Foundation Skills for Veterinary Medical Research

Sharon Boyd, Andrew Gardiner, Claire Phillips, Jessie Paterson, Carolyn Morton, Fiona Brown, Iain Robbé

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Group and individual projects form a throughline of research embedded within the undergraduate veterinary medical degree programme at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (R(D)SVS). The Research Skills Foundation course, undertaken in second year, is one of the first step in developing student research skills. The design of the group project specifically encourages students to make connections, both within the discipline and more broadly. Core skills such as information management, critical enquiry and public engagement are enhanced, with the aim of preparing students for individual research projects later in the programme. Confidence in professional communication is essential, both for workplace learning and developing the individual research project in later years, but also for professional practice. The course is structured as a group project assignment, with students required to select a topic out with the taught veterinary curriculum. This allows students to make interdisciplinary connections beyond the programme. The focus is not on doing "original" research, but rather on finding, integrating & synthesising original knowledge, and critically, correctly identifying robust sources of evidence. The project is student-led, with opportunities to meet with staff and discuss progress and/or seek advice. Course review is directly influenced by student input through a staff-student committee. This learning dialogue builds on the learning & teaching ethos across the degree more broadly. The course is designed to exploit themes that affect and connect animals, people, societies, countries and the world as a whole. The project should incorporate both a sustainability theme, e.g. socio-economics, welfare or ethics, together with species-specific knowledge. The aim of including a species-specific theme was to encourage students to connect their research project with knowledge gained through workplace learning completed as part of the veterinary programme. The final Research Skills Foundation project submission is a group blog and poster presentation. The poster presentation is similar in format to that used by a recognised veterinary education conference. The group blog was added in response to comments from students in the previous year and is in line with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ (RCVS) initiative to encourage clinical research by practitioners. The blog allows the students to expand on the topic in greater detail than permitted in the presentation. It also provides a route for public engagement, as blogs can be made publicly available after marking if the students choose. This chapter will demonstrate how the Research Skills Foundation group project effectively integrates teaching and research through a “connected curriculum” approach, providing the essential skills required to undertake individual research projects in later years. It will also describe how the process of research supervision provided by teaching staff develops students’ self-efficacy and confidence as members of the veterinary research community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping the Higher Education Curriculum
Subtitle of host publicationResearch-Based Education in Practice
EditorsDilly Fung, Brent Carnell
PublisherUCL Press
ISBN (Electronic)978‑1‑78735‑087‑8, 978‑1‑78735‑089‑2
ISBN (Print)978‑1‑78735‑088‑5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Student selected components
  • Higher education


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