The use of the community as a learning environment and community based learning have become recognized features of medical education, specifically since the General Medical Council and British Medical Association's recommendations in the early 1990's. Many medical schools, nationally and internationally feature community based education in varying amounts in their undergraduate curricula, Liverpool University is one such organisation. Although educationalists support the principles of community based education, it is equally important that the views of the students' are taken into account. This paper describes how, through the use of diaries, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, the views of a representative proportion of medical students have been obtained. This information will be compared with a representative proportion of medical students in a conventional course, in which community based education plays a lesser role. When this information is combined with data from the teachers and organisers of a community based course and a conventional course it will add greatly to the question of the real value of community based education.