Reducing Medical Student Dropout: An Informational Experiment in China
Last registered on June 16, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Reducing Medical Student Dropout: An Informational Experiment in China
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006977
Initial registration date
June 15, 2021
Last updated
June 16, 2021 10:55 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Peking University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
National Center for Health Professions Education Development/Institute of Medical Education, Peking University
PI Affiliation
Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Brown University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2021-06-17
End date
2022-07-10
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We embed a randomized controlled trial during an online survey of medical students in China. The survey collects students’ family backgrounds, academic performances, as well as their career goals. Information regarding variant aspects of the medical profession is provided at random in the middle of the survey. We aim to evaluate how these informational interventions affect students' stated willingness to become a doctor after graduation.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Wu, Hongbin, Xiaoyang Ye and Hang Yu. 2021. "Reducing Medical Student Dropout: An Informational Experiment in China." AEA RCT Registry. June 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6977-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We included an experimental module in an online survey to assess how different informational interventions affect medical students' career aspirations. The study participants were randomly assigned to six study groups, five treatment groups plus one control group, with equal probability. The control group received no information, while each treatment group received one different message below. All messages were presented in texts with graphs.
1. Importance of health workers
The content originated from a speech of a leading scholar in medicine. It depicts the health workers as the most valuable asset of the nation.
2. Salary of doctors
This message summarized doctors' salaries across China.
3. Relationship between doctors and patients
This message stressed the respect-and-care relationship between doctors and patients.
4. Career aspiration of medical students
This message presented the proportion of students who wanted to practice medicine in 2019.
5. Heroic health professionals
This message underscored medical workers' critical role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic in China and promoted Dr. Zhong Nanshan as a role model.
Intervention Start Date
2021-06-17
Intervention End Date
2022-07-10
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Self-report willingness to become a doctor.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We embed a randomized controlled trial during an online survey of medical students in China. The survey collects students’ family backgrounds, academic performances, as well as their career goals. Information regarding variant aspects of the medical profession is provided at random in the middle of the survey. We aim to evaluate how these informational interventions affect students stated willingness to become a doctor after graduation.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization was implemented by the automatic algorithm in the online survey platform.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
152645 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
152645 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Cluster 0 (non-intervening group), 25107
Cluster 1, 20744
Cluster 2, 20655
Cluster 3, 33324
Cluster 4, 20574
Cluster 5, 32241 
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Peking University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2020-09-30
IRB Approval Number
IRB00001052-20069