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I have seen a lot of people stressing out about research and equally amount of people telling them that research is not important for med school.


Amidst all this I just wanna ask what is research? I see some high school students doing research which blows my mind because how do they understand all like the technical terms and stuff like that?


Overall, I want to ask what do these high school students or anyone do when researching for example in pediatric labs?


Do they conduct experiments? It's just so confusing what exactly medical research is considering soo many people stress about it.


The only research I have done is online LOL, reading articles and then writing a research paper.

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Honestly it varies a lot. Depends on the lab you are researching in.


There are two broad types of labs I've worked in:

Wet labs (cell cultures, brain slicing, making solutions, administering injections to rats/mice, behavioural tests, fluoroscopy) - usually quantitative.

Dry labs (data collecting, manuscript searches, interviewing participants, running them through experiments, SPSS/R programs) - can be clinical/quantitative/qualitative.


You learn the technical terms as you go along, or you learn them in class/labs.


Hope this helps.

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Research IS important for med school admission, especially for the US and U of T.

I think part of the reason why people didn't think research was important is because their experiences didn't quite stand out from that of other applicants. I mean almost every university student (esp in science) has done at least one semester of research at the lab. To stand out, you'll need something more long-term. I also know that a lot of students simply just work as technicians during the summer and call that research, which is probably, in fact, just washing beakers, preparing reagents, and clicking a few buttons on the machine to run PCR. Of course this kind of research isn't what's going to get them into medical school.


I personally do, however, believe that there is some truth to how UBC admissions team doesn't really value research. Part of it is because a lot of applicants these day do research (and I mean actual research, with or without publication, not the bs i talked about in the previous paragraph) and the adcom probably do not think you're special anymore. I understand that it's super frustrating because doing research can be more difficult and more time-consuming than things like being an exec of a club, pursing personal interests unrelated to medicine (ie. sports, music), or travelling. Unfortunately that's the way it is and there is nothing we can do about it. Also, I guess from their perspective, what can research possibly teach an applicant? collaboration with subjects/colleagues, collecting data, analysis results, data presentation...etc, which probably seem like trivial academic skills at most. On the other hand, sports teach you teamwork, show that you have a hobby, demonstrate that you know how to set goals and critically think to work towards it..etc. Some people argue that you can BS a lot with research too, but in my opinion sports and other hobbies are more easier for applicants to exaggerate what they learn. Again, as unfair as it is (because research is so much harder and we are actually making a sacrifice), we just have to suck it up. 


In short, yes UBC probably weighs research less than most schools, but people definitely over-exaggerated.


On the bright side, like i said in my first sentence, many school still really value research so don't let UBC discourage you!

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Out of curiosity, are you in high school or university?


The research people are talking about involves working in a professional lab (usually employing technical skills, not just reading books/articles). This may be done through obtaining an undergraduate NSERC award, finding part time employment, etc. Typically, the lab is supervised by someone with a PhD or a current graduate student who is seeking to publish their research (but keep in mind that very few undergraduates ever publish as a primary author). Many professors in the sciences hire undergraduates to do work for them, both during the semester and in summer. Off the university campus, research opportunities can sometimes be found through co-ops or practicums at places like the Prostate Centre. 

You are typically responsible for running experiments and gathering data (such as PCR, western blots, dissections, antibody staining, etc. depending on the needs of the lab), but very very rarely would an undergraduate design the experiments - usually a graduate student or PhD does the experimental design. 


Honestly, I have no idea how high school students get research positions. It is hard enough to get in as an undergraduate, I imagine they must have had a contact or family member who had connections. Alternatively, volunteering somewhere like the prostate centre (if they take volunteers) might help you get your foot in the door. 


Although research does seem undervalued at UBC, I know several people who applied twice - once before and once after doing research - and the research seemed to bump their NAQ score up by ~3 points which is a huge difference (although I know it is subjective how scores change year to year). 

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