What defines research?


Membership Revoked
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2003
  1. Medical Student
There is an AAMC Fact page that I can't seem to find now (try to post later) that breaks down each specialty by AOA, board scores, and research. There is a set of columns for those that do and don't publish. There is another set of columns for those that "participate in a research project." Fields like radiology have 90+% of applicants "participating in research."

My question is - how does the AAMC define "participating in research?" Does aiding in a case study count as participating in research? Are 90% of rads applicants doing bench research or clinical research? What about a lit. review?

Maybe current residents or current applicants (who have seen the residency applications) can shed some light on this too. It just seems like "research" on a CV could be incredibly broad. Thanks for everyone's insight.


Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2006
  1. Attending Physician
You are right - research is a broad heading. I guarantee you that 90% of radiology residents are not doing basic science research. In most programs, residents are encouraged to do some type of scholarly activity (research), which usually means writing up an interesting patient/case for publication or helping with a clinical trial - gathering data or seeing patients.

Some residencies may have you take a block of time (1, 6, 12 months) dedicated to research, but most do not.


New Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2006
"Research" on your residency application CV is incredibly broad and I guess I would define it as practically encompassing any thing that is either presented (e.g. poster or talk at a meeting) or published in a journal. I'd say the great majority of residency applicants do not participate in basic science research (unless they are MD/PhD) simply b/c there is not sufficient time in the regular med school training curriculum for sustainable bench research, unless they take a year off (which many do) to devote to it. If you're still premed, get into med school first. Once in med school, decide as early as humanly possible what specialty you want to do, and if it is a competitive one, try to do some "research" in that field so you can buff your residency application - even something small like a case report or a simple retrospective analysis can make your CV look good.
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