Students' satisfaction and perceived impact on knowledge, attitudes and skills after a 2-day course in scientific writing: a prospective longitudinal study in Spain

BMJ Open. 2018 Jan 27;8(1):e018657. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018657.


Objectives: This study aimed to determine students' satisfaction with a 2-day course on scientific writing in health sciences and to assess their perceptions of the long-term impact on their knowledge, attitudes and skills.

Setting: 27 iterations of a 2-day course on writing and publishing scientific articles in health sciences.

Participants: 741 students attending the 27 courses.

Design: Prospective longitudinal study.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Immediately after each course, students completed a first questionnaire, rating their satisfaction with different aspects of the classroom sessions on a Likert scale (0-5). Approximately 2 years after the course, students completed a follow-up questionnaire, using a Likert scale (0-4) to rate their knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to scientific writing before and after attending the course.

Results: 741 students (70% women) participated in the 27 iterations of the course; 568 (76.8%) completed the first questionnaire and 182 (24.6%) completed the follow-up questionnaire. The first questionnaire reflected high overall satisfaction (mean score, 4.6). In the second questionnaire, students reported that the course had improved their knowledge (mean improvement: 1.6; 95% CI 1.6 to 1.7), attitudes (mean improvement: 1.3; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.4) and skills (mean improvement: 1.4; 95% CI 1.3 to 1.4) related to writing and publishing scientific papers. Most respondents (n=145, 79.7%) had participated in drafting a scientific paper after the course; in this subgroup, all the specific writing skills assessed in the second questionnaire significantly improved.

Conclusions: Students were satisfied with the format and the contents of the course, and those who responded to the follow-up survey considered that the course had improved their knowledge, attitudes and skills in relation to scientific writing and publishing. Courses are particularly important in countries without strong traditions in scientific publication.

Keywords: journalology; observationl study; publishing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Professional
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Publishing*
  • Research Personnel / education*
  • Science
  • Spain
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Writing*