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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-21

Assessment of three modes knowledge, attitude and enthusiasm of dental postgraduates towards scientific research in private dental college at Kanpur district - A cross-sectional study


1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Rama Dental College, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Public Health, UWA School of Population and Global Health, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Australia
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Maharana Pratap Dental College, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission12-Aug-2020
Date of Decision12-May-2021
Date of Acceptance13-May-2021
Date of Web Publication18-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vishal Mehrotra
502, Twin Tower Near Gurudev Palace, Kanpur - 208 024, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sidj.sidj_33_20

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  Abstract 

Context: Scientific research is an indispensable part of health-care curricula and a crucial exercise to help evolve clinician's research adroitness.
Aims: The survey was planned to gauge and assess the postgraduates (PGs) dental students knowledge, attitude, and interest toward scientific research and to determine the factors and their perception for the dearth of research interest.
Settings and Design: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based research was done after the approval from the Institutional Ethics Committee and obtaining written informed consent from participants.
Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 224 (1st year, 2nd year, and 3rd year PGs) dental students of a private dental college in Kanpur city with a prevalidated structured questionnaire on the research principles was developed, and the students were asked to fill the questionnaire.
Results: In the present study, 73% of the PGs did not know the definition of the research hypothesis. Ninety-two percent of PGs do not know the significance of scale 0–5 in researches, and 75% of PGs were unaware of the value of taking approval for conducting a research study. These results were statistically significant (P < 0.05). PGs have not participated in any research projects during their under-graduation or internship (93%) nor have written any scientific publication (94%), and the results obtained were statistically significant. The lack of time due to the vast curriculum of PG students (55%) and lack of interest (52%) were the personal reasons, whereas inadequate financial support (47%) and lack of time (49%) were among the institutional reasons for not conducting the research.
Conclusions: A positive attitude but with a deficient level of knowledge and interest in context to research was found among PG dental students. Various factors such as vast PG syllabus, lack of time, deficient financial support, and lack of proper seemed to be the barriers in pursuing research.

Keywords: Attitude, dental, knowledge, postgraduate, research


How to cite this article:
Mehrotra V, Sachdev R, Garg K, Srivastava R, Sambyal S, Chauhan SS. Assessment of three modes knowledge, attitude and enthusiasm of dental postgraduates towards scientific research in private dental college at Kanpur district - A cross-sectional study. Saint Int Dent J 2021;5:15-21

How to cite this URL:
Mehrotra V, Sachdev R, Garg K, Srivastava R, Sambyal S, Chauhan SS. Assessment of three modes knowledge, attitude and enthusiasm of dental postgraduates towards scientific research in private dental college at Kanpur district - A cross-sectional study. Saint Int Dent J [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 28];5:15-21. Available from: https://www.sidj.org/text.asp?2021/5/1/15/318803


  Introduction Top


Research is the foundation to improve health care. The word "Research" is obtained from the French word "recherche," which means intending to approach seeking.[1],[2] It is a systematic process to achieve new knowledge, science, or invention by using the standard guidelines.[3] Research in the field of dentistry has become an essential component of dental education and has implications for prevention, diagnosis, and new treatments for oral and maxillofacial diseases.[4] This ingrains the art of critical thinking and reasoning skills in dental students and paves the path for the latest advancements and potential to influence the present dental scenario.[5] Advancement and extension of learning through research have resulted in improvement and evolution in the field of dentistry.[6] Various factors such as the lack of infrastructure and funds, inadequate research training and deficient guidance due to scarcity of mentors, insufficient knowledge of study design, time limitations, lack of research self-efficacy, curriculum overload, Internet inexperience, an uncooperative community, lack of interest, and limited access to data sources, difficulty in selecting a topic, and lack of previous exposure have resulted in a plodding pace of research activities in India.[7],[8],[9]

