Emergency Medicine

Resident Research

Emergency Medicine is a relatively new specialty. Canada's first residency programs started in the 1980s, and focused largely on teaching, administration, and clinical service. Since then, the Emergency Department has gained more recognition as an important interface between community and inpatient care. Emergency Departments are also playing a much bigger role in emergency care and timely therapy for many conditions (eg. sepsis, acute cardiac conditions, airway control, and trauma care).

Emergency Medicine has an excellent, though relatively small, community of researchers in Canada. The field has gained greater traction in the past 15 years; however, the University of Alberta has emerged as one of Canada's top two centres for Emergency Medicine research and ranks among the leaders internationally.

Research Educational Objectives

All residents are expected to take part in some form of scholarly project throughout their programs. These projects are defined as "the production and dissemination of academic education or research materials to staff or the medical community" and receive support from the Emergency Medicine Research Group. Residents require a basic appreciation of research methods in order to conduct audits and provide feedback in their future careers.


Residents should acquire a detailed understanding of evidence-based emergency medicine (EBEM), including the following:

  • Basic concepts of critical appraisal of literature
  • Study design and methodology
  • Ethical issues in research
  • Basic statistics used in Emergency Medicine research

Enabling Activities

Residents should be able to do the following:

  • Generate a hypothesis/research question using PICOD methods
  • Critically appraise the literature on topics relevant to Emergency Medicine
  • Complete a literature review for presentation
  • Participate in a study design, data collection, data analysis and presentation
  • Participate in a quality assurance/risk management project
  • Resident Research Requirements
  • To satisfy this requirement for scholarly activity, the resident must complete one major project, or two minor projects, over the five years of training. Major projects are defined as the following:

Primary Research

Residents are generally encouraged to conduct their own primary research; however, they should bear in mind the tremendous amount of work involved. Generally, we expect a systematic review to be performed prior to a project proposal, presented as a PGY1 or 2 at the Annual Research Day, followed by a proposal submission, presented as a PGY2 or 3 at the Annual Research Day, and the execution of the project, prepared as a PGY3-5 with results presented as a PGY5 at the Annual Research Day.

Meta-analysis/systematic reviews

Meta-analysis/systematic reviews are acceptable scholarly activities for the resident. A meta-analysis/systematic review in progress, studying the development of a protocol that would advance to completion at a later date, is considered an acceptable contribution to the scholarly work of the Department.


Prospective surveys of residents, medical students, staff or patients is acceptable. In addition to being forms of primary research, they require a formal protocol and ethics approval, which can be a prolonged process.