20 Jul, 11 | by Iain Brassington
Francesca Minerva has drawn my attention to this paper by Sophie Strickland, currently available as a pre-publication download via the JME homepage, concerning conscientious objection among UK medical students.
Students were invited to respond to a set of questions in an online poll to determine whether there were procedures to which they’d object, and in which they’d refuse to participate, and what they were. They were also asked to identify their religious affiliation.
Respondents were asked to note if their objections to the […] 11 medical practices [mentioned] were for religious reasons, non-religious reasons or both religious and non-religious reasons. Of all the objections raised in the study, 19.7% were for religious reasons, 44.1% were for non-religious reasons, and 36.2% were for both religious reasons and non-religious reasons. Muslim students were more likely to report religious objections (28.4%), followed by Protestant students (27.0%) and then Roman Catholic students (23.01%). Jewish students were the least likely to report religious objections (15.8%). The proportion of non-religious objections ranged from 96.7% in atheist students to 21.0% in Protestant students. The Sikh and Eastern Orthodox students have again been excluded because of their low numbers.
There’s a number of problems with online polls, of course – they’re vulnerable to impersonation and trolling, even if steps are taken to ensure that people can only respond once. (Strickland doesn’t indicate how she dealt with these problems.) Still: I’ll take her results at face value. more…