PURPOSE: This intervention was aimed to analyse the effect of academic writing and journal critiquing as educational approaches in improving critical thinking and collaborative learning among undergraduate medical students.
METHODS: A research proposal writing format was created for the 4th year medical students of Melaka Manipal Medical College, Malaysia during their ophthalmology clinical postings. The students worked in small groups and developed research protocols through an evidence based approach. This was followed by writing reflective summaries in academic portfolios about the activity undertaken. A mixed methods study was designed to explore the possible role of collaborative research proposal writing in enhancing critical thinking and collaborative learning.
RESULTS: Analysis of reflections submitted by 188 medical students after the intervention indicate that majority of them found an improvement in their skills of critical thinking and collaborative learning as a result of research protocol writing. All participants agreed that the model helped in applying concepts to new situations in the form of designing their own study, which reflected in enhanced higher order cognitive skills.
CONCLUSION: This study shows that the introduction of a structured module in the core medical curriculum that focuses on research writing skills embedded with collaborative and reflective practices can enhance collaborative learning, critical thinking, and reasoning among medical students.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.