Folks, This is a basic question, I know but what does doing research mean? I ask as other pre-meds I know are doing research by working in labs (for little or no pay). Is hands-on lab experience more desirable? I am a nontrad. I just left a non-health care job for a research assistant position at an academic medical center. I recruit and test patients for a research study. I have a lot of patient contact (and the possibility of getting my name on a paper or two). Does that qualify as research?