A cross sectional survey of Australian and New Zealand specialist trainees’ research experiences and outputs

Paulie Stehlik, Caitlyn Withers, Rachel Bourke, Adrian G. Barnett, Caitlin Brandenburg, Christy Noble, Alexandra Bannach-Brown, Gerben B.J.M. Keijzers, Ian A. Scott, Paul P Glasziou, Emma Veysey, Sharon M Mickan, Mark Morgan, Hitesh Joshi, Kirsty A T Forrest, Thomas G Campbell, David A Henry

Research output: Other contributionDiscipline Preprint RepositoryEducation


To explore medical trainees’ experiences and views concerning college-mandated research projects.

Online survey (Apr-Dec 2021) of current and recent past trainees of Australian and New Zealand colleges recruited through 11 principal colleges and snowballing.

Current trainee or completed training in the past 5 years.

Main outcome measures:
We asked participants: whether they were required to conduct research as part of their college training, how they conducted their research, and their research activity after training. Respondents were invited to submit project reports for reporting and methodological quality evaluation. Data were analysed descriptively.

Of the 372 respondents, 313 (86%) were required to complete one or more projects. Of the 177 who had completed their project (representing 267 projects), 76 provided information on 92 studies, with 34 reports submitted for evaluation. Most respondents developed their own research questions, study design and protocol, and conducted research in their own time, with 56% (38/68) stating they had the skills to complete their project. Most project teams consisted of their own medical specialty followed by statisticians, but seldom others.

44% (30/68) were satisfied with their research experience, and 53% (36/67) supported mandatory projects. Half (87/174) felt research was important for career development, 72% (44/61) considered initiating research post-training, and 54% (33/61) participated in it.

Commonly expressed themes were time-burden of conducting projects, production of research waste, and the importance of research for skills development. Of the 34 submitted reports, 75% were published and 82% had a clear research question. Only three had a low risk of bias.

Majority of respondents conducted projects, but few shared details or reports. Despite valuing their research experiences and seeing clinical relevance, time conflicts and research waste were common concerns. Colleges should focus on enhanced research methods training and creating trainee research collaboratives.

Original languageEnglish
PublishermedRxiv: the preprint server for health sciences
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2024


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