Student Research and Scholarly Activity

Our goal is to facilitate student engagement in research and other scholarly activity in both the preclinical and clinical years.

What is scholarly activity?  Boyer identifies 4 components of scholarly activity: Discovery, Integration, Application, and Teaching. (Boyer EL. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1990).  Some examples of activities that fall in each of these categories are below.  If you want to engage in scholarly activity, please complete the appropriate form and return to the ORSP prior to engaging in the project.  This will make you eligible for funding.  Note that scholarly activity are activities that are generally intended to be presented or disseminated to external audiences. 

  • Discovery (advancing/creating new knowledge)
    • Usually this is research, and generally the goals is to publish a paper or submit/present an abstract.  This type of activity usually requires the ORSP1 form.
  • Integration (synthesizing knowledge)
    • Often this is writing a review manuscript, case study or report, conducting a literature review for presentation, or some kind of patient education/teaching project for patients.  This type of activity usually requires the non-research scholarly activity form (NRSA).
  • Application (applying existing knowledge/service)
    • Often this is participation in national panels or professional society committees, which develop guidelines, society statements, or policy.  This type of activity usually requires the NRSA, as above.
  • Teaching (disseminating current knowledge)
    • Often this involves preparing and delivering presentations/lectures, developing curricula, developing web-based learning modules, etc.  This type of activity usually requires the NRSA, as above.

Peer Review Opportunities

Some journals allow for medical students to engage in peer review.  Peer review of journal articles is the foundation of journal article publication.  Known opportunities are listed below, as well as some resources for what makes a good review(er).  The latter may help with understanding what makes a rigorous manuscript, and what reviewers are looking for.

Congratulate our student authors on their publications!

Procedures and Forms

Students who would like to participate in research or other scholarly activity are encouraged to contact us for help getting started on the process of gaining approval.  Additional information can also be found at the links below.

  • Rotations: Refer to your Clinical Education Manual for information on conducting research or other scholarly activity while on rotation

For more information regarding student funding, see "Does WVSOM have funding for me to present my work...?"  Please be sure to ask for reimbursement procedures from the ORSP, and review these procedures for funding, prior to submitting an abstract, so you know what to expect.  Funding for conferences is through reimbursement.

As far as the scholarly activity projects available, students are responsible for contacting faculty to see about joining a research or scholarly activity project.  The best way to do this is to reach out to faculty with similar interests.  You may access the faculty research webpages as the link to the right, or you may simply email a faculty who lectured on a topic of interest.

FAQ about WVSOM Affiliated Research Projects

What is a WVSOM Affiliated Research Project?

A WVSOM affiliated research project means a project, for which WVSOM resources are being utilized. This could mean personnel time, funding, space, etc. WVSOM affiliated projects must be approved in advance of starting the project. These WVSOM affiliated research projects may include work at another institution, for which WVSOM is providing personnel time or funds.

All full-time WVSOM employees working with other institutions on research projects are generally considered to be engaged in WVSOM affiliated projects. There are some exceptions (e.g. conducted during vacation time, leave without pay, etc.). You MUST talk with your supervisor and get approval about these exceptions in advance.

Students are not always considered engaged in WVSOM affiliated projects when doing work on their own time with a different institution or non-WVSOM faculty or employee. See below for more information.

Does WVSOM have funding for me to present my work locally or through travel?

Yes, WVSOM has (limited) funding to support student travel to present at a conference and to have posters printed? To be eligible to request funding, you must:

  • Be approved by WVSOM as personnel on a WVSOM affiliated research project in advance of participating as personnel, or
  • Be approved by WVSOM to undertake the scholarly activity in advance of undertaking the activity (e.g. get approval to write up the case report before you write it up).
  • For more information on how to procure approval in advance, see this FAQ on research and scholarly activity processes
  • Approval for eligibility to request funds for either research or scholarly activity is provided in an email from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Hang on to it for your records. The email will include a phrase, such as "you MAY be eligible to request funding for presentation of this project...". If you do not have this email in advance of starting on the project, you will not be approved for funding.
  • Additional approvals must be in place prior to reimbursement by the ORSP, including 1) approval to travel from your academic Associate Dean and 2) acceptance of the abstract by the conference.
  • NOTE: Out-of-State Travel requires approval by the President.  Contact the ORSP for more information.
If I am working at another institution, is the project considered WVSOM affiliated?

Possibly. The answer depends on whether you are a student or an employee.

