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African Journal of Health Professions Education

On-line version ISSN 2078-5127


GROSSMAN, E S. Content analysis of the South African MMed mini-dissertation. Afr. J. Health Prof. Educ. (Online) [online]. 2020, vol.12, n.2, pp.56-61. ISSN 2078-5127.

BACKGROUND: There is no baseline information on the South African (SA) MMed mini-dissertation, which became a compulsory (and controversial) research component for specialist registration in 2011. OBJECTIVE: To obtain evidence-based information regarding the current composition of the research output of the MMed mini-dissertation. METHODS: SA MMed mini-dissertations (N=307) were downloaded from electronic theses and dissertation websites and 8 university repositories that provide specialist training. Fourteen variables were noted for each mini-dissertation, the data were entered into an Excel (2016) (Microsoft, USA) spreadsheet and analysed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: The 307 mini-dissertations, representing 24 of the Colleges of Medicine of SA, were submitted from 1996 to 2018, mainly in monograph format (76%) and almost equally divided between prospective and retrospective studies. Observational studies predominated, with meta-analyses, systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials comprising 5% of the sample. Although quantitative investigations dominated (82%), just less than half of these used statistics to test variables. Confirmed ethical compliance improved from 41% in pre-2011 dissertations to 83% for dissertations submitted during 2015 - 2018. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides descriptive data on the SA MMed mini-dissertation. Comparisons indicate that the MMed research component compares favourably with the content and research approach of similar international specialist trainee research outputs

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