Research and publications

Discussion in 'Studying Medicine' started by VeronicaHoran, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. VeronicaHoran

    VeronicaHoran Member

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    Hi guys:)

    So I know that research and publications is an important part of med school and something that hospitals look for when it comes to internships and beyond. So, does anyone have any advice on how to get involved in research during med school, and how to get published in peer reviewed journals, and also present your research?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. pi

    pi Junior doctor Moderator

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    Find someone willing to mentor you in an area of your interest.
     
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  3. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    To expand on how one actually goes about doing as Pi suggests:

    Most medical schools have some kinds of pre-arranged research opportunities (summer research studentships, research components within the degree, pre-arranged BMedSc/similar topics, etc). These can be good - particularly if you have zero research experience or you're only really doing it for your CV. Although there's the caveat that anything you do solely for CV purposes probably won't be that enjoyable.

    I'd thoroughly recommend a more proactive approach. Look up the work of academics/clinicians at your university, see if there's anyone doing things you find really interesting or that you feel passionately about. Email them, meet up with them. Most researchers love nothing more than a student who genuinely shares a passion for the specific field that they've made their life's work. From there you might be able to get involved with their research in your free time, or do your own work under their supervision. If you really want to find out what it's like doing full-time research that you have significant control over, I'd strongly suggest looking into a BMedSc (Hons) year or your university's equivalent. A full year really gives you enough time to create and complete a half-decent project. The little projects done alongside medical school are typically a bit average, and it's hard to really dedicate enough time to them to make them high-quality - particularly if you haven't got prior experience and are trying to learn the ropes in that setting.


    So yes, frootloop is promoting research years, and that's not surprising. But if you are genuinely interested in learning the basics of medical research, it's a good idea. I've seen so much terrible science done - and published - by medical students (and clinicians) who haven't ever properly learned how. Considering practically everyone going into medicine now will publish many somethings during their career, I think it's pretty slack how little most will learn about how to actually do science.
     
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  4. chinaski

    chinaski Regular Member

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    Probably worth putting this into perspective: in reality, many doctors won't publish anything at all, ever - and those who publish a bit during their training or a particular juncture of their career may never publish again. The competitive market at the moment gives people the false impression that the majority of doctors are churning out papers on a regular basis - the truth of the matter is that academic work and regular publication only comes from a fraction of the entire market out there.
     
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  5. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    You're right, of course. Most currently practicing consultants aren't routinely firing off publications.

    But the competitive market at the moment is forcing a good number of people (I'd go as far as to say the majority) to publish to get onto a training program or during training itself. At least, that's the impression among a lot of the senior house officers I know. That could just be a self-fulfiling prophecy though, I don't know enough about how the selection peoples think.

    Regardless, said competition is probably only going to get more intense, and publications are one of the more obvious CV boosters. Not to mention the research components most medical schools push (e.g. even though Otago has no official 'research component', my surgical run this year involved a compulsory project which many of us ended up publishing). So my suggestion that most people starting out in medical school now will probably more or less have to publish something at some stage isn't that outlandish.
     
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  6. chinaski

    chinaski Regular Member

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    I'm well aware of the pressure on trainees to publish. My point is: many will STOP active academic work as soon as they secure employment at consultant level. The idea that most doctors continue to consistently publish throughout their careers is false - most won't.
     
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  7. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    Yep, I don't doubt that - nor have I implied that the average consultant is heavily involved in academic research.

    I'm replying to someone who is either applying for medical school or in their first few years of it. My posts have been aimed at that audience.

    I stand by the comment you first quoted - something not particularly related to the point you've taken out of it.
    If people want to publish scientific articles (as most do at some point), 'I just have to do it for my CV' is a poor excuse for doing a half-a*sed job of it. The difference between us and homeopaths is our evidence base. So the pretty poor research quality and questionable understanding of basic statistics I see quite regularly irritates me.

    My point was that, if we're going to have a competitive environment which forces lots of people with minimal interest in research into doing it, we should spend a little more time teaching them how to do it properly. It was not that all doctors publish consistently throughout their career.
     
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