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Personal view - Personal view

What is the point? Finding meaning in research for the current generation of medical students

  • By: Daniel J Mulder
  • Published: 10 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e2716
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e2716

It is becoming more difficult to recruit and train clinician scientists. Although this is a multifaceted problem, I wonder if one of the root problems might be motivation. Many of us medical trainees perceive research as an unnecessary part of the medical curriculum. But such attitudes endanger the future of medical science.

The problem could derive in part from the fact that my generation sees the world differently from previous generations in many aspects that apply to research and medicine. We have grown up in a culture of pervasive information—information is so readily accessible that it loses some of its value. A generation ago, looking up a research article required a trip to the library, browsing reference texts, and photocopying. Now, I just look up an article on my smartphone in seconds.

How does this information overload influence the current generation of medical trainees’ perception of research? Medical trainees are

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