Research knowledge in undergraduate school in Brazil: a comparison between medical and law students
Exposure to science education during college may affect a student’s profile, and research experience may be associated with better professional performance. We hypothesized that the impact of research experience obtained during graduate study differs among professional curricula and among graduate courses.
A validated multiple-choice questionnaire concerning scientific concepts was given to students in the first and fourth years of medical and law school at a public Brazilian educational institution.
Medical students participated more frequently in introductory scientific programs than law students, and this trend increased from the first to the fourth years of study. In both curricula, fourth-year students displayed a higher percentage of correct answers than first-year students. A higher proportion of fourth-year students correctly defined the concepts of scientific hypothesis and scientific theory. In the areas of interpretation and writing of scientific papers, fourth-year students, in both curricula, felt more confident than first-year students. Although medical students felt less confident in planning and conducting research projects than law students, they were more involved in research activities.
Medical graduation seems to favor the development of critical scientific maturity than law graduation. Specific policy in medical schools is a reasonable explanation for medical students’ participation in more scientific activities.