Objective: To determine trainee perspectives of the utility of a trainee research project (TRP) or the coursework pathway (CP) in completing the Trainee Research Requirement of the ACEM. Methods: A survey based on the ACEM learning objectives for research was sent to all trainees and Fellows who had completed or intending to complete the Trainee Research Requirement between 2010 and 2012. Participants were asked to rate the value of the TRP or CP on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = not useful and 10 = invaluable ). In addition, open-ended questions were asked for qualitative assessment. Results: Survey response was 142/621 (23 ). Most participants had undertaken the CP (113/142, 79 ). Median scores were better for the CP compared with the TRP, and when results were dichotomised to scores of 1-5 as being not useful and 6-10 as being useful, a significantly higher proportion of participants rated the CP as being useful across all learning objectives (P = 0.01). There was a bimodal distribution of scores for TRPs, with a minority of trainees reporting a very poor TRP experience. Cost was the most commonly cited negative aspect of the CP, whereas the TRP was perceived as time consuming and being difficult to attain. Conclusions: More ACEM trainees are undertaking the CP compared with a TRP. The CP was associated with better self-reported fulfilment of the ACEM learning objectives for research. There is scope for the ACEM to improve the experience of trainees wishing to undertake their own research projects.