Issues important to the research mentoring relationship

David A. Katerndahl, Daniel R. Longo, Kim Griswold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Family medicine lacks a critical mass of experienced, federally funded researchers to serve as research mentors for young investigators. The purpose of this study was to identify issues important when mentoring junior investigators. Methods: Eight experienced primary care investigators, known for their excellence in mentorship, were recruited from the Primary Care Research Methods and Statistics Conference. After participation in a focus group exploring issues related to the quality, techniques, effectiveness, and efficiency of mentorship, subjects completed three rounds of Delphi using variables identified during the focus group to develop a comprehensive, stable list of 72 mentoring strategies. Results: Five items received perfect ratings of agreement: (1) primary task to help protégé identify long-term goals and strategize to meet them, (2) difference exists between mentoring and collaboration, (3) assigning mentor is not a guarantee that the relationship will work, (4) mentor can provide expertise and encouragement but not ensure a desired outcome, and (5) mentor who does not care about the protégé is not likely to be effective. The strategies with which the mentors disagreed included mentor-protégé characteristics and differences. Conclusions: Mentors emphasized the importance of long-term goals, difference between mentorship and collaboration, and commitment from the mentor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-197
Number of pages5
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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