Background: In this exploratory study we focused on mentoring relations between formal mentors and graduate research students in health and life sciences. The aims were to assess the contribution of personal and professional mentors’ attributes (as well as academic skills), as perceived by the students, to students’ research motivation, research skills development and overall satisfaction from graduate studies in the Faulty of Health Sciences.
Methods: 116 Israeli graduate (Masters’ and doctoral) students responded to a questionnaire sent by e-mail that assessed students’ perception of mentors’ attributes, and students’ perception of their own research motivation, research skills development and general satisfaction from graduate studies in the Faculty.
Results: Exploratory factor analysis extracted three mentors’ attributes: Active guidance skills, expertise and flexibility. Of the three factors, the respondents evaluated mentors’ expertise as highest, and active guidance skills as lowest. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) revealed that the active guidance skills attribute was the best predictor of all students’ outcomes. Surprisingly, expertise was a negative predictor for students’ perceptions of skills development.
Conclusions: The instruments compiled for this specific context and the theoretical model suggested here should be further tested and developed to verify their validity and utility. The findings imply that mentors’ active guidance skills have a significant contribution to students’ outcomes. However, they also suggest that the students perceived their mentors as somewhat lacking in these skills. This attribute should therefore be the target for interventions aimed at improving mentoring quality in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Fortunately, activities such as guidance in literature surveys and praising small achievements are rather amenable to change through faculty staff development and training.
|Keywords:||Formal Mentoring, Research Students, Life Sciences, Health Sciences, Motivation for Research, Research Skills Development, Student Satisfaction|
Head, Department of Sociology of Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
PhD Student, Education, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Head of School of Health Professions, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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