Research status and profile of the second didactic dietetics programme in Saudi Arabia: a response from a diaspora of graduates, Dr. Elham Aljaaly

Dr. Elham Aljaaly
King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia

PURPOSE: To measure the quality and quantity of practice used in relation to research for students and faculty members of the second established Saudi Dietetic programme at King Abdualaziz University (KAU).
DESIGN/METHODS: The quantity, type and approaches used in conducting research in the KAU dietetic programme were measured and identified considering major components in defining criteria of quantity, quality, funds, research awards, data collection and reports concerning faculty and students’ participation in research. A feedback survey based on alumni students was also conducted.
FINDINGS: The applied nutrition research based on final year research projects was mainly related to clinical dietetics and practice (62%). Other research was related to public health, management or other taught sciences. The results of the conducted alumni feedback survey (responses = 33 out 188 graduates) showed that only 65.6% of students had adequate budget and facilities provided for their research projects. About 29% (n = 4 out of 29) of the graduates carried out joint research projects; not all contributions were appropriately acknowledged. Only 19% of students had their research published in peer-reviewed journals, and 53% thought that their study and research training period of the programme prepared them well to undertake research. Few respondents (32%) were currently involved in research that was related to their postgraduate studies, and 53% of graduates were continuing their education in countries such as Canada, the USA and the United Kingdom; the rest were continuing their studies in Saudi Arabia. This diversity in postgraduate education in dietetics will enrich research in the department.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The study will help dietetic programme administrators to develop and implement a strategic plan for research activities within international standards.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This is the first study to measure the quantity and quality of research in a Saudi dietetic programme using different approaches, including a feedback survey from students, advisory and graduates of the CLN Programme.
KEYWORDS: Research, Diaspora, Graduates, Alumni, Saudi, Clinical Nutrition/Dietetics, KPIs, Higher Education.


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