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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 117-121

Reasons behind the increase in research activities among medical Students of Karachi, Pakistan, a low-income Country

1 Final Year Medical Student, Dow Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
3 Department of Pediatrics, Karachi Medical and Dental College, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Shoukat Ali Baig
Final Year Medical Student, Dow Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Sindh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.120705

Context: Previously, in a low-income country with limited resources like Pakistan, biomedical research was conducted mostly by individuals working in private organizations. Recently, there has been an upsurge in the number of medical students conducting research in both private and public medical colleges of Karachi, Pakistan. We investigated student perceptions of the reasons behind the increase in biomedical research among medical students of private and public medical colleges in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at four medical universities of Karachi, using structured data collection tool. Participants included medical students who stated that they were interested in medical research. We assessed how many had been involved in research or stated that they intended to be, and tallied students' stated reasons why they were involved in research. Chi-square analyses were used to assess if year of training, institution, and other factors were associated with the likelihood of past or current actual research involvement. Results: Out of the 398 students with research interest who participated in the study, 349 (88%) stated that they intended to do research projects in their undergraduate years. At the time of the study, only 202 (51%) reported that they had actually conducted research. The reasons given for engaging in research for a minority included personal interest (n = 136; 34%), while majority stated that their motivation was to improve their curriculum vitae (75%) and/or to be more competitive for a residency in the United States (43%). The reasons students gave for involvement in research were related to whether their schools were public versus private and to their year of study. Discussion: According to students' reports, improving one's curriculum vitae to get a strong residency in the USA appeared to be a principal reason for the increase in biomedical research in Karachi. The challenges of research, such as lack of good mentors and increased work-load were reported to affect few students' ability to engage in research.

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