Background and objectives: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recognizes that research education is a fundamental, although not always required, aspect of resident training. Since there is little information available on family practice resident research requirements, directors of US family practice training programs were surveyed about their programs' research requirements and research curricula.
Methods: A questionnaire survey was mailed to directors of family practice residency training programs listed in the American Academy of Family Physicians Directory of Family Practice Residency Programs. Seventy-five percent of residency program directors participated in the study.
Results: Almost half (48.6%) of responding programs required a resident research project, but only one fourth linked annual resident promotions to progress on the research project. Programs that required a project were more likely to say they provide a research curriculum, but information on these varied widely. Only 12.9% said faculty were required to engage in research/scholarly activities. The top two reasons for requiring resident research were (1) to develop critical thinking and patient care skills and (2) to understand the medical literature. The top two reasons for not requiring resident research were (1) attitude that it isn't necessary and (2) lack of faculty or time.
Conclusions: The research requirement during family practice residency appears to be growing. However, the nature and benefit of family practice residency research education still remains undefined.