Does Virtual Research Count?

MhmMhm

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Hello all!

I have been doing research for almost a year now but I have never set foot in a lab due to covid. My research revolves around reading various literature, filtering information, assessing the quality of the paper, etc. to hopefully publish a systematic review in the future. I am just wondering if this research would be looked at the same way as clinical/lab research.

Thanks!
 
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Shorjand_U

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Obviously, you are not directly applying the scientific method, but then again you're absorbing and learning about it; additionally, if you manage to do so, publishing a review is still quite difficult and a large achievement. What you're doing isn't necessarily 'research' in itself but it can be and is an integral supplementary portion of research. No clue how this would be viewed by schools, but at least you're applying yourself in some way.
 
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alm414

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Is there a scientific question that you're attempting to answer? If yes, it's research. If you're pouring through data and literature to find evidence that answers a defined question, I think it would be considered research.

Is it looked at the same way as lab/clinical research is? No idea. That's a question for an admissions committee member.
 
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vinylradical

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IMO literature review IS research, especially if it 1) is supervised by a mentor, 2) involves any sort of communication with the scientific community (presentations, posters, etc), 3) is funded by a grant, and/or 4) leads to a pub. Sure it's not the same as bench research, but it is an important part of the research process. One of the bench labs I worked in had a undergrad student who was solely dedicated to literature review. They were considered an important part of our team as their work helped develop a new methodology that the wet lab people could then implement. I also have many peers who are published in humanities journals (law, ethics, etc) and their research was 99% literature review.
 
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MhmMhm

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Is there a scientific question that you're attempting to answer? If yes, it's research. If you're pouring through data and literature to find evidence that answers a defined question, I think it would be considered research.

Is it looked at the same way as lab/clinical research is? No idea. That's a question for an admissions committee member.
Yes! We have a question that we are setting out to answer. I will for sure ask someone on an admissions committee. Thank you!
 

MhmMhm

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IMO literature review IS research, especially if it 1) is supervised by a mentor, 2) involves any sort of communication with the scientific community (presentations, posters, etc), 3) is funded by a grant, and/or 4) leads to a pub. Sure it's not the same as bench research, but it is an important part of the research process. One of the bench labs I worked in had a undergrad student who was solely dedicated to literature review. They were considered an important part of our team as their work helped develop a new methodology that the wet lab people could then implement. I also have many peers who are published in humanities journals (law, ethics, etc) and their research was 99% literature review.
Thanks for your reply! I can say that most of the things that you mentioned definitely apply! I will do some more digging to see what admission committees would think.
 
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Hello all!

I have been doing research for almost a year now but I have never set foot in a lab due to covid. My research revolves around reading various literature, filtering information, assessing the quality of the paper, etc. to hopefully publish a systematic review in the future. I am just wondering if this research would be looked at the same way as clinical/lab research.

Thanks!
Not really. You're doing lit review, rather than testing a hypothesis and learning about the scientific method.

Still better than nothing.
 
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DNAJB6

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like... dishwashing? rote tasks that any rando undie can do? they ain't leading projectos
No. Grunt work doesn't equal real research. It's the precursor free labor you do to get your foot in a lab position. Why would medical schools value dish washing or summarizing other people's research? Is this what passes as research on SDN these days? No one said you had to lead a major project, but you should be involved with hypothesis driven research.
 
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stinkycheeseperson

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No. Grunt work doesn't equal real research. It's the precursor free labor you do to get your foot in a lab position. Why would medical schools value dish washing or summarizing other people's research? Is this what passes as research on SDN these days? No one said you had to lead a major project, but you should be involved with hypothesis driven research.
o_O:cautious::dead:😂🤣 I appreciate your high opinion of yourself and what you have to offer as an undergrad. LmAo

Captain America Laughing GIF by mtv
 
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DNAJB6

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o_O:cautious::dead:😂🤣 I appreciate your high opinion of yourself and what you have to offer as an undergrad. LmAo
It has nothing to do with opinion of myself, and I never claimed to be a research super star. At my undergrad, we were required in our normal course work to develop research hypotheses and design experiments to test them. We were then expected to execute experiments and analyze the data. It doesn't mean anything super impressive or earth shattering, but it is more involved than writing a literature review or cleaning beakers.

If you apply to a research oriented school and the most strenuous part of your work was using Google Scholar or washing beakers, you're going to have a major problem during interviews. Am I missing something @LizzyM , @gyngyn , @Moko , @Goro , etc.?
 
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Shorjand_U

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It has nothing to do with opinion of myself, and I never claimed to be a research super star. At my undergrad, we were required in our normal course work to develop research hypotheses and design experiments to test them. We were then expected to execute experiments and analyze the data. It doesn't mean anything super impressive or earth shattering, but it is more involved than writing a literature review or cleaning beakers.

