Clinical Research Position, am I doing things right?

Discussion in 'Student Research and Publishing' started by libraryismyhome, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. libraryismyhome

    libraryismyhome Membership Revoked
    Removed Account on Hold 7+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2010
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    Medical Student
    Hello, I already posted this message, but people who intended to help me were in the same boat as I was, so they weren't able to provide trenchant insights. So please do not consider this as an infraction, because I am really seeking some help here and have written extra info to better describe my situation.

    I am currently working as a clinical research assistant at Neurology Department, but I am not sure about my current tasks whether they are going to be productive with authorship. I have worked here fore a month now.

    My two "PIs" (though this is not the right term in clinical research) are chairman and chief of the department. They are mainly working on rare muscular dystrophy diseases and have informed me about numerous opportunities about pubs and conferences.

    However, since I just started working, I am confused about their expectations and the purpose of my tasks. So far, I only have done data organization by looking up patient registry and dividing between gender, age, residence, and the degree of disability. But this is not data analysis since there was no statistical component. I also operated devices that measure patients' gait, but they were not for data collection....

    They say that they are going to give me the data and I will analyze them. Since I have never done data analysis in clinical research, I am aware that I must read papers to get insights. I was also told to talk to one of physicians, who could teach me something about Epidemiology for the purpose of learning statistical analysis, but I don't know how do I learn this broad subject in short period of time.

    My PI (again, please mind my vocabulary) was saying that he would publish 3~4 papers this year. so his statement sounds very attractive, but I am still confused here. Are they just try to make me do some chore, so that they wouldn't feel bad and I would have something to say to adcoms during this gap year? or would I be able to get my names on these pubs?
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  2. jmt1984

    7+ Year Member

    Aug 17, 2009
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    3 to 4 papers is pretty good for one year. I know that it varies from journal to journal, but most are beginning to 'crack down' on listing many people as authors, several journals I'm familiar with expect the authors to have intellectually contributed to the work, not just ran an assay or statistical analysis. I would be careful, some PIs lure in people with the promise of authorship and you can get stuck doing 'chore' work, but when you start in a lab you have to start somewhere. My advice would be to see what this PIs publication records is (is 3 papers in one year something he/she has done in the past? also, talk with some of the other technicians or people in the lab and see what their experiences have been). Most of the clinical PIs that I know are either the type to never include a technician on any publication or the extreme opposite of giving them authorship on every manuscript that comes out of their lab.

    Also, if you want to secure yourself a position as an author, begin to read other papers in the field and draw similarities between your work and start making suggestions for experiments, or targets that you would want to look at or measure. Being active in this way will help you develop as a scientist, but also demonstrate the type of thinking that is required to design and test hypothesis (and ultimately produce scientific manuscripts). Good luck!
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    ROBINHO Junior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2004
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    Resident [Any Field]
    Read a lot...papers related to your study
    Contact the one who is supposed to give u epidemiology and stats knowledge. U are right within such short time u wont get it.
    If he is busy...start googling some basic knowledge and start playing with the data. i learned how to use ''ttest'' on excel through google. Start playing with the data ...for example comparing those with blue eyes and brown eyes....different efects of disease. Practice writing your own mini abstracts with the data .
    The more you look at the data aand read other papers....u begin to have a better insight and you can chip in some ideas and that will get their attention.
    depending on the relationship with them....tell them u would like to try writing some case report of a rare disease.

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