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Shaping the Future of Medicine: The Effect of ‘Selective’ Choices on Tomorrow’s Doctors


  • Susan Thomas*

    () (Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University)

  • Amreeta Dhanoa

    () (Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University)

  • Uma D. Palanisamy

    () (Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University)


This pilot case study examined the motivation behind selective choices taken by medical students in a Malaysian university. The study also considered the beneficial outcomes of Selective choices and educational activities that proved most useful. Qualitative approaches were used through triangulation methods such as semi-structured questionnaires, observation and document analysis. The study revealed that student choices were influenced by the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills (35.5 per cent), the prospects of having fun and excitement (24.4 per cent) and a general interest in the topic chosen (20 per cent). The educational activities found to be most useful were external visits (47.8 per cent) and practically based topics (34.4 per cent). A significant proportion (48.9 per cent) indicated that the Selectives taken have created awareness, provided new knowledge and valuable exposure to different educational experiences. The students reported that the courses have enhanced their personal development (13.3 per cent) and have given them new insights. The results of this study provided valuable insights into future improvements to the Selective courses, thus creative ways in designing the teaching and the delivery of the courses were implemented. In conclusion, the Selectives provided valuable exposure to students, widened their knowledge and skills both inside and outside traditional areas of medicine.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Thomas* & Amreeta Dhanoa & Uma D. Palanisamy, 2012. "Shaping the Future of Medicine: The Effect of ‘Selective’ Choices on Tomorrow’s Doctors," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 4(2), pages 151-164, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:umk:journl:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:151-164

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sabatier, Paul A., 1986. "Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches to Implementation Research: a Critical Analysis and Suggested Synthesis," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 21-48, January.
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    More about this item


    educational activities; medical students; selective choices; selective influence;

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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