in the undergraduate medical programmes in Pakistan. J Pak Med Assoc 2002;52:331–3.

Their SO., Challoner DR, Cockerham J, Johns T, Mann M, Skinner D, et al. Proposals addressing the decline in the training of physician investigators: report of the ad hoc committee of the AAMC. Clin Res. 1980;28:85-93.

Khan H, Khawaja MR, Waheed A, Rauf MA, Fatmi Z. Knowledge and attitudes about health research amongst a group of Pakistani medical students. BMC Med Educ 2006;6:54.

Jeelani W, Aslam SM, Shah I, Ahmed U, Khokhar M, Bhatti MA. Medical and dental research at undergraduate level: evaluation of opportunities and barriers. Pak Armed Forces Med J 2012;63:573–7.

Curriculum of bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) five years programme (Revised 2011) [Internet]. Higher Education Commission, Islamabad, Pakistan. [Updated 2013 Feb 10, cited 2012 Jan 26]. Available from:

Raza S, Fawwad M, Hussain A. Medical students’ participation in scientific conferences of Pakistan - An overview.J Pak Med Assoc. 2008;58(10):588–9.

Fenner Y, Garland SM, Moore EE, Jayasinghe Y, Fletcher A, Tabrizi SN, et al. Web-based recruiting for health research using a social networking site: an exploratory study. J Med Internet Res 2012;14(1):e20.

Khan H, Khawaja MR. Impact of a workshop in the knowledge and attitudes of medical students regarding health research. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak 2007;17:59–60.

Kazim SF. Medical student's conferences across the globe: An overview. J Pak Med Assoc 2008;58:99–100


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Contact Number: +92-992-382571

email: [jamc] [@] []