Background and objectives: Our objectives were to provide an update on the status of selection by medical students of family medicine as a specialty, to summarize what is known about influences on this specialty choice, and to propose a research agenda for the future.
Methods: Data from the National Resident Matching Program and the American Academy of Family Physicians residency database were obtained. Past reviews of research on family medicine specialty selection were summarized, and recent research was reviewed. Gaps in the knowledge base and common research design weaknesses were listed.
Results: As a result of our analysis, a set of 12 research questions are posed and a set of 11 study design recommendations made.
Conclusions: Family medicine specialty choice research must be planned and conducted with the most robust methodology possible, building on past research, to produce results that can assist in formulating effective policy.