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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 63-67

Feedback of postgraduate students about workshop on making an effective research paper

1 Department of Medicine, Medical Education Unit, MGM Medical College and LSK Hospital, Kishanganj, Bihar, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit, MGM Medical College and LSK Hospital, Kishanganj, Bihar, India
3 Department of Anatomy, Medical Education Unit, MGM Medical College and LSK Hospital, Kishanganj, Bihar, India

Date of Submission12-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance10-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication29-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ranabir Pal
Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit, MGM Medical College and LSK Hospital, Kishanganj - 855 107, Bihar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jopcs.jopcs_19_20

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Background: Researchers on medical educational technologies use learner's feedbacks containing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to develop content and form of training programs in students' learning as a universally approved concept. Objectives: The objectives were to sensitize the first-year postgraduate residents about the publication of research and collect their immediate reflection. Materials and Methods: Feedback was taken from all the 49 participants at the end of the 2-day in-house workshop on “Making an effective research paper.” The data collection tool was unlinked anonymous containing six open-ended questions for immediate postsession evaluation on their futuristic vision on implementation and was analyzed by the researchers. Results: In response to “Comments regarding the research methodology workshop,” more than half agreed on positive aspects of the workshop on improved cognition with relevant information. Overall, favored “best” sessions were “Reference writing,” “Plagiarism check,” and “Search relevant article and write the Literature review.” Regarding the avenue of improvement of the workshop, they stressed on timing of workshop before the synopsis submission of their academic year, pre distribution of reading material, and shorter lengths of sessions. Conclusions: The feedback permitted the participants to echo their candid feelings to meet their learning objective as they rated the workshop constructively for each prompt with gain in broad-based cognitive domain with hopeful attitude for intended practice in their academic growth.

Keywords: Feedback, publication, research

How to cite this article:
Paul UK, Pal R, Talukdar KL. Feedback of postgraduate students about workshop on making an effective research paper. J Prim Care Spec 2021;2:63-7

How to cite this URL:
Paul UK, Pal R, Talukdar KL. Feedback of postgraduate students about workshop on making an effective research paper. J Prim Care Spec [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 14];2:63-7. Available from: https://www.jpcsonline.org/text.asp?2021/2/3/63/327055

  Introduction Top

To become a competent primary care physician, the publication of medical literature is an integral part of research work and lateral thinking. Postgraduate medical education course and curriculum under the aegis of the National Medical Commission has a mandatory prerequisite to submit a dissertation based on a research project in partial fulfilment of the requirement of the completion of the course. Hence, an organized training is needed as a fundamental part of this 3-year capacity building curriculum as these postgraduates will become supervisor (guide) of them in due course when they will join as clinician–educators of different medical institutes to mentor them in research.

As a blind cannot guide a blind, so we felt that dedicated stand-alone, hands-on-training on scientific writing is truly needed, apart from research methodology workshop regarding the importance of science and art of publication. Researchers on medical educational technologies stress on evaluation of instruments to reach any decision using student feedbacks containing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to modify the content and form of any program. This ultimately leads to improvements in students' learning as a universally approved paradigm.[1]

Further, qualitative open-ended questions can better help to gather information on formulated hypotheses to identify the concepts of our missing current questions on any of the educational programs.[2]

In view of the above, the investigators of this study organized a 2-day in-house workshop on writing a research paper to sensitize the first-year postgraduate residents of the tertiary care health-care institute and attempted to determine the reflection through feedback analysis.

  Materials and Methods Top

This questionnaire-based qualitative approach feedback evaluation of the workshop was conducted at Mata Gujri Memorial Medical College, Kishanganj, Bihar, India, during a research workshop for 2 days during September 27–28, 2019, on “Making an effective research paper” from the participants. This workshop was organized by the Medical Education Unit of the institute under the aegis of Dr. Padam Singh Research and Development Scheme in collaboration with Institute of Applied Statistics, National Institute of Medical Statistics-Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of National Institute of Cancer Prevention Research – ICMR. The topics covered in this workshop are shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Training schedule of the research workshop on “Making an effective research paper” during September 27–28, 2019

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The Institutional Ethics Committee of Mata Gujri Memorial Medical College approved the study before the evaluation of the research methodology workshop. “Helsinki declaration” was followed in letter and spirit during the whole study. The study participants were census population of the first-year residents of postgraduate medical courses of the institute. Informed consents were obtained from all the study participants beforehand.

