Increasing Scholarly Activity Productivity During Residency: A Systematic Review

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Although resident participation in scholarly activity is mandated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, programmatic factors associated with success are not defined. This systematic review’s objective was to determine which interventions are effective in increasing resident scholarly activity productivity (RSAP), as measured by participation in scholarly activity, presentations, or publications.


The PubMed, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and ERIC databases were searched through October 2013. English-language articles evaluating interventions to increase RSAP in U.S. or Canadian residency programs were included, without date limits. Two independent reviewers selected articles for inclusion and extracted data. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus.


Of the 6,248 records screened, 80 studies underwent data abstraction. Twenty-six described outcomes without a comparison group, leaving 54 studies representing 13 medical and surgical specialties. Interventions included required scholarly activity participation, protected research time, research curricula, research directors, dedicated research days, and research tracks. Focusing on the 35 studies reporting statistical analysis, RSAP was associated with all interventions. There were some differences in intervention effectiveness between medical and surgical specialties.


Interventions, including protected time, research curricula, or specialized research tracks, generally result in increased participation in scholarly activity in residency programs, with mixed effects on resident presentations or publications. In many studies, interventions were bundled, suggesting that programs may need to provide increased structure and rigor through multiple pathways. The findings highlight the need for a clear definition of resident scholarly activity success aligned specifically to individual program and resident aims.

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