Awareness and cognition of biostatistics and caliber of research design are essential for the evaluation and evidence-based practice in dentistry and an important factor for publishing articles.[10] This has led the Dental Council of India to formulate fundamental comprehension for the standards of research outline and biostatistics and hence is now a part of the postgraduates (PGs) curriculum.[11] Research is considered to be one of the best indicators of the scientific progress of a country.[12] Increased participation of undergraduate (UG)/PG dental students positively impact their career choice, communication skills, and analytical thinking.[5] Further, these projects help produce better-educated dentists who are well trained and can apply new knowledge to their dental profession.[12] Dental students in India are trained more theoretically than practically, resulting in a lack of what is learned and what is being practiced in the dental operatories.[13]

Due to a steep decline in research by scientists over the past two decades in dentistry, this makes it a need of hour for more dental clinical and dental students to do research. Therefore, the motivation and education of UG/PG students in research can be beneficial in filling the void of dental researchers and raising the standards of dentistry in India.[14] It is felt that the current level of knowledge and awareness among the PG students who have conducted/are conducting at least one research study for their dissertation/article publishing should be evaluated.[15] Research has changed the face of dentistry and thus resulted in the act of dentistry in recent years. So far, significantly fewer surveys have been conducted among dental students to record the knowledge, attitude, and practices on research principles.[16] The reason for this cross-sectional study was to survey the research-related knowledge, attitude, and practice among the PG students in a private dental institution in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. This study also enlightens us with the problems and explores the reasons for the lack of interest in research by the PG students.


  Subjects and Methods Top


Study design

This cross-sectional study was conducted among 224 PG dental students of a private dental college in Kanpur city, Uttar Pradesh, from December 2019 to February 2020. These students were asked to fill a prevalidated self-report structured questionnaire on the principles of research. The questionnaire, along with the protocol of the study, was approved by the Institutional Ethical Review Committee of the Dental College. Written informed consent was obtained from the study participants. No conflict of interest was encountered in the entire study period.

Inclusion criteria

  • PG students from all the specialties and those studying during the study period in the dental college were included in the study.


Exclusion criteria

  • UG students and interns were excluded as they do not conduct research regularly
  • Those PG students gave an incompletely filled questionnaire.


Data collection tool and study methodology

A prevalidated, three-page, self-reporting questionnaire was developed based on our study objectives, taking guidance from the previous literature.[17],[18] The questionnaire consisted of five main sections:

The first section included demographics, i.e. age, gender, marital status, year of postgraduation, and the field of specialization. The second section consisted of knowledge on research obtained by five questions having one correct and three false options. Students who chose the correct option were categorized to have good knowledge as compared to others who choose the wrong answer. The third section of the questionnaire recorded the students' attitude toward research in the form of a set of five questions. It was a yes or no question; students who chose yes were considered to have a positive attitude, whereas students who chose no were believed to have a negative attitude. The fourth section of the questionnaire assessed the research in practice by PGs. This section comprised of five questions. The answers required a dichotomous response of yes or no. The last section of the questionnaire addressed queries related to PG students' reasons for not conducting research. The PGs were asked to choose the options which apply to them the most. The questionnaire was also explained in detail, emphasizing instructions, rationale, and purpose/significance of the study to the PGs.

The participants answered several questions related to knowledge, the attitude of dental students toward research, and perceived reasons for lack of research interest. The questionnaires were distributed by hand for convenience to avoid the poor response rate by online distribution of the questionnaires, avoid any chance of cheating, and answer any queries raised by the participating students during the filling of the questionnaire. One to two days' time limit for completion of the questionnaire was given to the PGs. A filled questionnaire pro forma was later collected and analyzed. Only a wholly filled questionnaire was included in the study.

Statistical analysis

The data were entered in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and processed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (Inc. Chicago, Illinois, USA, version 22). Discrete (categorical) data were summarized in number (n) and percentage (%) and compared by the Chi-square test. A two-tailed P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


  Results Top


In the current study, among the total sample of PG students, 39% of respondents were males and 61% females; the majority of the students belonged to the age range of 26–30 years (52%), followed by 22–25 years (29%) and last >30 years (19%). The majority (90%) of the PG students belonged to clinical departments, and 35% were in the 3rd year followed by 2nd year, 33%, and the least in the 1st year of postgraduation (32%) [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of study postgraduate students

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[Table 2] shows the comparison and assessment of knowledge on research methodology of all 3 years of PGs. This assessment of research-related knowledge was done using ten questions in the questionnaire, which were answered on a dichotomous scale. The table depicts that the majority of the PG students in all the 3 years of postgraduation (1st year 82%, 2nd year 78%, and 3rd-year 75%) were unaware of the definition of "Research." Moreover, most PG students were ignorant and did not know how to select a research topic (1st year – 87%, 2nd year – 78%, and final year 72%).
Table 2: Distribution and comparison of assessment of knowledge toward research methodology among postgraduate students (n=224)

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[Table 3] compares all the 3 years of PG students in each item of attitude on research methodology. The questionnaire comprised of a set of 12 questions. Nearly 90% of first, 86% of the 2nd year, and 73% of 3rd year PGs have never been a part of any research project during under graduation/internship and 93% of the 1st year PGs followed by 88% of 2nd and 78% of thirds year PGs have ever participated in writing a scientific paper, these differences were statistically significant (P < 0.05).
Table 3: Distribution and comparison of assessment of attitude toward research methodology among postgraduate students (n=224)

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[Table 4] shows the comparison between all PG students regarding practices on research methodology. The questionnaire consisted of six questions. Nearly 79% of first and 77% of 2nd-year PGs were not reading journals, and 72% of 1st-year followed by 73% of the 2nd and 63% of the final year were also not interested in enhancing their knowledge by attending workshops/ Continuing Dental Education (CDEs) on research methodology. The majority of the 1st-year PGs (79%), followed by 2nd (73%) and 3rd years (59%) were not having any interest in conducting researches in the near future. [Table 5] demonstrates the various personal and institutional causes among PG students for not conducting researches. The most important individual factors included the lack of time due to the vast curriculum of PG students (55%), followed by lack of interest (52%) and lack of knowledge on research methodology (48%).
Table 4: Distribution and comparison of assessment of practices toward research methodology among postgraduate students (n=224)

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Table 5: Frequency distribution of reasons for not conducting research among postgraduate students

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  Discussion Top


Dentistry and specifically postgraduation provide a leading platform for being a part of any research project. Thus, it becomes indispensable and imperative for the PGs to have knowledge regarding research methodology and apply the results to enhance their theoretical and clinical knowledge and implications in dentistry. The present study assessed knowledge, attitude, and practices in research among PG students in a private dental college in Kanpur city. In the present study, out of 224 PG students, 88 were male, and 136 were female, 201 from clinical branches and 23 from pre-clinical branches. Out of 224 (1st year, 2nd year, and 3rd year PG) students, 71 were from the 1st year, followed by 74 from the 2nd and 79 from 3rd-year. This sample size was close to the study conducted by Bhat et al., where there were 133 PG participants, of which 62 were male and 71 were female, 101 from clinical branches and 32 from pre/para clinical departments, 65 from the 2nd year and 68 from the 3rd year.[15] In contrast, in our study, we included 1st-year PG students too, which were not part of the sample size in the study conducted by Bhat et al.[15] In the present study, only 25% of participants knew the definition of the research hypothesis. This result was lesser than the study conducted by Bhat et al., Pawar et al., Giri et al., Rani and Priya, and Sharma et al.[15],[18],[19],[20],[21]

