In a significant step, the Medical Council of India (MCI) made the online course in research methods called ‘Basic Course in Bio-medical Research’ mandatory for all postgraduate students as well as for faculty who has no prior formal training in research. Students will have to complete the online course by the end of their second semester.
While the 8-week online course will be provided free of cost, students and teachers will have to pay the examination fee of Rs 1000. The exams will be conducted twice a year and those who clear the exam will be certified.
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According to the MCI, the course will have 23 topics and each topic will have online assignments consisting of 10 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) each. Each MCQ will constitute for one mark each, taking the total marks dedicated to assignments to 230. Students will have to score a minimum of 50 per cent marks in assignments to be eligible to appear for exams.
The online course will be conducted by the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) and disseminated through the government portal – Swayam. Talking about the need of the course the MCI in a written notice said, “In order to improve the research skills of post-graduate (PG) students and faculty, the Board of Governors (BoG) has recommended a uniform research methodology course across the country.”
It added, “To comprehend the evidence published in biomedical literature, doctors need to have an understanding of research methods. Therefore, acquiring research skills is an integral component of postgraduate training.”
The curriculum will include topics such as research study, epidemiological and bio-statistical considerations in designing a research study, planning and conducting a research study, writing a research protocol and publication ethics.
Meanwhile, for undergraduate or MBBS courses a month-long foundation course with special emphasis on professional and behaviour ethics along with other skills consisting of computer training and English skills have been introduced for MBBS.