June 2012, Volume 62, Issue 6

Student's Corner

Research Bandwagon

Madam, quality research especially at the medical school level has a lot of benefits and can be a pivotal factor in producing doctors that pursue an academic or research oriented career.1 Pakistan is a developing country where research is still an emerging concept. Even though there have been outstanding publications in the field of medicine from Pakistani doctors and medical students alike, the overall quality is deteriorating. Due to the rising demand of impressive resumes and increasing competition for international residencies, more and more medical students are joining this research bandwagon.2 While theoretically this idea is not without merit, the practical outcome is not turning out to be that promising. Most medical students who opt for researches are in their second and third year and have not been given any formal training on methodology, analysis and paper writing till that time. Most topics are weak in their approach, irrelevant or reproduced. There is also a shortage of experienced supervisors who have the time and inclination to guide students. Most researches are questionnaire based studies or KAP surveys which carry less weight in themselves and the data collection procedure may have credibility issues. Lack of funding for student projects despite good ideas is also an important factor.
Medical Universities should modify their curriculum to accommodate formal research training from first year and likewise supervisors should be appointed then only to help them. It is observed that this helps the students\\\' performance and increases their interest in research.3,4 Also these students can apply the principles learnt in their medical practice.
Students should register their researches with their respective universities to ensure that quality topics are allowed to continue further and also to keep a check on the number of projects a student is working upon at one time. This, amongst other things would ensure that the students are not overburdened with so many projects that their academics suffer. Each university should have a committee which provides research grants to deserving students.4
Articles written by qualified individuals entailing guidelines to conduct a research study should be included in journals.5 Such an initiative in the recent issues of JPMA is commendable. Moreover workshops and seminars should be organized and the trend of journal clubs should be inculcated which all would help increase the standard of researches and hopefully curb the influx of sub-standard researches to the limited journals of Pakistan.
 
Muhammad Danish Saleem,1 Shaza Khalid2
4th Year Medical Student, Dow Medical College,1 4th Year Medical Student, Sindh Medical College,2 Karachi. Corresponding Author: Muhammad Danish Saleem.
Email: saleemmdanish@hotmail.com

References

1. Solomon SS, Tom SC, Pichert J, Wasserman D, Powers AC. Impact of medical student research in the development of physician-scientists. J Investig Med 2003; 51: 149-56.
2. Ejaz K, Shamim MS, Shamim MS, Hussain SA. Involvement of medical students and fresh medical graduates of Karachi, Pakistan in research. J Pak Med Assoc 2011; 61: 115-20.
3. Zier K, Friedman E, Smith L. Supportive programs increase medical students\\\' research interest and productivity. J Investig Med 2006; 54: 201-7.
4. Frei E, Stamm M, Buddeberg-Fischer B. Mentoring programs for medical students--a review of the PubMed literature 2000-2008. BMC Med Educ 2010; 10: 32.
5. Bhatti JA, Akhter U, Raza SA, Ejaz K Selecting a research topic. J Pak Med Assoc 2011; 61: 115-20.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: