A Medical Student Scholarly Concentrations Program: Scholarly Self-Efficacy and Impact on Future Research Activities

Med Educ Online. 2020 Dec;25(1):1786210. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2020.1786210.


Background: The Scholarly Concentrations program was established at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2009 with the aim of instilling passion for scholarship.

Objective: Our study aimed to determine whether the Scholarly Concentrations program achieves positive changes in medical student self-efficacy in conducting research and, if so, whether this results in future career aspirations toward scholarship.

Design: We used the Clinical Research Appraisal Inventory-Short Form (CRAI-SF) to assess changes in self-efficacy among students completing the Scholarly Concentrations program between 2014 and 2017. We calculated composite mean scores of six domains. We included outcomes on whether students published a manuscript, overall program perceptions, and likelihood of future research careers. We analyzed relationships between CRAI-SF scores and outcomes using paired t-tests and multivariable-adjusted logistic regression.

Results: A total of 419 students completed the Scholarly Concentrations program. All 6 CRAI domain scores showed significant improvements in self-efficacy between the pre-Scholarly Concentrations and post-Scholarly Concentrations ratings (range of changes 0.76-1.39, p < 0.05 for all). We found significant associations between post-Scholarly Concentrations self-efficacy ratings and course satisfaction (adjusted OR 1.57 [95% CI 1.20, 2.07]) and mentor satisfaction (OR 1.46 [1.15, 1.86]), as well as students' intent to conduct future research (OR 1.46 [1.15, 1.86]). These results were robust to sensitivity analyses, and pronounced in the group of students without prior research experience.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that a Scholarly Concentrations program is associated with an increased self-efficacy for research, and these changes in self-efficacy are associated with higher satisfaction in the scholarly experience and increased likelihood of pursuing scholarly work. Other medical schools could use such a tool of self-efficacy to both investigate the overall Scholarly Concentrations experience and understand factors that may increase interest in future physician-scientist pathways.

Keywords: Self-efficacy; scholarly concentrations program; scholarship; undergraduate medical education.