Author Biographical Information

Courtney Wedemire, BSc, RD, is a graduate student at Rutgers University and works as a critical care dietitian at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, Fraser Health Authority. Rebecca Brody, PhD, RD, LD, CNSC is a Professor at Rutgers School of Health Professions, Department of Clinical and Preventive Nutrition Sciences. Joachim Sackey, PhD, is a nutritional epidemiologist at Rutgers University. Laura Byham-Gray, PhD, RD, is a Professor and Vice Chair of Research at Rutgers School of Health Professions, Department of Clinical and Preventive Nutrition Sciences.


Background: Dietitians are not frequently participating in or leading research. Cultivating greater research interest and involvement starts with dietetics education, but little is known about dietetics students’ research involvement and interest. This study examines relationships between research involvement and interest among graduate dietetics students. Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey design incorporating participant characteristic data, the Practice-Based Dietitian Research Involvement Survey (PBDRIS), and the modified Interest in Research Questionnaire (IRQ) tools; 89 of 327 (27.2%) graduate dietetic students from 3 US universities were included. Participant characteristics, PBDRIS scores, and IRQ scores were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Relationships between variables were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis test, one-way ANOVA, and Spearman correlation depending on data distribution. Results: Among participants, the median age was 35.0, 92.5% were female, and 70.8% were registered dietitians. The mean PBDRIS total score was 47.4 ± 10.9, and the median IRQ score was 66.0 (56.0, 75.0). Post-professional doctorate students had a significantly higher PBDRIS total score than pre-professional master’s students (P=0.002). There were significantly higher median IRQ scores among post-professional master’s and doctorate students than pre-professional master’s students (P<0.001 and P=0.004, respectively). A moderate, positive correlation was found between PBDRIS total score and IRQ score (P<0.001). Conclusion: Research involvement is higher in post-professional doctorate students than in pre-professional master’s students. Research interest is higher in post-professional master’s and doctorate students compared to pre-professional master’s students. The pre-professional dietetics research curriculum should be strengthened to cultivate research interest and involvement.


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