The otolaryngology research paradox

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001 Oct;127(10):1181-4. doi: 10.1001/archotol.127.10.1181.


Objective: To determine the attitude toward and the state of research within the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.

Design: A questionnaire was sent to the chairpersons of departments of otolaryngology where residency training is provided.

Participants and setting: Program directors of academic otolaryngology training programs.

Main outcome measure: Responses to questionnaire.

Results: Questionnaires were sent to 95 programs from which 86 responses were received. Respondents believed strongly that research was important to the specialty. Only two thirds of the full-time clinical faculty, however, do research, and on average they devote only 17% of their time to this activity. About a third of those doing research have funding, and the National Institutes of Health support only 12% of clinician-investigators. Although program directors believe that clinicians should do research, three fourths stated that clinicians were too busy to accomplish this goal. Surprisingly, half of the respondents were unaware of residency programs that offered 2 years of research training, aimed to develop clinician-investigators, who can become competitive for attainment of research funding.

Conclusions: Although leaders within our specialty believe that research is important, clinicians are not provided with enough time to conduct research. Furthermore, pathways that would enhance their competitiveness to obtain research funding are not recommended to our future clinicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Otolaryngology*
  • Research Support as Topic / trends
  • Research*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Workload