Medical research is one of the most important things you can master as a medical student. Doing sound research will set you apart in your classes and set you up for a fruitful career.
As a medical student, you will have many opportunities to do research in your field. Medical research can be daunting, which is why we’ve assembled this guide to help you out.
Follow these simple tips, and your research paper is sure to blow your professor and peers away.
Choose the Right Topic
The best clinical research papers are those with a great topic. No matter how strong your research methodology is, the wrong topic can seriously throw a wrench in it.
A smart student will choose a research topic that already has a strong foundation. Groundbreaking research is great, but you should probably save those ambitions for your post-graduate work.
The best med research topics are flexible, easy to approach, and have a pre-established body of source material.
Some examples of strong medical research topics include:
- How to prevent Type II Diabetes
- How to prevent teen pregnancy
- The best traditional treatments for the common cold
- How to minimize the effects of stress on the body
- How to help elderly patients fight high blood pressure
All these examples have a few things in common: they are open-ended, they involve social as well as medical factors, and they have already been researched by other institutions.
These kinds of questions are great for medical students. You can easily use these queries to prove that you understand research methodology and the scientific method.
Choose Your Sources Carefully
One of the biggest mistakes that medical students can make is having poor source literacy. You must be able to tell what makes a source suitable to use for your paper.
Let’s break down all the things you should look for when you are evaluating a source.
The medical industry changes very quickly. For example, the diagnostic criteria for various mental illnesses often change significantly when a new edition of the DSM comes out.
You should always make sure that some of your sources are as recent as possible. You can also use older research as a means of exploring your topic, but you must treat it carefully.
Know Your Methodology
Many research papers can make themselves seem credible even if they aren’t. It is up to you to spot faulty research methodology.
Before you start writing research papers, you should familiarize yourself with common medical research methodologies and how they work. This can help you avoid pitfalls.
For example, you should not present a research finding as absolute if it was determined in an experiment with small sample size.
Your professors will see that and immediately know that you did not look into (or understand) the experiment’s methodology.
Be Aware of Bias
Different studies are published for different reasons. You must be able to tell the difference between white paper studies and case studies.
White paper studies are published in order to prove the efficacy of a particular product or solution. They are primarily intended to sell products or solutions; not to inform the general public or student researchers.
Case studies are unbiased papers that aim to solve an open-ended question. They are intended to inform the scientific community and the public, and not to sell any particular solution.
When it comes to outside source material, you should stick to case studies for your research in medical school.
Method Is More Important Than Results
The point of doing research in medical school is proving that you understand how to do research. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Your medical research should always seek to answer a well-defined question.
For example, if you want to research ways to prevent Type II Diabetes, you should answer the question: what is the best way to prevent Type II Diabetes?
You should always make sure that your research process is crystal-clear. That way, your professors will be able to clearly understand how you got the results you did.
Your professors cannot help you improve as a researcher if they cannot see your methodology. Your research as a medical student should be, above all else, a learning experience.
Research What You Care About
Research is most impressive when it can be built upon. You should choose a topic that you feel passionate about, and that you’d like to one day contribute to on a greater scale.
The more foundation you have in a subject, the better your chances are at doing groundbreaking research on it one day.
Medical school isn’t the time to break barriers, but it can set you up to break barriers once your career has truly kicked off. The sooner you start researching your area of special interest, the better.
Research can also help you discover what you care about. You might have no idea how fascinating a topic can be until you research it for medical school.
If you plan on using your research to apply for further medical education, you should develop a plan to eventually further that research. Professors think highly of research that is motivated by passion and planning.
Impress With Your Medical Research Today
Now that you know how to make medical research easy, get out there and start your project. With the right resources, you can develop a research project that will wow your professors and peers.
Mastering research is the first step toward a successful career in medicine. Set yourself up for success today!
For more helpful tips for students, check out the rest of our blog!