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Title: Exploring the Relationship between Medical Research Literacy and Respondents’ Expressed Likelihood to Participate in a Clinical Trial
Medical research literacy (MRL) is a facet of health literacy that measures a person’s understanding of informed consent and other aspects of participation in medical research. While existing research on MRL is limited, there are reasons to believe MRL may be associated with a willingness to participate in medical research. We use data from a racially balanced sample of survey respondents (n = 410): (1) to analyze how MRL scores vary by respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics; (2) to examine how MRL relates to respondents’ expressed likelihood to participate in a clinical trial; and (3) to provide considerations on the measurement of MRL. The results indicate no differences in MRL scores by race or gender; younger (p < 0.05) and more educated (p < 0.001) individuals have significantly higher MRL scores. Further, higher MRL scores are associated with significantly lower levels of expressed likelihood to participate in a clinical trial. Additionally, the MRL scale included both true and false statements, and analyses demonstrate significant differences in how these relate to outcomes. Altogether, the results signal that further research is needed to understand MRL and how it relates to socio-demographic characteristics associated with research participation and can be measured effectively.  more » « less
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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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National Science Foundation
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    We conducted a quasi-experimental investigation to explore the impact of participation in university- or college-run STEM CPAs on college-going students’ STEM career aspirations. We administered a retrospective cohort survey to students at 27 colleges and universities nationwide resulting in a sample of 15,847 respondents. An inverse probability of treatment weighted logistic regression model with a robust set of controls was computed to estimate the odds of expressing STEM career aspirations among those who participated in college-run STEM CPAs compared with the odds expressed among students who did not participate. Our weighting accounted for self-selection effects.


    Quasi-experimental modeling results indicated that participation in university- or college-run STEM CPAs had a significant impact on the odds that college-going students would express STEM career aspirations relative to students who did not participate. The odds of expressing interest in a STEM career among participants in STEM CPAs were 1.49 times those of the control group. Robustness checks confirmed our results. The result held true for students whether or not they expressed interest in STEM careers prior to participation in STEM CPAs, and it held true across a diverse range of student characteristics (e.g., race, parental education, gender, standardized test scores, and family/school encouragement).


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For instance, previous research has established jurors lack understanding of the role of control groups, confounds, and sample sizes in scientific research (McAuliff, Kovera, & Nunez, 2009; Mill, Gray, & Mandel, 1994). Still others have found that jurors can distinguish weak from strong evidence when the evidence is presented alone, yet not when simultaneously presented with case details (Smith, Bull, & Holliday, 2011). This research highlights the need to present evidence to jurors in a way they can understand. Fuzzy Trace Theory purports that people encode information in exact, verbatim representations and through “gist” representations, which represent summary of meaning (Reyna & Brainerd, 1995). It is possible that the presenting complex scientific evidence to people with verbatim content or appealing to the gist, or bottom-line meaning of the information may influence juror understanding of that evidence. 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