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BMC Medical Education

, 7:51

First Online: 05 December 2007Received: 16 July 2007Accepted: 05 December 2007


BackgroundTeaching the principles of scientific research in a comprehensive way is important at medical and dental schools. In many countries medical and dental training is not complete until the candidate has presented a diploma thesis. The objective of this study was to evaluate the nature, quality, publication pattern and visibility of Finnish medical diploma theses.

MethodsA total of 256 diploma theses presented at the University of Oulu from 2001 to 2003 were analysed. Using a standardised questionnaire, we extracted several characteristics from each thesis. We used the name of the student to assess whether the thesis resulted in a scientific publication indexed in medical article databases. The number of citations received by each published thesis was also recorded.

ResultsA high proportion of the theses 69.5% were essentially statistical in character, often combined with an extensive literature review or the development of a laboratory method. Most of them were supervised by clinical departments 55.9%. Only 61 theses 23.8% had been published in indexed scientific journals. Theses in the fields of biomedicine and diagnostics were published in more widely cited journals. The median number of citations received per year was 2.7 and the range from 0 to 14.7.

ConclusionThe theses were seldom written according to the principles of scientific communication and the proportion of actually published was small. The visibility of these theses and their dissemination to the scientific community should be improved.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6920-7-51 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Pentti Nieminen - Kirsi Sipilä - Hanna-Mari Takkinen - Marjo Renko - Leila Risteli


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