Medical Education


1991 Cohort

The largest and undoubtedly the best of the three cohort studies carried out from St Mary's. A fundamental truth about research seems to be that when one does a study for the first time, one thinks it will be fine. It never is, and the second study is meant to solve the problems that arose. It does, but further problems arise, and it is really only at the third attempt that most things come together properly, and the study really works. Thus it was with the 1991 cohort.

The 1991 cohort is named, following standard UCCA / UCAS conventions, in terms of the year in which applicants wanted to enter medical school, which was October1991. However, the candidates had applied a year previously, in Autumn 1990.

Participants. The 6901 participants (of whom 5918 were EU residents and were sent postal questionnaires) ,  consisted of all applicants to five English* medical schools. selected, as far as possible, for having disparate pools of applicants. Because in 1990, each applicant could apply to a total of five universities, the result was that the survey included about 70% of all applicants to the then 28 UK medical schools, and 69.7% of all entrants to UK medical schools, with reasonable numbers of applicants and entrants at each school.

*The study was funded in part by the Department of Health, and therefore only English schools could be included, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland schools being covered by the Scottish Office, Welsh Office and Northern Ireland office.

Data collection. The participants were studied at the following times, with the following instruments:

Study Brief description
Applicants survey Applicant questionnaire (1.665 MB) sent by post within two weeks of UCCA form arriving at medical school. Sixteen A4 pages
Psychometric testing Applicants interviewed at St Mary's, UMDS, or Sheffield were asked to participate in a two hour psychometric testing session on the morning of their interview. Psychometric form (pdf 972 kb).
Third year questionnaire Questionnaire (260kB) sent only to third year students in the University of London, primarily asking about career interests. Four A4 pages (pdf 260kB).
Final year questionnaire Questionnaire (pdf 1858 kB) sent to all final year students still in medical schools, in 1996, 1997 or 1998. Twenty A4 pages
PRHO questionnaire Questionnaire (pdf 262 kB) sent in the last two months of PRHO posts, in 1997, 1998 or 1999. Four A4 pages . Click here for explanatory notes on the items in the questionnaire.
2002 questionnaire Questionnaire (pdf  46kb) sent to all individuals with Medical Register/Medical Directory addresses. Doctors were mostly SHOs, SpRs, or in General Practise. Four A4 pages. More information is available here about scoring the brief Big Five questionnaire and the Abbreviated Burnout Inventory (which includes items on career satisfaction).
 2009 questionnaire
Questionnaire (pdf 59kb) sent to all doctors registered with the General Medical Council and others for whom addresses were available. Four A4 pages, with a range of measures, some of which have been used in previous surveys. The survey which took place from March to December 2009 was part of a broader one sent to a number of different cohorts that we have studied.

Data from the 1991 cohort study have been used in a range of publications, including:

Click here for a full list of research studies on medical education, many of which have included information about the 1991 cohort.