An integrated model for developing research skills in an undergraduate medical curriculum: appraisal of an approach using student selected components
Student selected components (SSCs), at that time termed special study modules, were arguably the most innovative element in Tomorrow’s Doctors (1993), the document from the General Medical Council that initiated the modernization of medical curricula in the UK. SSCs were proposed to make up one-third of the medical curriculum and provide students with choice, whilst allowing individual schools autonomy in how SSCs were utilized. In response, at the University of Edinburgh the undergraduate medical curriculum provides an integrated and sequential development and assessment of research skill learning outcomes, for all students in the SSC programme. The curriculum contains SSCs which provide choice to students in all 5 years. There are four substantial timetabled SSCs where students develop research skills in a topic and speciality of their choice. These SSCs are fully integrated and mapped with core learning outcomes and assessment, particularly with the ‘Evidence-Based Medicine and Research’ programme theme.