  • If you are an employee and you are doing work for WVSOM, either for professional development, or as part of your WVSOM duties, with funding through WVSOM or a grant to WVSOM, or on professional leave through WVSOM to do the work, then yes. All WVSOM approvals must be in place prior to undertaking the work at another institution.
  • Students engaging in research projects as part of their academic requirements (e.g. a research rotation) or on WVSOM’s campus are considered to be engaged in WVSOM affiliated research. All WVSOM approvals must be in place prior to undertaking the research project.
  • Students are not considered WVSOM personnel for the purposes of research during their summer break between year 1 and 2, or during non-curricular time. Thus, if you are working at another institution during these time periods, your project is not considered a WVSOM affiliated project, unless you get specific approval for the project through WVSOM’s procedures.
As a student, what are the pros and cons of being involved in a WVSOM affiliated research project vs. doing research unaffiliated with WVSOM?

Student feedback indicates that the cons of being involved in WVSOM affiliated research are 3-fold:

  • The additional/duplicate paperwork required, especially if the project is collaborative with another institution (though the paperwork is often quick),
  • The research project will not be discussed in the Dean’s M letter (though students can put the work on their CV and discuss in their cover letter), and
  • WVSOM resources, like poster printing, travel funds, personnel time, and space, will not be provided by WVSOM for non-affiliated research projects (though the external PI may have funds).

Student feedback indicates that the benefits of being involved in WVSOM affiliated research are as follows:

  • The Dean(s) may comment on the WVSOM affiliated research project in the MSPE letter for residency application,
  • Students involved in a WVSOM affiliated research project may be eligible to request funds for presenting the work, like travel funds or poster printing, and
  • Other resources like WVSOM mentorship and statistical advice are available.
What is the process to have an external collaborative research project recognized as WVSOM affiliated?

The process is the same as the research project initiation process. Briefly, complete a WVSOM ORSP-1 form and return it to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and define your role on the project.

  • Students may not be the PI on research projects. The PI may be at the external institution, in which case students must also have a WVSOM employee mentor. The PI from the external institution must sign off on the WVSOM ORSP-1 form, the WVSOM employee mentor must sign the ORSP-1 form, and the WVSOM employee mentor’s supervisor should also sign the ORSP-1 form. Student should be sure to clearly describe their role on the external collaborative research project.
  • Employees collaborating externally for WVSOM purposes must still have the research project approved through the above process. Employees may be the PI or a co-PI, or simply research personnel. Make sure your role is clearly described on the ORSP-1 form.
What are the role and responsibilities of a WVSOM mentor for students doing research at an external facility?

As a WVSOM student research mentor, your responsibilities are to help guide the student through the approval process and ensure that the required permissions are in place. The WVSOM mentor may also help the student access WVSOM resources (e.g. statistics consultation, travel/poster funding) or provide professionalism mentoring. The WVSOM mentor may also be monitoring educational aspects of the program (e.g. a research rotation).

For clarity, the WVSOM mentor is not research personnel on the project and the WVSOM mentor should not be funding the research. The student should not be sharing data or specific information regarding the project with the WVSOM mentor, nor should the WVSOM mentor ask for any of those things related to the research project (without permission of the PI).

I will be working with live animals, living humans, or personally identifiable data at the external site. How long will approval for this take?

Research projects working with these types of subjects or data require additional approvals. There are two types of approvals that must be in place for this type of work:

  • The personnel must be added to the research ethics protocol (IACUC or IRB) AND
  • Either both institutions’ ethics boards must review and approve the research project OR both institutions must enter into an agreement to rely on the other institution’s ethics review and approval.

The first bullet point is generally pretty quick. The second bullet point can take several months to ensure appropriate approvals or agreements are in place. Remember that all approvals for such projects must be in place prior to the individual undertaking the work in order for it to be recognized as a WVSOM affiliated research project.

I am a student and I do not want this to be a WVSOM affiliated project, or I do not have time to get all the WVSOM paperwork in place for my summer research experience. Is that ok?

The short answer, YES, but see below.
WVSOM does not consider students as WVSOM personnel for research purposes during your summer off from academics (unless you are on campus working with WVSOM personnel), or when you are not on rotations (e.g. evenings or weekends). If you choose to forego the process of having WVSOM recognize and oversee a research project as WVSOM affiliated that is fine. Understand that you will not be able to have it discussed in your Dean’s letter, be able to request WVSOM funds to present the work, or have access to other WVSOM support. The PI at the other institution, however, may have funds and resources they may devote to the project. The PI at the other institution is responsible for your conduct and ensuring you are undertaking the work ethically and responsibly (as are you).

