Background: In 2014-15, as a quality improvement initiative on research education and opportunities, all students enrolled in the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine in Ontario, Canada, were surveyed.
Objectives: To determine student attitudes towards research training and participation. To assess demographic predictors associated with student interest and self-rated ability in performing research.
Methods: Stakeholder consultation and literature informed a 13-item cross-sectional survey that we administered across three campuses.
Results: The response rate was 80% (496 of 619). Most (88%) endorsed prior research experiences and half reported completing a thesis. While some (32%) respondents were currently participating in research, most (86%) wanted more opportunities. Higher rating of their teachers’ research knowledge was associated with greater research interest (odds ratio = 2.06, 95% confidence interval 1.36 to 3.12). In our adjusted linear regression model, attending central campus, prior thesis work and earlier years in training were significant predictors of higher self-rated research abilities. A novel module, simulating a clinical practice guideline panel, was considered as a feasible method to complement evidence-to-bedside research education across campuses. Student’s written comments suggested that more staff, academic credit, and a centralized opportunity portal were important research facilitators.
Conclusions: While distributed campuses may impact research education cohesiveness, there remains a high interest among students for research opportunities.