Our earlier research indicated that the AADR Student Research Group (SRG) had a positive influence on those going into graduate education. For the last seven years, the West Virginia University School of Dentistry (WVU SOD) has held an annual SRG Get Acquainted Luncheon for dental and dental hygiene students. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of this SRG luncheon to stimulate student research.
All undergraduate WVU SOD students were invited to attend a free luncheon and hear about research at the WVU SOD. Approximately 100 students accepted the invitation and were asked to participate in the evaluation which included a baseline questionnaire consisting of demographic information as well as 6 Likert style questions. Items included current interest in doing research; knowledge of faculty/student research interests; information on the AADR and WVU SRG and their activities; interest in joining the AADR, and whether the lunch was beneficial overall. After a one hour program which included faculty and undergraduate/ graduate student research presentations along with research information about the SRG and the AADR, an almost identical post questionnaire was administered. Both surveys were coded for individual comparisons. Comparative analysis utilized the Wilcoxon Signed Ranks.
Out of approximately 100 students, 78 agreed to participate. Of these, 86% were dental students (DS) and 14% were dental hygiene students (DHS). Statistically significant differences were noted between all the baseline and posttest Likert style questions for the DS indicating increased knowledge transfer (p < 0.05) while only one question was significant for the DHS. Overall, 85% of the DS and 72% of the DHS felt that the luncheon was a positive experience in increasing research interest.
The SRG Get Acquainted Luncheon had a positive effect in stimulating student research and may be useful in other dental schools.
Keywords: Assessment, Education research, Evaluation, Learning and student research
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