Biology and medicine students’ experiences of the relationship between teaching and research

Abstract

In this study, we aim to deepen our understanding of how biology and medicine undergraduate students experience the relationship between teaching and research. Employing a phenomenographic approach, 34 final-year students of a Bachelor in Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Medicine, from one research-oriented Chilean university, were interviewed. Four categories of description emerged from interviews analysis. These categories range from experiencing teaching and research as disconnected activities to experiencing the relationship between teaching and research as a space to develop higher order thinking skills. Additionally, three dimensions of variation presented a more detailed picture of their experience: role of students in the research process, teaching focus and learning spaces where research is experienced. Also, when comparing the students’ experiences, we found that medicine students, unlike those of biology, do not experience teaching and research as disconnected activities (category A). Besides, although both biology and medicine students experience the relationship between teaching and research as a space to develop thinking skills (category D), there is a difference between them regarding the type of skills that they can develop: analysis and problem-solving in biology and the ability to make informed decisions and raise scientific questions in medicine. These results provide useful insights on how students experience teaching and research activities and its relationship. This might prove useful to the university community to improve the way in which teaching and research are linked in the curriculum of undergraduate programmes, particularly in the biological sciences.

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Acknowledgments

The first author is a CONICYT Ph.D. grantee (CONICYT-PCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2013-21130423). This work was funded by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) through the grant CONICYT-PCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2013-21130423 and grant CONICYT-FONDECYT Regular 1130982.

Funding

The authors declare they have received the following funding for supporting the work presented in this paper: grant CONICYT-FONDECYT Regular 1130982 and the first author is a CONICYT Ph.D. grantee (CONICYT-PCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2013-21130423). Both grants are provided by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT).

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Correspondence to Ruby Olivares-Donoso.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Olivares-Donoso, R., Gonzalez, C. Biology and medicine students’ experiences of the relationship between teaching and research. High Educ 76, 849–864 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0241-6

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Keywords

  • Experience
  • Teaching-research nexus
  • Undergraduate students
  • Higher education
  • Phenomenography