Predictors of medical student interest and confidence in research during medical school.
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Background: Research education and opportunities are an important part of undergraduate medical education. This study's objectives were to determine students' interest in research, student self-rated research skills, and to assess potential predictors of research interest and confidence. Methods: Stakeholder consultation and literature informed a 13-item cross-sectional survey. In 2014, all students enrolled in McMaster University's School of Medicine in Ontario, Canada were sent an electronic survey and two subsequent reminder e-mails. Results: The response rate was 81% (498 of 618). Most (n=445, 89%) had prior research experiences. The majority of students (n=383, 86%) wanted more research education and opportunities. Higher rating of their supervisors' understanding of research was associated with greater interest in research (OR=2.08; 95% CI=1.27-3.41). Home campus (distributed vs. main) was not a significant predictor of research interest. In our adjusted linear regression model, the most significant predictors of higher self-rated research ability were prior thesis work and other prior research experience. Conclusion: In a survey of a three-year medical school, medical student interest in further research education and opportunities was high and positively predicted by student-rated supervisors' understanding of research, but not campus location. This study also identified several predictors of student self-rated research ability.