The role and importance of research and scholarship in dental education and practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Understanding the role and importance of research and scholarship in dental education and practice requires an appreciation of dentistry as a learned profession. A foundational attribute for the members of such a profession has to be sheer intellectual curiosity-a trait as important for the clinician as for the scientist. That improved patient care results from technical advances made possible through research is not seriously disputed by anyone. What is less apparent, however, is the role for research in the education of dentists and in the broader life of dental schools. Accosting this matter requires a distinction to be made between research and scholarship: while all research qualifies as scholarship, not all scholarship qualifies as research. Though the exact role of research in the educational process is open to debate, the importance of scholarship is not. An education colored by research is one way of achieving the intellectual rigor necessary for the professional. The key is cultivating in students a taste for complexity, for problems, and for problem solving. All dental schools without exception need to help students acquire this taste. In doing so, they will generate a few scientists; but, more importantly, they will create out of every graduate a man or woman of science. Only by becoming a person of science is there any hope that the practitioner will be able to acquire and assimilate new knowledge and to adapt to the changes in practice and in the profession that the future requires.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)918-924
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002



  • Dental education
  • Dental practice
  • Dental research
  • Scholarship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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