Bridging the gap: the roles of social capital and ethnicity in medical student achievement

Medical Education
Suzanne VaughanVal Wass


Within medical education, there is a discrepancy between the achievement level of White students and that of their ethnic minority peers. The processes underlying this disparity have not been adequately investigated or explained. This study utilises social network analysis to investigate the impact of relationships on medical student achievement by ethnicity, specifically by examining homophily (the tendency to interact with others in the same group) by ethnicity, age and role. Data from a cross-sectional social network study conducted in one UK medical school are presented and are analysed alongside examination records obtained from the medical school. Participants were sampled across the four hospital placement sites; a total of 158 medical students in their clinical phase (Years 3 and 4) completed the survey. The research was designed and analysed using social capital theory. Although significant patterns of ethnic and religious homophily emerged, no link was found between these factors and achievement. Interacting with problem-based learning (PBL) group peers in study-related activities, and having seniors in a wider academic support network were directly linked to better achievement. Students in higher academic quartiles w...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Prevalence Studies
Education, Medical
Longitudinal Survey
Peer Group
Social Networks
Students, Medical
Problem-Based Learning
Social Capital
Cross-Sectional Studies

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