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Difficult to answer question because there's a lot of subjectivity involved. I would say that the most important aspect of research is the ability to have written proof of your interest in that specialty and to make connections in the field. Electives are short, therefore having a long-term working relationship with an attending is a nice advantage.

Here's an interesting thread on research:

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On 4/20/2020 at 5:36 PM, conditional knockout said:

Is it critical to do research during med school? Are there alternatives to it so that residency application is not disadvantaged? Do particular residency programs care more/less (eg. U of T)? Is there a specific time when it's most preferable to pursue it?

Depends what you want to do. In general it is advantageous for obtaining interviews, though the level of the impact is probably based on the specialty and specific program.

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On 4/20/2020 at 5:36 PM, conditional knockout said:

Is it critical to do research during med school? Are there alternatives to it so that residency application is not disadvantaged? Do particular residency programs care more/less (eg. U of T)? Is there a specific time when it's most preferable to pursue it?

No, it is not necessary, and of minimal help, if any, for a residency spot. Being a good fit is far, far more important.

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I always evaluated students based on fit/work ethic/etc during electives and during the interview. Research is a nice to have but in reality it really depends on the field you are applying to. Some fields don't care all that much and you would be better served preparing to perform well during a elective rotation.

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Thanks for the responses, it's good to know that one has the option not to do research if interest is lacking :P  Which specialties consider research a great asset (and penalize your application if you don't have it), and which ones is it unusual to do research before applying to?

Edit: What do people pursue during the summers after first and second year if not research?

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Can anyone comment specifically about the importance of having research for IM residency applications? Are there certain IM programs that place a high emphasis on research (e.g U of T)?

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4 hours ago, ArdentMed said:

I am interested to hear peoples' thoughts on how research will be factored for incoming fourth years given the current situation with COVID-19 and not being allowed to have contact with patients. 

No one knows... Not even the program directors. Everyone will know in retrospectively.

Probably CV and (virtual) interviews will have more importance than elective performance.

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I'm in Genetics which is a very academic specialty. Research experience is a definite asset. There is always a section of the application score that pertains to research. Better to have some than none. Having said that, an otherwise solid application will still get you an interview. 

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