As with other, WVSOM or non-WVSOM related activities, you are expected to act professionally and ethically as a student physician. If the work is presented, you should indicate your primary affiliation as with the institution, at which you undertook the work. You may also indicate your current affiliation is with WVSOM, but the distinction that the work was done and overseen at/by the other institution should be clear. Here is an example of how to indicate this information:

Doe, Jane1,2, Other, Author1, Additional, Author1
1[Other Institution Name]; 2Current Affiliation-WVSOM

Scholarly Activity How To's

WVSOM Resources
Literature Reviews

Literature reviews are the first step in any scholarly activity project. Literature reviews allow you to gain a solid foundation on what has already been done on the topic, what gaps there are in the literature (which help you develop your specific question), and permit you to place the project and question in context.

Case Reports

Case report are a common mechanism for a brief scholarly activity project. Case reports still require a literature review, so see the above accordion for guidance. Below are some videos and documents for writing case reports.  Many of the links focus on requirements for publication in a journal, however, the points and steps are universal for case reports, even if you do not plan on submitting to a journal for publication.  Read some published case reports for examples.

Developing a CV or Resume
WVCTSI (WV Clinical and Translational Science Institute)

The WVCTSI provides resources for students to develop their research and scholarly activity skills.  There are a variety of pre-recorded webinars regarding research and scholarly activity.

AOA (American Osteopathic Association)

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) supports student research.  For more information, go to their website. There are also some video resources regarding research and how to get started.

AACOM (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine)

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) provides a host of scholarly activity resources and webinars regarding research and writing.  Check out the Scholarly Activity Series available on the AACOM website.

Available on demand webinars topics include:

  • Scholar Overview: Demystifying Medical Research Projects (2 parts)  (delivered by 2, yes, 2!!, DO-PhDs)
  • Ask a Biostatistician: Developing Your Data Analysis
  • Conference Abstract Writing: Tips & Tricks  (and see the announcement below regarding an abstract opportunity!)
  • Ask a Biostatistician: Developing your Research Question and Conducting Literature Search
  • Quality Improvement: Why and How in GME  (and did you know that we have an online subscription to learning more about QI?  contact Dr. Hanna for more info)
  • Researching and Writing Effective Background Section of Research Paper

Presentation Opportunities, Conferences, and Internships

Mid-Winter Osteopathic Seminar, January 26-28, 2024. Abstract submission TBA.

More information will be posted soon.

West Virginia Geriatrics Society, TBA.  Abstract submission TBA.
Ohio Osteopathic Symposium, April 18-21, 2024. Abstract submission TBA.
  • The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education, and the Ohio Osteopathic Association host an annual Ohio Osteopathic Symposium.
WVCTSI Annual Meeting, TBA. Abstract submission TBA.
Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians, 2024 TBD. Abstract submission TBA.
West Virginia Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine, 2024 TBD. Abstract submission TBA.
American Academy of Family Physicians, Family Practice Experience (FMX), October 26-29, 2023. Abstract submission TBA.
Sigma Xi International Forum on Research Excellence, November 10-12. Abstract submission closed.
American Physiology Summit, April 4-7, 2024. Abstracts submission deadline, November 3, 2023.
AACOM Educating Leaders, April 17-19, 2024. Abstracts submission deadline, October 6, 2023.
  • Current medical students and trainees are encouraged to submit abstracts for Educating Leaders 2024.
  • Topics include:
    • Diverse and Culturally Competent Workforce,
    • GME Programs and Osteopathic Training,
    • Promising Approach,
    • Research, and more
  • Educating Leaders call for abstracts.
West Virginia Rural Health Association Conference, November 15-17 2023. Abstract submission deadline September 29, 2023.
WV American Academy of Physicians, November 9-11, 2023. Abstract submission closed.
Substance Use Research Symposium, November 7-9, 2023. Abstract submission closed.
WV Osteopathic Medical Association (WVOMA), November 2-5, 2023. Abstract submission TBA
Appalachian Translational Research Network Summit, October 5-6 2023. Abstract submission closed.
Health Systems Science Impact Challenge, 2023 TBD

2022 Challenge

Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition (OMED), October 6-8, 2023.  Abstract submissions closed.
Summer Fellowships
Research Focused Elective Rotations

These elective rotations have various deadlines and many are accepted on an ongoing basis. Most require application almost a year in advance, so plan accordingly.   Check out the information page at the links below.  Elective rotations for credit through WVSOM must be approved by your StateWide Campus Regional Assistant Dean.  Refer to the Clinical Education Manual for more information.

Year-Long Fellowships

Likely require a leave of absence or other arrangement.