If you apply to a research oriented school and the most strenuous part of your work was using Google or washing beakers, you're going to have a major problem during interviews. Am I missing something @LizzyM?
This is still a bit of an oversight. Do people actually concede to just sitting around literally washing beakers without even knowing what's going on in the project? Probably not. Most people I've met who do "grunt work" are still directly assisting on Ph.D. students' projects and are learning as much as the said student, and can articulate as such.

I just got assigned an "independent" project at the start of this year (junior year) after learning about the experimental techniques needed to do independent work from the past 2 years of working beside a Ph.D. project.

Do you know what I did on my so marvelous hypothesis-driven independent research project? I read literature reviews and compiled pre-existing data to formulate a pretty damn long research proposal which fortunately got accepted. Do you know what I'm doing now? Grunt work, just this time it's my own grunt work. I'm still sitting here watching silica columns and synthesizing (relatively) the same monomers and polymers as I was 2 years ago. Except for this time I'm the one evaluating results and planning the next steps and experiments.

Nothing fundamentally changed. Just because I can stick my name on something doesn't mean I'm some sort of genius that's far beyond some "grunt" in my lab. I literally just know the techniques now. Writing a research proposal is literally no different than compiling data from lit reviews and constructing your own question. Your dismissive attitude towards the former is totally unwarranted.
 
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DNAJB6

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Do you know what I did on my so marvelous hypothesis-driven independent research project? I read literature reviews and compiled pre-existing data to formulate a pretty damn long research proposal which fortunately got accepted. Do you know what I'm doing now? Grunt work, just this time it's my own grunt work. I'm still sitting here watching silica columns and synthesizing (relatively) the same monomers and polymers as I was 2 years ago. Except for this time I'm the one evaluating results and planning the next steps and experiments.
And there IS the difference. You are going through the scientific method and developing a cognitive skill set. This is what distinguishes it from passively summarizing someone else's work or washing beakers. And for the record I'm not bashing writing a literature review (or any other EC), but is more akin to writing a term paper than hypothesis driven research assuming there aren't additional duties/functions.
 

Shorjand_U

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And there IS the difference. You are going through the scientific method and developing a cognitive skill set. This is what distinguishes it from passively summarizing someone else's work or washing beakers. And for the record I'm not bashing writing a literature review (or any other EC), but is more akin to writing a term paper than hypothesis driven research assuming there aren't additional duties/functions.
I mean I'll speak for myself and tell you that I don't feel like there's any difference. It's like I'm building a lego with the manual alone this time around without someone else helping. Fundamentally I'm still building a lego. I still go to my PI for hiccups and stuff I don't know. Otherwise, it's back to my manual.
 
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60 Cent

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And there IS the difference. You are going through the scientific method and developing a cognitive skill set. This is what distinguishes it from passively summarizing someone else's work or washing beakers. And for the record I'm not bashing writing a literature review (or any other EC), but is more akin to writing a term paper than hypothesis driven research assuming there aren't additional duties/functions.
I think you have a narrow view of what research consist of what OP is doing is an important part of research that is done at all levels. I can guarantee most people applying regular MD that have research are doing some type of grunt work. As long as OP knows what is going on in the lab they are an important part. Most labs are not even open right now in the north east.
 
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JimKimSlim

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Hello all!

I have been doing research for almost a year now but I have never set foot in a lab due to covid. My research revolves around reading various literature, filtering information, assessing the quality of the paper, etc. to hopefully publish a systematic review in the future. I am just wondering if this research would be looked at the same way as clinical/lab research.

Thanks!
Can you get away with it? Probably because research is not as important as most people think it is to medical school admissions. However, if an Ad Com holds a PhD, or worse if an interviewer is a molecular biologist curious about your research methods, you will likely be in a tricky situation....
 

60 Cent

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I think you have a narrow view of what research consist of what OP is doing is an important part of research that is done at all levels. I can guarantee most people applying regular MD that have research are doing some type of grunt work which PI is trusting a undergrad to come up with and do " hypothesis driven research" most dont . As long as OP knows what is going on in the lab they are an important part. Most labs are not even open right now in the north east.
 

LizzyM

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Hello all!

I have been doing research for almost a year now but I have never set foot in a lab due to covid. My research revolves around reading various literature, filtering information, assessing the quality of the paper, etc. to hopefully publish a systematic review in the future. I am just wondering if this research would be looked at the same way as clinical/lab research.

Thanks!

Systemic reviews are a type of research. There is a method to it that you should be taught, just as you'd be taught to do Western blots or whatever. See https://www.cochranelibrary.com/about/about-cochrane-reviews for how this works with diagnostic tests and other health care/health policy issues.

If you are going to take it to the point of a publication of a systemic review, then yes, it is legit research. If it merely serves as the background and significance portion of a paper or grant proposal, it is less impressive but still a better use of your time than binging Netflix.
 
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