Completely Independent Research

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kimiij

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Has anyone done completely independent research? When I say independent, I mean research that was done on one's own interest, without serious input from a faculty member. I am interested in doing research on my own but I wonder if it will not look "official" enough if I am not working with faculty at my school. Has anyone then put this research on their medical school application?

Also, I wouldn't be doing "lab" or "clinical" research. My research would be based off of secondary research sources. I would also do survey research and focus group research, interviews, and observations by myself (I do this for a living). The research is medically related, but it doesn't involve labwork.
 

Scottish Chap

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Has anyone done completely independent research? When I say independent, I mean research that was done on one's own interest, without serious input from a faculty member. I am interested in doing research on my own but I wonder if it will not look "official" enough if I am not working with faculty at my school.
Yes. I did this before medical school (Ph.D. thesis in a lab with a P.I. that knew nothing about the area of work I was interested in). He was a neuroscientist who wanted to experiment in cardiac research. It was an enormoualy rewarding experience, but to say that you must be both a self-starter and highly-motivated is an understatement. I'm doing it again while in medical school. PM me with specific questions if you want.

Based on what you have posted, you will absolutely need the input of a faculty member if you have zero research experience. Also, for consumables and other logistics like contacts, again, you will absolutely need the help of an established investigator.
 

kimiij

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Thanks for your reply Scottish Chap. I do have research experience (I do research right now for a living- mainly through survey research, observations, interviews, and policy/document reviews for social issues research. I guess I am concerned that since it won't be "lab" research or affiliated with a P.I. then it won't be valid to the adcoms for med school?
 

Shpamme

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I agree you'll need the help of a faculty--aren't there all sorts of statistical analyses that have to be done, and IRB requests to submit if you're dealing with human subjects? Plus a faculty can help you get it published--they typically know the process in and out, and can help you narrow down the journals you submit to.

I think it's really cool that you figured out something you're really interested in and are showing initiative to do it on your own! I'm guessing med schools will recognize how self-motivated you are!!
 

ryanl

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Yeah you really need a PI to 'sponsor' your research. Even if they don't have much input, at this point in life they are a necessity. I am assuming you are doing the research to get published and as Shpamme said, the PI will help you and almost be a necessity to get published. If you are doing this for your own knowledge and not to get published.... well then you could do it on your own, but i don't think it would be looked upon as favorably, cause the purpose of research in academia is to advance knowledge as a whole, not just for personal knowledge.
 
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