Optometry students’ attitudes towards research at undergraduate level
Background. Universities worldwide are required to increase their levels of research productivity.
Objective. To bring about positive changes in research perspectives if the factors contributing to the attitude of undergraduate optometry students can
be identified, enhanced and rectified.
Methods. Three nominal group technique (NGT) discussions were conducted with 22 final-year (4th-year) optometry students in central South Africa
(SA) to reach consensus on the most important factors that students regarded as influencing their undergraduate research experiences. Data gathering
and analysis took place simultaneously, while participants prioritised the data. Data were analysed by in vivo coding, and categories were grouped
according to themes that emerged from the codes.
Results. Ranking and content analysis of coded statements yielded positive and negative categories, as well as categories with mixed codes. The major
factor influencing students’ attitudes towards research was administration and the time-consuming nature of their research projects. Recommendations
for more effective administration are given.
Conclusions. It was concluded that active steps should be taken by the Department of Optometry, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, SA, to alter
and minimise negative aspects encountered by the students, which could assist future students’ experiences of research at undergraduate level.
L Coetzee, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
S B Kruger, Division Health Sciences Education, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
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Date published: 2018-07-06
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