The data collection tool was unlinked anonymous containing questions in simple language to get feedback in a nonthreatening environment. This was an open-ended questionnaire on the internalization of the participants regarding this 2-day long workshop. This instrument was prepared and pretested among second-year residents by the members of the medical education unit with the experts of medical education of the institute and from outside medical institutes. All the resource persons provided the resource materials of their deliberations as PowerPoint presentations for further readings by the participants.

Altogether six open-ended questions were there in this questionnaire as follows:

  1. What are your comments regarding the research methodology workshop?
  2. What part/s you liked best about this research methodology workshop?
  3. Why you liked the best topic (marked by you) about this research methodology workshop?
  4. What part/s you liked worst about this research methodology workshop?
  5. What part/s you liked unnecessary about this research methodology workshop?
  6. How the workshop on “Making an effective research paper” could have been better?

Data collection procedure

All the participants (total 49) of the study were primed and sensitized regarding our plan for their feedback that would have been collected at the end of this workshop. The feedback tool was administered to all the participants after the last session of the workshop on “Making an effective research paper” was over on the 2nd day. The idea was to find their immediate evaluation and intended application of their newfound knowledge to their future plans in open-ended questions.

Data analysis

The collected data was analyzed by the researchers themselves at the institute. Content analysis of the data was done and classified accordingly after extensive in-house series of discussions. Further, we attempted to classify the feedback of the participants as cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains of learning; also, we attempted to classify the responses as subjective and objective ideation.

  Results Top

There were a total of 49 participants of which 31 were male and 18 were female; the age range of the participants was 24–41 years (male: 25–41 years, female: 24–30 years); the mean age was 29.38 ± 4.16 years (male: 30.67 ± 4.62, female: 27.16 ± 1.72 years).

In this qualitative research, the participants opined freely with multiple responses even when they were asked about “best” or “worst” which should have been a single response.

In response to “Comments regarding the research methodology workshop,” more than half of the participants agreed on positive aspects of the workshop regarding their improved cognition with relevant information about scientific publications. A few more participants stressed on their joy of updating from elaborate as well as acknowledgeable discussions, while in the affective domain, they provided positive aspects of creation of favorable learning atmosphere for them.

Female participants specifically commented with “Comprehensible learning about research method,” “Applicable knowledge about research method,” and “More intellectual discussion about research method.” Regarding the organization of the workshop, the crowd was divided and few were even bold to comment as “Less organised research workshop.”

It was noted that, overall, the participants favoured the following three sessions as the best: “Reference writing,” “Plagiarism check,” and “Search relevant article and write the Literature review.” Other topics followed as “best” by others were “How to setup Aims and objectives for Research Paper,” “Methodology and result interpretation,” “Fundamental steps of research paper writing,” and “How to write effective discussion and conclusion” sessions of the workshop. Only three male participants liked sessions: “Tabulation, graphical presentation and interpretation of result,” “Basic statistical method for qualitative and quantitative data,” and “Testing hypothesis and its interpretation,” which were not shared by any female participants.

In response to the question, “Why you liked the best topic about this research methodology workshop” (marked by them), a great majority of the participants felt that they had “learnt many new things,” in the “Interactive sessions” and the information was focused and relevant. A few of them mentioned that they had “novel and debut experience,” “eye opening discussion,” and “helped to generate curiosity.” Others mentioned that there was “more explanation with examples” in the sessions to be “helpful for better publications” and understandable teaching. Only a few of the female participants expressed that their doubts had been cleared.

In response to the question, “What part/s you liked worst about this research methodology workshop,” most of the participants expressed that no part was worst. In their feedback some of the study participants demarcated as “worst” regarding few topics viz. “Basic statistics”, “Tabulation, Graphical presentation and Interpretation of result,” and “Testing hypothesis and its interpretation” ; two participants commented on “Plagiarism” marked as “worst”, while singleton felt “Application of statistics in own thesis” most awful.

