Introduction: in this study we used a model of adult learning to explore undergraduate students’ views on how to improve the teaching of research methods and biostatistics. Methods: this was a secondary analysis of survey data of 600 undergraduate students from three medical schools in Uganda. The analysis looked at student’s responses to an open ended section of a questionnaire on their views on undergraduate teaching of research methods and biostatistics. Qualitative phenomenological data analysis was done with a bias towards principles of adult learning. Results: students appreciated the importance of learning research methods and biostatistics as a way of understanding research problems; appropriately interpreting statistical concepts during their training and post-qualification practice; and translating the knowledge acquired. Stressful teaching environment and inadequate educational resource materials were identified as impediments to effective learning. Suggestions for improved learning included: early and continuous exposure to the course; more active and practical approach to teaching; and a need for mentorship. Conclusion: the current methods of teaching research methods and biostatistics leave most of the students in the dissonance phase of learning resulting in none or poor student engagement that results in a failure to comprehend and/or appreciate the principles governing the use of different research methods.
The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24