Assessing Comfort in Conducting Research Among Medical Students Interested in Dermatology

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Carmen Carlos
Christen Brown
Erika Elliott
Andrea Murina


medical student education


Introduction: Participation in research has become increasingly popular amongst US medical students hoping to match into dermatology residency. While medical students have increasingly high research output by the time of graduation, the preparedness of medical students for independent research is unknown.

Methods: An anonymous survey was distributed to 137 dermatology interest groups across the country. The survey contained 21 multiple choice and free text questions that assessed students’ research experiences and self-assessed competency in key research components. Fifty-seven students participated.

Results: Students were most comfortable with creating posters for presenting research, writing an abstract and reviewing charts to gather pertinent data for research projects. Students reported a below-average comfort level with data analysis. Medical students who participated in more than eight research experiences and those who perform epidemiological research or commentaries have greater confidence in their ability to conduct research. 

Conclusion: Experience in research is associated with the ability to conduct research independently, but there is significant variance in the comfortability to perform essential research-related tasks.


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