Faculty Advisor

Sarah Zahl Ph.D; Jonathan Lowery Ph.D

Document Type


Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences


There are limited data regarding research experience and/or interest among osteopathic medical students despite a rapidly increasing enrollment and expansion of the number of osteopathic medical schools. A 2016 study of first-year osteopathic medical students at WesternU/COMP and WesternU/COMP-NW indicated that 81% of respondents had prior research experience and 75% were either currently doing research or were interested in doing research during medical school. Here, we extended that survey to Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine to determine the research experience and interest among first-year osteopathic medical students. Based on a response rate of 32%, a majority of respondents reported prior research experience (79.7%), with 13% of those students having garnered peer-reviewed publication(s). This is consistent with a strong perception of research being valuable, with 96.43% indicating some level of importance and 41.07% indicating "very" or "extremely" important. Interestingly, fewer respondents (56.6%) are either currently participating in research or affirmed interest in performing research during medical school, with the highest level of interest in clinical research (32%) followed by basic science (22.67%). Regarding incentives that might encourage participation in research, respondents prefer monetary compensation (37.38%) and/or extra credit in courses (36.45%). Reported barriers to performing research include possible negative impact on coursework (59.04%) and preference for other extracurricular activities (18.07%). Most students (78.57%) reported awareness that research opportunities are available, but fewer (46.43%) were aware of whether opportunities exist in their specific field of interest. Our findings indicate a strong positive perception of research among MU-COM students and highlight opportunities for improved communication and enhancement of the research environment through incentivization and/or removal of perceived barriers.


Copyright 2018 all authors


Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana