FM 613 Clinical Research in Family Medicine Clerkship

FM 613 Family Medicine Elective
Clinical Research in Family Medicine Clerkship


This elective is offered in two modes: as a purely clinical experience, and as a combined clinical and research experience. It is intended for third and fourth year medical students with a research interest in primary care.

Students enrolled in this research elective will learn the practical application of basic research skills through involvement in a primary care research project. They learn how to develop a research question and study design, and how to analyze and study data. Students learn to use a personal computer for data collection and analysis, and for searching the medical literature. Students obtain practical instruction and experience in several stages of the research process, which commonly encompass formulation of the research question, literature review, research design, project planning, proposal writing, data collection, statistical analysis and report writing.


East Lansing Family Medicine will coordinate the research programs. Students will be encouraged to write a research study protocol of their own, or participate in the publication of a portion of the research they are involved with.

Educational aims 

The goal of the Family Medicine Research Elective is to have the student demonstrate the following skills:

1.     Proficiency in conducting a medical search and a written review of literature pertinent to a problem in primary care research.

2.     Familiarity with data entry and data analysis on a personal computer.

3.     Familiarity with study designs and their application to primary care research.

4.     Familiarity with the formulation of primary care research hypotheses.


Activities that the student will be required to complete in the research portion

of the preceptorship will vary depending upon the stage of the research process that the student agrees to complete by the end of the course. In some cases the outcome of the course will be a research proposal. In other cases the outcome will be a collected data set, or a paper describing findings.

Regardless of the type or stage of research proposed, all students taking the research portion of this preceptorship are required to submit a paper at the completion of the preceptorship. The paper could be a description of work in progress, a research proposal, or a draft of an article to be submitted for publication. The paper must include a section in which the student explains what he/she learned in the preceptorship, and explains whether the experience met his/her expectations.

In instances in which the student moves beyond the research proposal stage to the actual conduct of research during this preceptorship, the following requirements will be imposed:

a) Any research involving human subjects must be cleared in advance by the MSU Committee for Research Involving Human Subjects and/or by an Institutional Review Board in the hospital or facility where the research will be conducted.

b) Research involving animal subjects must likewise be cleared in advance with the relevant animal use committee.


The amount and type of instruction provided will vary according to the student’s preparation in the community. In all cases the research mentor and the community research coordinator will review the student’s research plan.



The precepting physician to whom the student was assigned completes the standard Clinical Performance Evaluation

A summary of the student’s performance is sent to the student in a form of a letter written by the Associate Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Family Medicine.

A copy of the letter is sent to the precepting physician, and to the student’s file At the conclusion of the preceptorship the student’s performance will be evaluated by his/her designated research mentor, by the community research coordinator, and by a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine in East Lansing.


Grading is on a Pass/Fail basis. The grade will be assigned by Associate Chair, Academic Programs in the Department of Family Medicine in East Lansing, based on evaluations of the student’s performance.

Application and approval for enrollment

All students proposing to take this course must complete the standard application form. Before the application is submitted to the Department of Family Medicine, it must be signed by the student, by the research mentor identified for the preceptorship, by the community research coordinator, and by the community assistant dean or the community administrator.


The College of Human Medicine students must have completed FM 608, the Family Medicine Clerkship, before the student can enroll in this course.


4-8 weeks

When Offered

Summer, Fall, Spring semesters as preceptors are available


Department of Family Medicine

College of Human Medicine, MSU

Application for

Research Component of Clerkship (FM 613)

Student_________________________ Date Submitted________________

Community ____________ Dates of elective:________________

Term: F S US 20____ Section #:______________________

Credits: 6 or 12

Describe the objectives of this research, and the methodology to be used.

What do you anticipate will be the outcomes of this project? How will you judge that your project has been completed?

Describe pertinent literature that you will rely upon as a guide.

Describe the schedule of activities that you expect to follow.

What costs will be entailed? How will you cover those costs?

I understand that a written paper (either a description of work in progress or a draft of an article to be submitted for publication) is required to obtain credit for this elective. I will submit one copy of the paper to my faculty mentor, one copy to the community research coordinator, and one copy to the Associate Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Family Medicine.

___________________________ ___________________________

Student signature Date

Section II (To be completed by faculty mentor)

How will you supervise the student during this research clerkship?

What will you teach the student during this research clerkship?

I approve of the research plan described in Section I. I agree to serve as mentor for the student, and to provide the student with a written critique of the final paper.