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The Development and Piloting of a Doctoral Candidates’ Colloquium in Family Medicine

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2012.0232-0237

german translation / full article

Monika Sennekamp, Hans-Michael Schäfer, Antje Erler, Barbara Hoffmann, Juliana J. Petersen, Corina Guethlin, Zeycan Albay, Christiane Muth, Jutta Will, Tatjana Blazejewski, Birgit Schorsch, Carolin Lilienkamp, Birgit Fullerton, Ferdinand Michael Gerlach

Keywords: Education Doctoral Candidates’ Colloquium Medical Dissertation Family Medicine

Background: At 60%, the proportion of students of human medicine that complete doctorates is very high. However, their quality has been repeatedly criticized on account of scientific deficiencies. Increasingly, colloquiums to structure basic scientific education are organized at medical faculties for doctoral candidates . The Institute of General Practice/Family Medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt has developed and piloted a colloquium for medical doctoral candidates. The aim of this paper is to present the structure of the colloquium, as well as the results of the pilot phase (practicability, addressing the needs of doctoral candidates and optimization of modules).

Methods: The colloquium was developed between 2007 and 2009. The pilot phase took place between 2009 and 2010. As part of an initial survey, doctoral candidates were asked for a self-assessment of their prior knowledge and asked about the perceived relevance of individual topics. Individual courses were also assessed during the colloquium.

Results: The concept contains eleven modules covering the basics of scientific research (e.g. literature search). Specialized methods can be learned during optional modules (e.g. preparation of a systematic review). 15 doctoral candidates participated in the pilot phase (average age: 27 years). They described themselves as having poor knowledge of a wide range of topics from a literature search to scientific writing. The individual courses were rated as very good to good. Active participation in the courses was regarded as important, while the content was sometimes criticized as being not timely enough. The colloquium was also viewed positively by the supervisors. Since 2011, the colloquium is offered to all medical doctoral candidates throughout the faculty.

Conclusion: The presented colloquium offers a structured way of teaching the basics for scientific work – in addition to individual tutoring. It was possible to implement the concept during the pilot phase and to address the needs of doctoral candidates. The long-term implementation throughout the faculty will be evaluated prospectively.


(State: 15.05.2012)

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