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Open Access Research article

Medical student and academic staff perceptions of role models: an analytical cross-sectional study

Ali A Haghdoost1* and Mohammad R Shakibi12

Author Affiliations

1 Education development centre, Deputy of Education, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Jomhoori Islami Blvd, Postal code: 7618747653, Kerman, Iran

2 Internal Medicine Department, Afzalipoor Hospital, Kerman, Iran

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BMC Medical Education 2006, 6:9  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-9

Published: 17 February 2006



This study explored the associations between the perceptions of students and the perceptions of academic staff about the characteristics of clinical lecturers at the Department of Internal Medicine at Kerman University of Medical Sciences (KUMS). It also assessed what characteristics constitute a 'role model' from the point of view of students and staff.


Staff and students were questioned about the characteristics of their colleagues and lecturers, respectively. They were asked about 15 characteristics under four headings: personality, teaching skill, group working and overall performance as a role model.

Associations between lecturers' characteristics were explored using Pearson correlation and characteristics were allocated into groups by partition cluster method. In addition, predictors of being a valuable lecturer were assessed using logistic regression analysis.


Based on staff responses, the strongest association observed was between honesty and being respectful (r = 0.93, p < 0.0001). Based on student responses, the strongest association observed was between being professional and honesty (r = 0.98, p < 0.0001). None of the correlations between student and staff perceptions were significant for any characteristic.

Two groups were recognized among the characteristics. group one contained those characteristics which were related to the lecturer's activity; while the second group contained characteristics that were related to the personality or teaching performance of the lecturer.

The predictors of lecturer as 'role model' (i.e., perceptions of students) consisted mostly of characteristics from the first group, while the predictors of a 'role model' by fellow academic staff consisted of characteristics that were in both groups.


These findings showed considerable differences between the perceptions of students about their lecturers when compared with perceptions of staff about their colleagues. Students were more concerned with the personality of their lecturers, while staff also considered their ideas and behaviors. This suggests that a more comprehensive assessment of a lecturer's performance could be obtained by taking into account feedback from both students and colleagues.