The importance of student research projects in dental education

Eur J Dent Educ. 2011 May;15(2):90-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0579.2010.00645.x. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


In this article, our aim was to summarise students' research over 15 years at Istanbul University Faculty of Dentistry and to evaluate both the research activities from the students' perspectives and the effect of this activity on their undergraduate and postgraduate success. In 1992, dental students formed 'a Student Research Club' (SRC), which new students attend voluntarily and carry out a scientific project out with the normal curriculum every year. In total, 409 different students have presented 193 research projects at these meetings over 15 years. Seventy-four of these students were from other universities and presented 37 projects. In this research, a questionnaire containing 20 items was administered to 93 students who were the members of SRC to learn their own perception of the development of their academic and research skills and the broader impact of the club on their career. It was evaluated using Likert scale (ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree). Student feedback was very positive and over three quarters (81%) of answers ranged between 'agree' and 'strongly agree'. When the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of the 88 SRC members in the last 6 years (2003/2004 to 2008/2009) was evaluated as the school success rate, significant difference was found between the grades obtained by members and non-members (P<0.001). There was also significant difference between the CGPA of 25 members of SRC who were randomly chosen, before and after membership to the club (P<0.001). While the 141 members of SRC applied to postgraduate education to Istanbul University Faculty of Dentistry over the last 5 years, 74 of them accepted for PhD (52.6%). There is a statistically significant difference between the member and non-member groups (P<0.001). In addition, of the 58 teaching assistants who stayed in academic life after postgraduate studies at Istanbul University Faculty of Dentistry, 16 of them had been a member of the SRC (31%). However, no statistical difference was found between members of SRC and non-members. These data showed that although the students had an intensive programme in the school, they were able to carry out this voluntary activity successfully and this activity contributed to their educational process. Students also believe that participation of them to this activity effects positively on both personal development and academic success.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Dental Research / education*
  • Dentists / psychology
  • Education, Dental*
  • Education, Dental, Graduate
  • Educational Measurement
  • Faculty, Dental
  • Feedback
  • Human Development
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Learning
  • Problem Solving
  • Program Evaluation
  • Students, Dental* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thinking
  • Turkey