Research in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Services is primarily qualitative and focused on changes within individual educational programs. As the profession has expanded, research has begun to move outside of institutionally focused research and is beginning to look at workforce, curricular models nationally, policy, and many other areas. The faculty at the University of Iowa Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Services has always been active in research dating back to the beginning of the program. The longest serving program director, Denis Oliver, started the only national database on Physician Assistant Education that is now performed annually by the Physician Assistant Education Association. This data set gives a rich history and tool to evaluate programs around the country, as well as a national data set that researchers may use for data mining.

Research in the Department has centered around educational models, teaching strategies, professionalism, faculty workload, and national data sets on faculty teaching, research, service, and scholarship. The Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Services faculty have received many small grants through the Physician Assistant Education Association, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and other sources. In addition, the Department has received past HRSA grants that have helped promote rural based family practice and teaching fellowships. The Department is committed to ongoing research in Physician Assistant Education and PA workforce.