OBJECTIVES: to assess the knowledge and attitude regarding research ethics and its association with previous research exposure and academic qualification among food and nutrition graduate students of Pakistan.
METHODS: This cross-sectional survey was conducted from April-May 2016. A structured-questionnaire was e-mailed to food and nutrition students from different cities of Pakistan. The questionnaire had four parts; demography, prior exposure to research, knowledge and attitude regarding research ethics. Chi-Square Test and Fisher’s Exact test were applied to assess association and data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPPS) version 20.
RESULTS: The mean age of the participants was 28.964 +7.985 years (range 21-59). A total of 280/400 (70%) respondents completed the questionnaire. Majority (91.1 %) of the participants was females and 60% had completed post-graduate education. About 96.4% participants reported prior involvement in research but only 21.4% had international publications. More than 80% of the respondents stated that they had knowledge about key concepts of research ethics but only 41.1% knew about Nuremberg Code and 42.9% about Helsinki Declaration. Scenario-based statements assessing attitudes had mixed results. Previous exposure to research, training in research ethics, international publications, application to research ethics committee (REC), and being a post-graduate was associated with knowledge of ethical principles (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION: Self-reported knowledge was good but students lacked correct attitude. Post-graduate students and those with research experience had better knowledge regarding research ethics.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge (MeSH); Attitude (MeSH); Research (MeSH); Ethics (MeSH); Students (MeSH); Ethics Committees, Research (MeSH); Codes of Ethics (MeSH); Helsinki Declaration (MeSH).
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