Medical Education Research Requests

The substantial growth of educational research requests into medical education – and UBC’s innovative expansion and distribution of medical education – has resulted in a steady increase in the number of requests to our medical students to participate in research related to their educational experience.

The Faculty of Medicine of UBC is committed to advancing this area of educational research, as evidenced by the creation of the Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES) in April 2008. Moreover, the Faculty of Medicine’s Evaluations Studies Unit conducts regular surveys of students and residents, in keeping with the faculty’s commitment to continuous quality improvement; responding to requests from that unit is considered a professional obligation of medical students and residents.

The increase in independent research requests, however, may cause an untenable burden on students, or may occur at an inappropriate time during their educational program. Students can become confused about whether a survey is part of the Faculty of Medicine’s own program evaluation, an independent survey designed by a department or course leader, or a free-standing educational research project, and they may be uncertain of their obligations and freedoms.

To deal with the growing frequency and complexity of educational research requests and program evaluation studies, the Faculty established a research request approvals process through the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME).

The UGME, reviews, approves and monitors all the studies on an as needed basis, before they are presented to the medical students. The RAC provides the forum for discussion and decision-making on the studies to be offered to medical students. The review and approval process should be completed within 30 days of receipt of a fully completed application.

Letter of Intent

The committee will require a Letter of Intent from the investigators, which should include:

  • Names of all of the investigators
  • A brief description of the purpose of the study, goal objectives, expected outcomes, educational research request methods
  • Required number of students, the recruitment process, duration, timing of the study (calendar dates and whether there is any flexibility around timing), funding source (if any)
  • Anticipated impact/burden on the participating student relative to the demands of the educational program.

Please review the letter of intent checklist and letter of intent template for guidance.

Considerations, privacy and tracking

Studies that may yield benefits to the current and/or future medical students will be given priority. Students will be made aware of the difference between the professional obligation to participate in the Faculty of Medicine’s own evaluations of its educational program and their right to choose to participate in independent educational research request studies.

For approved studies that involve e-mail contact with students, the information will be disseminated directly to the students from the relevant university office. Under no circumstances will educational researchers be given direct access to university databases or e-mail addresses.