In response to the question, “What part/s you think unnecessary about this research methodology workshop,” only six participants mentioned “Biostatistics” part as unnecessary, while all other participants opined “nothing, was unnecessary.”

On the question, “How the research methodology workshop could have been better?,” the responses were “Workshop should have been arranged before their synopsis submission” regarding deadline of that academic year, “Reading material should be distributed beforehand,” “Hectic long sessions should be avoided,” and “Discussions should be more focussed and specific.” Opinions from the participants also hovered around higher expectations of workshop organization and supportive logistics, namely “Arrangement of a greater interactive sessions,” “Arrangement of more number of practical group activities,” “Inclusion of more audio-visual sessions,” and “Planning of short stepwise discussions.” Further, a few of the participants expressed their frustrations about the absence of cozy infrastructure, namely “Comfortable seating arrangements,” “Provisions of more refreshments,” and “Better facilities of rest rooms nearby.”

Outside the session, during tea and lunch break, and also in post session informal feedback, many participants expressed their views and opened their mind regarding different aspects of the workshop that were not reflected in their formal feedback later (c. f. Elevator talk/Corridor talk). To mention a few, the participants expected regular sessions and periodic reinforcement of their learning in future sessions under the leadership of throbbing medical education unit. Further, they felt that it could have better if they were provided free choice regarding the topics of their dissertation on which they felt interested about.

It was further noted that active participation in the workshop along with candid and detailed feedback reduced as the age increased in our participants from 30s to 40s.

Investigators also noted that the responses could have been classified as follows: subjective, namely “Excellent learning” and “Well organized,” and objective, namely “Relevant information” and “Updated knowledge” among others. Further, in the “Learning Domains,” responses were cognitive, namely “Informative discussion” and “Reading material; affective, namely 'Good communication,” “Interactive;” and Psychomotor, namely “Applicable knowledge” and “Applicability of statistics” (intended practice).

  Discussions Top

In recent years during transition from conventional accreditation of medical education from “Medical Council of India” to “National Medical Commission,” profound changes are taking place in medical course and curriculum in India to improve the standards of education. Competency-based medical education (CBME) has replaced the age-old concept of cognitive domain of learning. Further, knowledge-based medical education has breached the barriers of textbooks and didactic lectures to free access to an ocean of knowledge including the Internet, electronic journals, educational videos, webinars, and videoconferencing as convenient concepts of capacity building. To achieve the goal of competent “Make in India” doctor, newer teaching–learning and assessment methodologies have evolved, namely in the postgraduate medical education from 2019, a “compulsory online training on research methods (Basic course of biomedical research) from ICMR and NIE” has been made mandatory within the first year of enrollment in any postgraduate course in any college across India; The centralised summative evaluation at the conclusion of the course, at defined centres, to standardise “how the students are learning indicating teaching standards” is an integral aspect of this phase of postgraduate medical education.”

Any scientific medical curriculum develops in response to requirement of students, institution, and communities by their feedback about course and curriculum as the useful basis to modify and improve the spectrum of medical education. Hence, we visualized that only through feedback of the participants on “Making an effective research paper,” we could have identified areas of strength and weakness of the workshop so that steps can be taken to rectify deficiencies for future activities to achieve the intended goal.

Our observation was supported by other studies. In a recent Indian study on Revised Basic Course workshop (Medical Council of India) for faculty members in a medical institute in Gujarat, majority of the participants were satisfied with interactions, explanatory notes, and relevance of logistics during participatory contribution. Incidentally, the participants in the study were largely young fresh recruits in their mid-30s with medical teaching experience without training in medical educational technologies.[3] In the United States, self-reported narrative responses showed effectiveness and active application exercises and facilitated feedback in the workshop to allow learners to reflect in real-time application on a specific educational objective.[4] Literature reports effectiveness of the open-ended questionnaire on internalization of the participants on complete constructive response.[1]

Compared to non-academic responses in our study, the participants in a study from Nepal echoed higher expectations on the infrastructure and logistics, namely power supply, quality food, extended and organized workshop schedule, providing proceeding handouts, and quality audio-visual arrangements with the need of more explanatory and interactive sessions.[5]

Early in this new millennium the responses after a half day training on “Problem based learning: Tutorial Facilitation Skills Workshop” conducted at Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan, included increase of duration of workshop for better capacity building; this suggestion was well taken and was compiled.[6]

Indian participants' feedbacks regarding workshop on the purpose of the mentorship program were positive and valuable on the change in thinking about mentoring and expected repetitions of the same. The workshop was effective and matched with the local context and conducted by brainstorming sessions and scheduling involving the course director and course faculties.[7]

Different comparable studies noted that health-care students and professionals have grown keen interests in capacity building through research methodology workshops. Assessment tools for studying the long-term effects of such workshops need to be developed to evaluate the results of educational workshops more scientifically. It was noted that an increase in the cognitive domain was comparable to findings of our feedback analysis whether there was heterogeneous or homogeneous group of participants.[8],[9],[10],[11],[12]

The learners felt an overall improvement in their confidence regarding academic writing capabilities after workshop.[13]

Further, researchers in this field observed that learner-centered approach in faculty development programs is highly effective as conceptual and contextual to their academic activities.[14],[15]

Comparable to our study, participants in other studies also reported on-the-spot increment in cognitive domains.[16],[17]

On the contrary, other research groups reported deterioration of enhanced knowledge in absence of reinforcement and practical implementation in their academic growth. This happens in addition to the training modules containing hand-on training tasks, conditions, and instruction strategies.[18],[19]

Other research groups opined that during designing of any teaching–learning program, we need a tailor-made outline on retention and transfer of knowledge and skill domains. Moreover, follow-up of training should be done by providing optimum learning materials for sustainable academic growth.[20]

The researcher of this study believes that there could be real value in this thoughtful, focused, and clearly written paper on postgraduate research training under supervision and instruction, particularly the support of scholarly writing. The participants were predominantly postgraduate trainees and busy in their capacity building in accordance with the regulatory body's courses and curricula. However, since the workshop, we have followed them on the valuable outcome that quite a few of them reportedly published their research works following the workshop for the first time in their academic life. This information would be very important to the workshop organizers as it was the evaluation findings, both as immediate and long term, including consideration of participant satisfaction. This information would be of great value to the wider audience as it is adding value to the context of CBME as per the Medical Council of India.[21]

Strengths of the study

This workshop was an attempt by the medical education unit of our institute to prepare a competent primary care physician, in collaboration with the Institute of Applied Statistics, National Institute of Medical Statistics-ICMR, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of National Institute of Cancer Prevention Research – ICMR. Further, this dedicated workshop on “Making an effective research paper” was exclusively to sensitize the first-year postgraduate medical students who have to complete mandatory online research methodology course stipulated by the National Medical Commission. During follow–up, the participants reported to the researchers that they were confident in academic publications and few of them showed us their debut publications from their studies.

Limitations of the study

Our paper mainly focused on the immediate feedback from students attending a 2-day workshop. It was also noted that the participants hesitated to comment candidly regarding few sessions, namely “Informed consent process” among other subtopics. This issue was categorically discussed among our co-investigators and it was felt that it could have been better if we could collect feedback after each session separately to avoid recall bias.

  Conclusions Top

This 2-day workshop had a positive impact on the augmentation regarding the competency of scientific writing skills of the participating postgraduate students of the first year of our institute. On the topic of research workshop on “Making an effective research paper,” the learners rated the workshop constructively for each prompt with gain in broad-based cognitive domain with positive motivations for intended practice in their academic growth. Their qualitative comments enriched us with corroboration of the effectiveness of the futuristic vision to develop and implement different strategies to address specific needs. Yet, it has been a question to the investigators of the current study regarding retention of this knowledge after a year or more.


We are indebted to the participants for their expression of candid feedback regarding the workshop.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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