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Frequently Asked Questions

  • I have no idea what I want to do right now. Would a research project be beneficial to me?
    Any research can and does look good to prospective programs even if it is outside the field you choose to pursue. That said, once you choose your specialty you may consider even a small project in your chosen field. Getting involved early in medical school can be beneficial, as the first year of medical school can be an adjustment, there are opportunities to get involved regardless of where you are in medical school.
  • Is it mandatory to complete research?

    Conducting research is not a requirement for medical school, however, it is for nearly all residency programs. Research resulting in scholarly activities, such as conference presentations and publications, will also stand out on your resumes for residency applications and interviews.

  • How much time do I need to commit to my research project?
    There are many faculty members offering different types of research opportunities. Some may require a small, steady, weekly but long-duration commitment while others may be an intensive 4- or 8-week summer research program, requiring a full-time commitment. Most students feel that 4-7 hours per week is the average that they can do.
  • What if I've never conducted research before?
    No problem. Be up front with your mentor so you can pick a project that will allow you to ease in OR tag along to a study already going. This will allow you to understand how things work before starting your own project. Look for research training opportunities from the OMSR.
  • What are some projects for a beginner?
    It depends...on your interests and your available time. Some research requires fieldwork, such as digging for fossils. You don’t even need experience with shovels to get started. Other research could involve writing manuscripts and secondary data analysis, conducting meta-research, literature reviews, or lab science.
  • I feel like I don't know enough about the research area I'm involved in. What can I do?
    Read. Ask your mentor which resources might be of high yield and offer you the ease of understanding. Eventually you will be asked about your research (e.g. on residency interviews, etc).
  • Do I conduct a study on my own or can I be part of a team?
    In most cases you will either work with a team of individuals or at least a faculty or resident mentor. If you are doing a several month experience, a summer experience, or longitudinal work you may indeed conduct your own study with faculty or resident supervision. Sometimes students start by “tagging along” to an ongoing resident or faculty project.
  • Will I be able to present or publish any findings?
    Absolutely. Quality research can and should be written up. It may be in an on campus forum (research day or campus paper) all the way up to national peer reviewed publications or national meetings. Here at OSU CHS, there is a Research Week event each Spring where students can present their own work. The Medical Libraries can assist with poster formatting and printing for free.
  • How often do researchers and mentors meet?
    It depends but generally students meet with their mentors on a weekly basis in some capacity.
  • Is research necessary to get into Residency?
    Generally not. It can be helpful with many of the competitive residency programs. The most recent AAMC Charting Outcomes Data can tell you how many publications or presentations the average applicant has for a given specialty. You can find the link here:
  • When should I start looking for a research project?

    You may inquire about research at any time. It is recommended that first-year students wait until their second semester before pursuing a research project, but if you think you are ready, feel free to seek out a project to work on. You can find researchers and their research projects here:

  • Does my mentor have to be a faculty member?

    Not always, but it may be beneficial to have a faculty mentor for immediate access, and academic success.

  • How do I secure funding for my research project?

    There are various resources to seek for funding research. You can use our resource page as a place to begin, as well as continually checking the OMSR website, as well as other OSU websites of your research interest, and often Emails and message boards may have information for funding.

  • Are there certain trainings I need to complete before I start my research?

    It is required to complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program)

    Depending on which area of research you wish to pursue, there may be other required training you must complete. You may also reach out to OSU’s Research Compliance for further information:


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