Assessment of the Research Interests and Perceptions of First-Year Medical Students at 4 Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

Victoria Nguyen, OMS II; Kelly Kaneshiro, OMS II; Hinduja Nallamala, OMS II; Conor Kirby, OMS II; Tim Cho, OMS I; Kyle Messer, OMS I; Sarah Zahl, OMS I; Julia Hum, PhD; Malcolm Modrzakowski, PhD; Daniel Atchley, PhD; Dana Ziegler, PhD; Olivia Pipitone, MPH; Jonathan W. Lowery, PhD; and Glen Kisby, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 11, 2019

Accepted: November 6, 2019

Published: April 1, 2020

J Osteopath Med; 120(4): 236-244

Context: There are limited data regarding the experiences of and attitudes toward research participation among osteopathic medical students despite rapidly increasing enrollment and expansion of the number of osteopathic medical schools.

Objectives: To assess first-year osteopathic medical students’ experience with research, their interest in it, their perceptions of its value, and barriers to participation.

Methods: An anonymous, online survey was sent to 868 medical students in the class of 2021 at 4 colleges of osteopathic medicine. The survey consisted of 14 multiple-choice items (7 of which offered the option of a written response) and 1 open-ended item that asked them to report their age. The survey remained open for 2 weeks, with 1 reminder email sent on the last day of the survey. Incomplete responses were excluded from the analysis.

Results: A total of 328 participants were included, for a response rate of 38%. A majority of respondents reported previous research experience (261 [79.6%]), consistent with a strong perception that research participation is important (315 [96.0%]). Fewer students (177 [54.0%]) were either currently participating in research or affirmed interest in performing research during medical school, with the highest level of interest in clinical research (259 [79.0%]) followed by basic science (166 [50.6%]). Regarding incentives that might encourage participation in research, students preferred monetary compensation (213 [64.9%]) or extra credit in courses (195 [59.5%]). A commonly reported barrier to performing research during medical school was the possibility of a negative impact on performance in coursework (289 [88.1%]).

Conclusions: First-year osteopathic medical students are interested in research, view research experience as valuable, and consider research experience as beneficial to future career development. This study’s findings highlight opportunities for increasing student participation in research through incentives or removal of perceived barriers.

Read Full Article