The concept of an elective research year during orthopaedic residency training is attractive to residents and faculty involved in graduate medical education. Measuring the success and outcomes of a research residency year remains poorly defined. The goal of this study is to evaluate the role and effect of the elective resident research year. How does one determine or define the “success” of a resident research year? Does the research residency year encourage residents to become clinician-scientists? A previously published questionnaire was mailed out to the 93 residents who completed their orthopaedic residency training between 1976 and 2005. The response rate was 70%. The majority of residents went into private practice (91.2%). In comparing residents with a research year to those without, no difference was noted in residents entering private or academic practice, or completing a fellowship. The research residents had a greater mean number of publications cited in PubMed. The mean number of publications after residency was similar. Exposure to an elective year of research did not appear to positively influence residents to enter a career in academic medicine.