There is a well-documented shortage of physician researchers, and numerous training programs have been launched to facilitate development of new physician scientists. Short-term research training programs are the most practical form of research exposure for most medical students, and the summer between their first and second years of medical school is generally the longest period they can devote solely to research. The goal of short-term training programs is to whet the students' appetite for research and spark their interest in the field. Relatively little research has been done to test the effectiveness of short-term research training programs. In an effort to examine short-term effects of three different NIH-funded summer research training programs for medical students, we assessed the trainees' (N = 75) research self-efficacy prior to and after the programs using an 11-item scale. These hands-on training programs combined experiential, didactic, and mentoring elements. The students demonstrated a significant increase in their self-efficacy for research. Trainees' gender, ranking of their school, type of research, and specific content of research project did not predict improvement. Effect sizes for different types of items on the scale varied, with the largest gain seen in research methodology and communication of study findings.
Keywords: aging; medical students; training.
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