By Bas ten Elzen
According to most medical students, studying medicine is too exhausting and time-consuming when combined with doing clinical research.
Although it is true that it takes time to carry out a qualitatively sound and relevant study, it certainly seems more achievable with the recommendations that Jan Vandenbroucke offers in the NTVG’’s article ‘conducting your own research: a revised recipe for a clinical research training project’.
In this article, he states that the research question should be limited to a specific aspect of a clinical problem.
A disadvantage of this is that the question becomes too broad, so a clear exposition (e.g. physical inactivity), domain (e.g. patients <60) and outcome (e.g. DM-2) should be incorporated into the question. In addition, the researcher should pay attention to the nature of the study. Will it concentrate on diagnostics, prediction, therapy, or something else? This choice is important for the decision which data to collect and the way in which it should be analysed.
Other tips include starting with a pilot study, writing the article before data-collection, to streamline the process and to be accountable.
These recommendations are well explained in the NTVG article, which is an absolute must-read for all medical students doing medical research.
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2015;159:A9117