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Evaluation of a curriculum initiative designed to enhance the research training of dietetics graduates


Desbrow, B and Leveritt, M and Palmer, M and Hughes, R, Evaluation of a curriculum initiative designed to enhance the research training of dietetics graduates, Nutrition and Dietetics, 71, (1) pp. 57-63. ISSN 1446-6368 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Dietitians Association of Australia

DOI: doi:10.1111/1747-0080.12039


Aim: To qualitatively evaluate a learning and teaching intervention for developing research and evaluation competencies, structured around the experience of having to conduct a significant research project.

Methods: A qualitative study utilising semi‐structured interviews among a sample of 25 recent graduates from Griffith University's Master of Nutrition and Dietetics Program. Interviews explored student motivations for doing the research major, the student's experience of the full‐time semester long research project, and the actual and perceived outcomes of this experience. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed via open coding and triangular analysis by three of the authors.

Results: All of the graduates interviewed had conducted research projects across a range of practice settings. Motivations for electing to do the research major varied from disinterest in other options to an opportunity to ‘taste‐test’ research, to develop research competencies and secure pathways to later research studies. The student learning experience was described as intense, stressful but rewarding and a steep learning curve. Graduates reported that they learned much more than research competencies during this process and many converted this research activity into a research output (journal article or conference abstract). Students reflected on the strong sense of achievement associated with research outputs and the competitive advantage it had provided on seeking graduate employment.

Conclusions: It is possible to develop graduate dietitians' research and evaluation competencies using curriculum initiatives that exploit experiential learning. Exposing students to the research practice cycle culminating in peer‐reviewed publication builds research self‐efficacy and positions students for good employment outcomes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and Dietetics
Research Field:Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)
Objective Field:Nutrition
UTAS Author:Hughes, R (Mr Roger Hughes)
ID Code:126722
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Office of the School of Medicine
Deposited On:2018-06-21
Last Modified:2018-08-16

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