October 2017, Volume 67, Issue 10

Letter to the Editor

Comment on Najia Karim Ghanchi et al (J Pak Med Assoc. 2017; 2: 627-9) Perception of pathology as a future career choice among medical Students from Karachi, Pakistan: Experience from a private medical school

Asim Shaikh  ( Dow Medical College, Karachi )
Rohan Kumar Ochani  ( Dow Medical College, Karachi )
Syed Saboor Hasan  ( Dow Medical College, Karachi )

Madam, given the importance of pathologists,1 the brilliant efforts of Ghanchi et al.2 in determining perceptions of pathology as a future career choice, are to be commended. However, we believe that some of the essential limitations have not been addressed, raising concerns about the authenticity of the study.

Firstly, it mentions "practicing pathology was financially less attractive", however, it also states that only "8.1%" students believed "lower incomes" were the cause of not pursuing pathology. Furthermore, statistical tests, which are of grave importance,3 have not been applied to check if finance was a statistically significant factor. It also mentions "students were moderately satisfied". No data has been provided to show on what basis this distinction of "moderate" was made.

Secondly, it does not mention how bias was reduced. It states "students were approached randomly to participate", however, in these face to face interviews, it does not mention how interviewer and acquiescence biases were reduced and whether anonymity was ensured to limit response bias. Presence of bias has to be assumed always and it is the researcher\\\'s duty to show how it was reduced.4

Finally, it states "201 students participant survey forms were evaluated". However, it does not mention how this sample size was calculated, whether a frequency outcome factor or a confidence interval was employed. Adjustments for errors have also not been put into place. These common place mistakes and omissions5 question the confidence with which the results of this study can be stated.

Disclaimer: None to declared.
Conflict of Interest: None to declared.
Funding Disclosure: None to declared.

References

1. Crawford JM. Original research in pathology: judgment, or evidence-based medicine? Lab Invest 2007; 87: 104-14.

2. Ghanchi NK, Nizamuddin RN, Qasim A, Khaled ZN, Raheem AB, Ali N, et al. Perception of pathology as a future career choice among medical Students from Karachi, Pakistan: Experience from a private medical school. J Pak Med Assoc 2017; 2: 627-9

3. Nayak BK, Hazra A. How to choose the right statistical test? Indian J Ophthalmol 2011; 59: 85-6.

4. Pannucci CJ, Wilkins EG. Identifying and avoiding bias in research. Plast Reconstr Surg 2010; 126: 619-25.

5. Nayak BK. Understanding the relevance of sample size calculation. Indian J Ophthalmol 2010; 58: 469-70. 

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