Findings from the ENHANCE survey: Medical specialty training research requirements may result in “poor quality unsupervised box ticking research”

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Our previous work showed that college-set research requirements for medical specialty trainees often focus on project completion rather than research skills development, and this may incentivise poor quality research. We conducted an online survey to investigate the quality of trainee experiences and research outputs.

In April-December 2021, we surveyed current and recent-past trainees across all specialty training colleges in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. We used purposive sampling via college communications, colleagues, conferences, and social media, supplemented by snowballing.
Participants were asked about their college-mandated research experiences, including number of required projects; how the research question was generated; what resources they had access to; and whether they conducted a literature review before starting their project, developed a protocol, involved consumers, or made the results publicly available.

372 trainees from all 16 major colleges participated.
41% generated their own research question, and 75% conducted a literature review. 8% involved consumers but none were involved in developing the research question.
56% felt they had the knowledge and skills to conduct research, and 28% felt they had access to educational resources to address knowledge gaps. 52% of trainees designed their projects on their own with little or no input from others.
49% of projects remain unpublished.

Our findings show that a large proportion of the future medical workforce require better access to research training, resources, and supervision. Lack of published outcomes from the research efforts of trainees may indicate research waste and warrants further investigation.

Additional information


Caitlyn Withers, Principal House Officer, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Royal Brisbane and Woman’s Hospital; Lecturer, School of Medicine, Griffith University
Rachel Bourke, Staff Specialist, Anaesthetics, Gold Coast Health
Adrian Barnett, Professor, School of Public Health & Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology
Caitlin Brandenburg, Health Practitioner Research Fellow, Metro South Health; Emergency Department, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service
Christy Noble, Clinical Learning & Assessment Lead, Academy for Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine The University of Queensland; Affiliate Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences The University of Queensland
Paul Glasziou, Professor/ Director, Institute for Evidence Based Practice, Bond University
Ian Scott, Director, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Princess Alexandra Hospital; Professor, PA-Southside Clinical Unit, University of Queensland
Alexandra Bannach-Brown, Postdoc – CAMARADES, Berlin Institute of Health at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, QUEST Center
Mark Morgan, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University; Chair, RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care
Gerben Keijzers, Senior Staff Specialist Emergency Physician, Emergency Department, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service; Adjunct Professor of Emergency Medicine, Bond University; Associate Professor, Griffith University
Hitesh Joshi, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mental Health and Specialist Services, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service
Emma Veysey, Consultant Dermatologist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne; Consultant Dermatologist, Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne
Kirsty Forrest, Professor/ Dean of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University; Consultant Anaesthetist, Department of Anaesthetics, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service
David Pearson, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Intensive Care, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service; Medical Director of the QLD ICU Training Pathway
Sonu Nigam, Director, Anatomical Pathology, Gold Coast Health
Thomas Campbell, Centre for Eye Research Australia; Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
Sharon Mickan, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University
David Henry, Professor, Evidence Based Practice Professorial Unit, Gold Coast Health; Professor, Institute for Evidence Based Practice, Bond University
Period9 Nov 2022
Event titleGold Coast Health and Partners Research Showcase 2022
Event typeConference
LocationGold Coast, Australia, QueenslandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternal