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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 93-94

Students for students: The polish initiative for enhancing medical research knowledge

Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdańsk, Poland

Date of Web Publication13-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
Przemyslaw M Waszak
PhD Candidate, Medical University of Gdansk, Dębinki 7, 80-211, Gdańsk
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.210505

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How to cite this article:
Waszak PM. Students for students: The polish initiative for enhancing medical research knowledge. Educ Health 2017;30:93-4

How to cite this URL:
Waszak PM. Students for students: The polish initiative for enhancing medical research knowledge. Educ Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Jun 6];30:93-4. Available from:

Dear Editor,

With an increasing number of both medical research and published articles, the role of evidence-based medicine (EBM) in health care is constantly rising. Unfortunately, university curricula in Poland are still failing to adequately present these issues to health professions students. The processes of overcoming this barrier through curriculum reform have been slow. Most progress has been made by the use of informal or secondary educational means, for example, elective courses, self-study, internet courses, and student association meetings. Nevertheless, the number of medical research papers published by Polish medical students has constantly risen over the past 10 years. Starting from almost no papers published by Polish students before 2005, the number now reaches about forty articles per year (based on Scopus advanced search performed on October 12, 2016). Thus, providing all medical students in Poland with knowledge on the use of evidence in health care has become even more important. As undergraduate students, we often feel helpless when trying to understand or write medical research articles. Thus, we sought to meet our needs to learn about medical writing and critical reading through a reliable and readily accessible source of information written in our mother language.

In 2014, we formed a project group, which consisted of seven medical students, one pharmacy student, and two young doctors. We felt that having no Polish-language handbook for medical students focusing on medical research was the principal barrier for those who wanted to start their own projects. Based on available professional English language research handbooks and our own (little) research experience, we formed a list of topics we wanted a handbook to address. Subsequently, we started inviting scientists well known for their experience in fields covered in the handbook (see below). Finally, together with researchers across the country, we formed a nonprofit initiative that has now successfully published a handbook. Idea-Research-Publication: Scientific handbook for students of medical sciences [1] is the first Polish handbook covering medical research and EBM issues for health professions students. The book is open access and available free through project's website (

Among the issues covered in the first section of the book are EBM, bioethics, biostatistics, translational research, international collaboration, and medical writing. Chapters are each formatted in a consistent way. Apart from explanatory text with many flowcharts and tables, each chapter ends with a review of key points on the most important issues. Some sections are enriched with case reports. Each chapter also provides a list of further reading sources including books, journal articles, and hyperlinks.

The second section of the handbook presents essays and inspirational comments written by well-known Polish medical science authorities. At the very end of the book, we have listed and briefly described the most important English language books for medical scientists.

In Poland, there are 23,800 medical students.[2] Our web page has had about 3000 unique downloads since the handbook was published in April 2015. Web analytics tool is imperfect, but it seems that the handbook is meeting a need.

We believe that this initiative has proven worthwhile. Idea-Research-Publication may be a good model for students in other countries in similar circumstances to those we face in Poland, where there was no mother tongue handbook on biomedical research reading and writing available to interested students. Involving students in the project has benefits including better topic selection to meet students' demands. Publishing a book is now easier than ever, and social media tools make it possible to readily reach a larger audience. Thus, handbooks can be still regarded as a good educational tool. In our case, this has been a small step toward broadening knowledge in research and EBM at medical universities. Additional, organized, and comprehensive efforts to introduce new programs into university curricula should also be undertaken at educational departments, at both the state and national levels.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bandurski T, Bączek T, Błaszkowska K, Czapiewski P, Czauderna P, Dudziak M, et al. Pomysł – Badanie. In: Waszak P, Budyńko Ł, editors. Idea-Research-Publication: Scientific Handbook for Students of Medical Sciences. Medical University of Gdansk; 2015. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 16].  Back to cited text no. 1
POL-On. Instytucje Szkolnictwa Wyższego. Institutions of Higer Education; 2016. Available from: [Last cited on 2016 Jul 31].  Back to cited text no. 2


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