In the present study, most participants, 77%, did not know the complete form of MEDLINE. This was in accordance with the study done by Bhat et al., Pawar et al., and Giri et al.[15],[18],[19] In the present study, most PG students (82%) were not aware of the significance of scale 0–5 in a research study; this result was much higher than the value obtained in the survey conducted by Habib et al.(72%).[22] The result in the present study was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Our study revealed that most PGs (64%) did not have any knowledge regarding whom to seek approval for conducting a research study (in vitro/in vivo). This result was in accordance with the results obtained from the studies conducted by Bhat et al., Giri et al., and Rani and Priya while the result of our research was contradictory to those obtained in the studies conducted by Sharma et al. and Pawar et al.[15],[18],[19],[20],[21]

In our study, 53% of the PGs were unaware of when the consent should be taken for any trial to be performed on living beings (human/animals). The result obtained was much less than that obtained in the studies conducted by Pawar et al., Rani and Priya, and Sharma et al., while the result in the present study was statistically significant (P < 0.05).[18],[20],[21] In the present study, maximum participants (81%) were willing to train in research methodology if made compulsory for PG students. This result was lesser than those found in studies conducted by Bhat et al., Pawar et al. and Giri et al.[15],[18],[19] The present study stated that higher numbers of participants (84%) believed that CDE does not have an impact on dental patient's outcomes and prognosis. Willing in patient outcome improvement with continued dental research. This was contrary to the results obtained from Bhat et al. with the study conducted by Pawar et al. and Giri et al.[15],[18],[19]

Our study revealed that nearly 87% of the PG students were not confident in planning and carrying out research project without supervision and the value was much higher than the result obtained from the study conducted by Habib et al. (72%).[22] Our study revealed a higher number of participants needed guidance and supervision to conduct the research project, and similar findings were seen in a study conducted by Bhat et al., Giri et al., and Rani and Priya.[15],[19],[20] In the present study, nearly 52% of PGs were not interested in researching while doing PG. This was contrary to the results obtained from the studies conducted by Bhat et al., Giri et al., and Sharma et al.[15],[19],[21] Our study revealed that 25% of PGs were reading journals regularly. A similar finding was found in studies done by Bhat et al. and Pawar et al. while the results were contrary to the one obtained from the study conducted by Sharma et al.[15],[18],[21]

The most important personal factors included the lack of time due to the vast curriculum of PG students (55%) followed by lack of interest (52%) and lack of knowledge on research methodology (48%). These results were in accordance with the study conducted by Bhat et al. and Habib et al.[15],[22] Whereas lack of time due to postgraduation curriculum workload (49%) and inadequate financial support (47%) were the two major institutional causes for the PGs not carrying out and showing interest in various research activities. This result was contrary to the results obtained from the study conducted by Bhat et al., where the lack of interest by faculty/guide (28%) and inadequate support by mentors (24%) were the most important institutional cause for PGs not conducting research studies.[15]


  Conclusions Top


The present study highlights an overall lack of knowledge, attitude, and interest of PG students in research. A deficiency in understanding the significance of the research, a dearth of confidence in conducting research projects, a lack of interest in participating in CDE programs, publishing journals, and absence of enthusiasm of being part of future research projects not only represents an inbuilt void in the field of research in the mindset of PGs but also enlightens us with developing a positive attitude in the minds of PG students regarding the importance of research and also about the prospective perks that this can bring in educational exhilaration of the PGs in the eventual times. Barriers such as lack of interest, deficiency of time, limited financial supports, paucity of motivation to get involved in research projects diverts our attention toward inculcating research as a part of their curriculum and to make available information, financial stability, encouragement, and proper guidance to solve the problems most students face in the field of research. Thus, this study focuses on addressing these barriers for improving the research environment among dental colleges in India.

Limitations of this study

First, this study is a cross-sectional study that identifies the association between the variables and not the function and its direction. Second, the study includes only self-reported data and has limitations such as subjectivity, exaggerated reports, and recall bias. Finally, this research was done on postgraduate students in dental clinics. This cross-sectional survey could be further enhanced by including more health colleges of other universities.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
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