Background: Although peer support is common in research training, supplementary instruction using Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) is an approach yet to be applied to research training.
Objectives: To develop, implement and evaluate a PASS program for research trainees.
Method: Participants were post-bachelor honours students. PASS was provided weekly.
Demographic, academic and PASS data were collected from institutional records. Students completed standardised PASS satisfaction evaluations.
Results: N=21 students (9 male, 12 female; exercise science n=5, biomedical science n=7, science n=2, public health n=4, nutrition n=3). Standard undergraduate PASS administrative, funding and reporting strategies were successfully applied. Leader selection, training and PASS resource development processes were adapted for the research training context. 2012 median attendance was 5 and 4.5 in 2013. Student satisfaction was very high.
Discussion: Although peer support is common in research training, there is a lack of standardization in these interventions. PASS provides methodological consistency and an underpinning conceptual framework to give clear expectations about the process, leader and participant roles, and mechanisms to evaluate impact. As PASS enables opportunities for peer-to-peer social exchange, this method may also provide a way of embedding interpretive approaches to researcher role development that are institutionally sanctioned but outside student-supervisor-research team relationships.
Cusick A, Camer D, Stamenkovic A, Zaccagnini M: Supplementary instruction for research trainees using a peer assisted study session approach. Journal of Peer Learning 2015, In Press. (Research Article)