Experience with and perception of research among third year osteopathic medical students

Faculty Advisor

Jonathan Lowery Ph.D

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Medicine and Health Sciences


There is a lack of data regarding real and perceived barriers to research participation among osteopathic medical students (OMS’s). We have previously addressed this open question by surveying incoming first-year OMS1’s and found that the possibility of negative impact upon performance in coursework was the predominant concern among respondents at MU-COM. Here, we held a series of three focus groups with third-year OMS’s (n=23), which have completed preclinical training, to gather current perceptions and evaluate how those perceptions may have shifted throughout their preclinical experience. Focus group sessions were facilitated by two OMS2’s and audio recorded for transcription; participants were anonymized and the transcripts analyzed for themes. Participation was voluntary and incentivized by a raffle for Amazon gift cards. This study was deemed exempt by the MU Institutional Review Board. Focus group participants expressed that the importance of research relied heavily upon intrinsic motivations for research or the desire to further their career via establishment of a professional network with their mentor or improving competitiveness for residency positions. Unlike our prior survey findings among incoming OMS1’s, OMS3’s reported monetary compensation was of little importance and possibly would discourage them from performing research due to the perceived added pressure that money would generate. Some perceptions, however, remained consistent throughout the medical training thus far. Both incoming and post-preclinical students placed a great deal of value upon time and establishing themselves academically. This proved to possibly preclude students from undertaking research. Another robust theme observed between both incoming OMS1’s and OMS3’s is the strong desire for clinical research opportunities. This longitudinal approach to research perceptions will prove valuable in enacting change to the research culture and opportunities provided here at MUCOM.


Copyright 2019 all authors


Krista Jackson1, Oladipupo Ogunbekun1, Sarah Zahl, Bryan Larsen, Jonathan Lowery

Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Indianapolis, IN

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