Background: Resident research projects can be an important component of building a strong and diversified research presence in family medicine. One of the requirements for graduation from the University of British Columbia (UBC) Family Practice Residency Program is that family practice residents complete a scholarly piece of work.
Methods: UBC family practice resident projects from 1990-1997 were reviewed and classified by methodology. A survey was sent to 251 former residents to determine 1) if their project was published, 2) if not, was there any interest in publication, and 3) what were the main reasons for not pursuing publication. Fifteen projects were selected as suitable for publication and were, with permission of the resident, submitted to medical journals.
Results: Sixty-nine percent of the resident projects involved data collection and hypothesis testing, and 40% were cross-sectional, of which patient surveys were the most common method. A total of 190 former residents (71%) have responded to our survey. Seven percent of respondents stated that their project had been published, and 55% would have liked to have tried to publish their project. Of the 15 resident projects we submitted for publication, seven were accepted.
Conclusions: Family practice residents are capable of producing a wide variety of research projects. Only a minority of projects are being published despite the fact that the majority of residents are interested in pursuing publication. Greater assistance by faculty can increase publication of research projects.