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Research Guide for Noobs- 4th Year Chronicles

By Muhammad Salik

We all have to do Research in Med School. Some are excited for it while others dread it. Whichever one you must be, a Guide to Medical Research always comes in handy to get the best of it without going through unnecessary trouble.

The first step is selecting the topic. There are two types of topics: 1) Student based 2) Patient Based. In Student based research you usually assess behaviors and patterns and relate them to something e.g. the research published in 2016 was “The relationship between learning techniques and academic performance”. You need 300 samples for this, which is easy. In patient based research you study different disease, their frequencies in your teaching hospital, their causes/risk factors/determinants and draw a final conclusion. E.g. here we have to have 100 sample patients, which is still easy as the department only assigns to you those topics which get frequent patients in Mayo Hospital, and you have a batch of 10 people so everyone has to take 10 samples only to reach the mark.
It’s a good tactic to select a topic related to the ward you have earliest, as it will allow you to complete your research along with your major ward and that is two birds with one stone. E.g. if you have eye ward first, you can go to the eye department or ask the most friendly teacher from eye department to help you select a research topic related to eye, they would be kind enough to help you out and you job is set now.

Research is given to you in the very start of 4th year, so you’re new to everything, you’ve never heard or done anything related to research, heck you’ve never even ever opened the Scholarly articles section of Google and all of a sudden you are asked to select 3 topic and submit 3 supporting papers each with the topic by the end of the week. So yeah you freak out, you try to find stuff online, you try to imagine great researches that you would do if only you had this or that and then finally your bubble bursts and you settle down to write a topic or two which is super easy and super nice at the same time that you can submit on Monday only to realize that you don’t have a single decent topic at the end of the week. So don’t worry it happens to most of us. So as soon as you read this article, it is advised to think of 3 decent topics that you can do research on the premises of KEMU & Mayo and in the time period of 4th year and without affecting your studies.
How to find Topics for research? That’s the million dollar question here! Well you have to think it yourself and yes that’s the only way. The thing that can help you in this process is to look at articles online and see what can fit in your region/premise. A very helpful site is PubMed.com.
Finding Supporting Papers: For this, type the crux of your topic on Google, in the search results, open the first one i.e. “Scholarly Articles about:” wala section OR simply search on http://scholar.google.com. Download the ones which are latest and free and shortest as you have to get them printed and that costs money. If you can’t find any short ones, just cut out the unnecessary portion of the paper and print out the rest.
This concludes the first phase of the process. Those who are left behind or can’t find any topic are assigned topics by the department themselves. Those who want to get their own topics approved can also text the Incharge with topic (depends upon the incharge, Our incharge was very nice in this regard). File a complete topic with proper wording and a small description to get it accepted otherwise be prepared for rejection. Research heads are usually very particular about proper, disciplined work as they have to handle the whole class and unorganized stuff makes things difficult to manage.

Don’t worry if you don’t get your desired topic. We didn’t and the only solace was in knowing that people got worse topics then us.

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