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How to do it?

Discussion in 'Student Research and Publishing' started by WannabeOrtho, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. WannabeOrtho

    WannabeOrtho Surgery Go'er
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    Hiya,

    I was laying around reading earlier when I had a thought come into my head. How does one go about getting someone to research something, or should I say how does one "research" something. I have become very interested in Xeroderma Pigmentosum, or known as XP. I would like to research it's more intense effects on the human body. Where it origins from, How it got here. Who first diagnosed this, and such, but would that qualify as "research"? I am afraid I somewhat totally don't understand what some of you mean by "research". Could I possibly get something like that published if I typed a good article, and such up on it, or am I stupid of thinking up this?


    Justin
     
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  3. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it
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    Research = testing a hypothesis via some kind of method (e.g., an experiment). This can be basic or applied (e.g., clinical). For instance, my research involves recruiting patients who exhibit a certain disease, and I will test their blood for specific markers using a new instrument to see if these results correlate with a reference method. My alternative hypothesis is these two methods are different, while my null hypothesis is these two methods perform equally.

    What you describe is an assigned research paper for some class. It is commendable that you are interested in XP, however writing about "Who first diagnosed this, and such..." is not research per se. At best it can be written as a review paper, but really XP, if i recall, is a genetic disorder which affects XPC, a DNA repair protein (someone correct me if i'm wrong). This is something that was covered in undergraduate molecular biology, and I got the impression that there has been a great deal of work done on this disease.
    You can also find more details in journal publications, and texts (like pathology texts).

    Research is essentially doing something new and novel to test a hypothesis. Not neccessarily repeating what has already been done before. Additionally you forget one big factor in research, and that is MONEY. If there are areas of XP research that are lacking, my question to you is how would you fund it. Ultimately any publication that you write will have to be evidence-based, so it may be best to start off with reviewing all literature on the subject, rather than "reinventing the wheel." Hope that helps!
     
  4. D50W

    D50W New Member
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    My advice would be similar to the poster above. There is no doubt review papers are needed, for one, to let practicing physicians know what's relevant without having them to read through all the available research on a particular topic. You can do the hard work for them, and present a synopsis of the research on XP so far. But first, you need to find out whether there have been review papers on XP published already. You could start with references quoted at the end of chapters in medical textbooks. If you haven't discovered these already, www.pubmed.com and www.emedicine.com could be good starting points too. If the field is big enough, you could even pick up a particular aspect of diagnosis or treatment of the disease and write a review article on that. If you find there are enough review articles already, you can always contribute to wikipedia.

    Frankly, I haven't seen much research on the historical aspects of medicine. Though I suspect there must be journals for that. There is the Award for Undergraduate Writing in the History of Cardiovascular Medicine and Surgery by Texas Heart Institute. http://www.texasheart.org/Education/THIJournal/thiaward.cfm But, as the name suggests, they only accept articles on history of cardiovascular medicine.

    Original research is a little more tricky. For that you need to look for an unanswered question that you can find the answer to. As relentless pointed out, original research in XP would probably require molecular/ genetic/ bioinformatics stuff which needs funding. But that should not dissuade you. You can look around for people working on XP, and you might find someone working on it close by. From what I know of researchers, they can always find use for a pair of volunteer hands..
     
  5. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor?
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    The other posters have given excellent advice. I would add that you don't get 'someone to research something.' I would look in your school research directory and see if any of the faculty have interests in this area. Then you could talk to them and see if they are interested in taking you on and allowing you your own original basic research project. That might mean writing up a grant proposal to get funding.

    I've also met a MD/PhD who's PhD dissertation was about a facet of the history of medicine. I'm sure you can find something more your speed, like writing an article, as suggested, instead of a dissertation!
     
  6. rox

    rox ossified
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    I think your replies guys were thorough. It's very important to talk to some physician in your uni and see if you can get that done with them. If you could get access to hospital records, then you could make a data sheet for age, occupation, risk factors, other diseases, signs & symptoms seen,...etc. You can draw nice conclusions from these sheets, like age group most susceptible. Certainly, this has been studied before, but you might find the traditional at high risk age group is not actually according to your data...and so on and so forth with the rest of the data.

    This is just one option among many, good luck.
     
  7. cafecaramel

    cafecaramel Junior Member
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    your suggestion about writing a wikipedia entry is interesting- is that actually something we could list on a CV?


     
  8. fantasty

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I don't know if you could include wikipedia, since it's constantly changing and it would be hard to clearly distinguish your own work. (It's still a commendable idea, though - if you're intend is to learn about the topic and share the knowledge with other interested folks).

    There are some other avenues (I'm not sure of the details, but some open-access journals, etc). I was offered the chance to write this type of artice for a new website (that was compiling articles from med students on arthritis and CAM) but I didn't have the time.
     

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