Find a Research Question - SBH Health System
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Resident reviewing research
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Find a Research Question

What makes an effective research project?

Here are some questions to address in finding a research project:

  1. What are my interests? Do I want to subspecialize, go into primary care or academic medicine?
  2. Does this research project idea inspire me? Will I see it through to completion?
  3. Is the question important in the world? Will this fulfill my research goals in my field of interest?
  4. Will the project give me the training and development I want?
  5. Will I gain expertise in an area of interest to me? Will this project advance my future in medicine?
  6. Will this project enable me to work with a mentor with whom I would like to build a relationship?
  7. How feasible is the project? How much time & effort will the project take? Will the results be compelling enough to publish/present regardless of the outcome?

Research Committee Review Meeting

The research committee is available to review your study prior to IRB approval. This is a good forum for you to check if your study design will help answer the questions that you have generated. Dr. Yens, the statistician, will also be present.
To participate, please email the research committee at sbhrc@sbhny.org

Literature review

While trying to define the question for your research project, review the literature:

Determine if others have asked the same or similar questions.

What does your study add to the published data?

Should you model your project on existing studies?

See what definitions are used in the studies to ensure that yours fit established paradigms.

Searching the Journal Literature

Tips on searching: be specific, when available search with controlled vocabulary; if you need to search by keyword, make sure to include all spelling variations and synonyms. Ask the librarian for help.

Albert Einstein School of Medicine Databases and Tools

Albert Einstein School of Medicine Databases and Tools (click here to access AEB databases and Tools)
Please note access restricted to attending and house staff from the Internal Medicine and Pediatric Departments

OVID Medline

OVID Medline – Bibliographic and abstract coverage of biomedical literature: medical, dental, nursing, allied health and healthcare administration. Updated weekly. Searchable back to 1946. Some available resources include:

  • OVID Medline
  • Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials
  • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
  • Cochrane Methodology Register
  • Health Technology Assessment
  • National Health Sciences Economic Evaluation Database
  • Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, secondary referencing

Access to OVID Medline requires the user to be on the intranet. Please contact the Library for further information.

Web of Knowledge (Science Citation Index)

Portal to databases of high quality information.  Provides tools to search across multiple databases; content includes journal articles, conference proceedings, patents, websites, chemical structures, compounds and reactions.

EndNote and RefWorks – both software programs collect and organize your references to journal articles, books, conferences, and multimedia files.  Import citations and automatically create footnotes and bibliographies as you write.

Library Staff

Deborah Bonelli x6466…………………….Library Director

Reinaldo Rodriguez x9498………………Electronic Resources Coordinator

Joan Sherman x6113……………………….Library Assistant

Data Collection

Create a data collection sheet. The sheet should contain all the data (variables) you will be collecting information on.  It can have patient identifiers but must be kept in a secure manner.

Some hints on data collection:

  • If you are not sure if you need a certain data, add it to the sheet. It takes a lot more work to get this data at a later time.
  • If there are multiple people collecting data, standardize the questions so that everyone understands it in the same way. For example: if you ask does this patient have fever? If fever is not defined (100.4) then the data will not be accurate.
  • After IRB approval, pilot your data collection sheet for the first couple of patient. This will help ensure that all researchers involved are collecting all the data needed using the established definitions.
  • Remember to keep the data secure.
  • Most likely the data will be entered in SPSS or Excel. Become familiar with these programs prior to setting up the data collection sheet. If possible, have one person enter the data. This will allow the data to be consistent.

Example:  You would like to do a study to determine Vitamin D levels in the Bronx population.
We have determined that:
• It is a prospective study
• Consent is needed for patient enrollment
• You will determine the target number of patients that you will need to enroll to show a difference between the diabetic and non diabetic group (if not sure of the statistics or even your study design, you can present your work to the Research Committee)

A possible data collection sheet for the proposed study can include:

• Name or/and code number, age, gender, race
• Presence of diabetes yes/no
• Results of vitamin D levels
• Underlying medical conditions
• Previous diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency
• On Vitamin D supplements
• Etc.

What makes an effective research project?

Here are some questions to address in finding a research project:

  1. What are my interests? Do I want to subspecialize, go into primary care or academic medicine?
  2. Does this research project idea inspire me? Will I see it through to completion?
  3. Is the question important in the world? Will this fulfill on my purpose in medicine?
  4. Will the project give me the training and development I want?
  5. Will I gain expertise in an area of interest to me? Will this project advance my future in medicine?
  6. Will this project enable me to work with a mentor with whom I would like to build a relationship?
  7. How feasible is the project? How much time & effort will the project take? Will the results be compelling enough to publish/present regardless of the outcome?

How do I find a mentor?

You can do this two ways:

  1. You can select the topic or area you want to work in, and then go to the Find a Mentor section of this site and look under the department or section for names of Attendings who are interested in working with residents doing research.
  2. You might approach an attending who you already know and enjoy working with and ask him/her about the possibility of a study you could do together, or your mentor needs to be on staff at St. Barnabas Hospital, because you need a primary investigator on the study from the hospital.

Is funding available for my project?

There are many projects that do not need funding. However, if you are doing some testing, or need some equipment or supplies, you can write a short request to the Medical Education Research Fund (MERF). The application is available on the SBH wiki. For larger studies, you can check out the grants section of this site. In general outside grants take a substantial amount of time to go through the grant and award process.

What database resources are available?

For a complete listing, please visit our Database Research resource page.

How do I present my work?

There are three ways to present your research findings:

  1. Posters- this is the easiest way to show your study. The library site has all the information about how to put together a poster, and includes a template. The library also has the capability of printing posters. Residents present their posters at the St. Barnabas hospital annual resident research day held in May.
  2. Oral presentations- there are multiple medical and dental organization meetings where residents have presented their studies. A power point presentation is typically required. You need to research the specific organization and find out when their meetings are held and due dates for submission of the abstract.
  3. Publications– this is the most time consuming, but most widely distributed means of getting your study findings out into the medical/dental community. Each journal has its own format and submission requirements.