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Students’ satisfaction and perceived impact on knowledge, attitudes and skills after a 2-day course in scientific writing: a prospective longitudinal study in Spain
  1. Esteve Fernández1,2,
  2. Ana M García3,
  3. Elisabet Serés4,
  4. Fèlix Bosch4,5
  1. 1 Tobacco Control Unit, Institut Català d’Oncologia (ICO-IDIBELL), Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Medicine, Campus de Bellvitge, Universitat de Barcelona, L’Hospitalet del Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain
  4. 4 Esteve Foundation, Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5 Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, School of Health and Life Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Esteve Fernández; efernandez{at}iconcologia.net

Abstract

Objectives This study aimed to determine students’ satisfaction with a 2-day course on scientific writing in health sciences and to assess their perceptions of the long-term impact on their knowledge, attitudes and skills.

Setting 27 iterations of a 2-day course on writing and publishing scientific articles in health sciences.

Participants 741 students attending the 27 courses.

Design Prospective longitudinal study.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Immediately after each course, students completed a first questionnaire, rating their satisfaction with different aspects of the classroom sessions on a Likert scale (0–5). Approximately 2 years after the course, students completed a follow-up questionnaire, using a Likert scale (0–4) to rate their knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to scientific writing before and after attending the course.

Results 741 students (70% women) participated in the 27 iterations of the course; 568 (76.8%) completed the first questionnaire and 182 (24.6%) completed the follow-up questionnaire. The first questionnaire reflected high overall satisfaction (mean score, 4.6). In the second questionnaire, students reported that the course had improved their knowledge (mean improvement: 1.6; 95% CI 1.6 to 1.7), attitudes (mean improvement: 1.3; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.4) and skills (mean improvement: 1.4; 95% CI 1.3 to 1.4) related to writing and publishing scientific papers. Most respondents (n=145, 79.7%) had participated in drafting a scientific paper after the course; in this subgroup, all the specific writing skills assessed in the second questionnaire significantly improved.

Conclusions Students were satisfied with the format and the contents of the course, and those who responded to the follow-up survey considered that the course had improved their knowledge, attitudes and skills in relation to scientific writing and publishing. Courses are particularly important in countries without strong traditions in scientific publication.

  • journalology
  • publishing
  • observationl study

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Footnotes

  • Preliminary results of this study ‘Fernández E, García AM, Serés E, Bosch F. Ten years’ experience teaching health professionals to write and to publish articles. Available at ' were presented in poster format at the Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publications, 8-10 September 2013, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

  • Contributors EF, AMG and FB conceived and designed the study. All the authors designed the questionnaires. EF and AMG designed the analysis strategy; ES and FB analysed the data and all the authors contributed to its interpretation. EF and FB wrote the first draft of the manuscript; all authors contributed substantially to subsequent versions of the manuscript and all authors approved the final version.

  • Funding The training course described in this study was funded by the Esteve Foundation, a private non-profit foundation under Spanish Law. Some iterations of the course have received partial funding from third parties, such as public universities, public hospitals, public research centers and scientific societies. EF was partly funded by the Department of Universities and Research, Government of Catalonia (2014SGR999).

  • Competing interests EF and AMG received fees as lecturers for conducting these courses, but did not receive any fee for the design, analysis or writing of this paper. ES and FB are employees of the Esteve Foundation, a private non-profit foundation under Spanish Law. ES and FB have participated in the courses and the preparation of this paper as part of their paid work.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Participants provided informed consent to participate in the study (oral consent for the first satisfaction questionnaire and written consent for the follow-up questionnaire). As the surveys were conducted as part of the routine evaluation of the course, as approved by the Council for Continuing Education, no further ethics approval was required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement A full data set of results is available from the corresponding author.

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