Episode Two – The Basic Questions
by Trystan Donnelly. Last modified: 15/03/14
This week we’re going to look at some of the very basic questions surrounding research. I’m trying to ask questions on every paramedic’s behalf that are intended to be general enough to be applied to anyone’s journey in research and that assume that we’re all starting from “scratch”. Moreover, they’re not intended to be “stand-alone” statements, they’re intended to precipitate discussion.
So, if you have something to add to the discussion, just comment on the article. It’s that easy! If there’s another question that fits in with the theme of the week, feel free to throw it into the mix. Just keep in mind that there is an outline for subsequent posts and we’re trying to “stay on topic” with a group of similar, related subjects in each post.
On to this week’s discussion…
Who can do research?
So, who can do research, or who should do research? Is a bachelors degree or any other qualification necessary? Is a solid education and genuine interest in the subject sufficient? Maybe the question should be turned around – why aren’t more of us doing research with the qualifications we have? I’m sure every one of us can see where there is room for improvement.
Who do I need to bring “on board” to do a research project?
If I decide to do research, who else do I need to “bring on board”? Whose support do I need? If I’m planning a randomized control trial, I’ll probably need the support of the agencies that will be involved but what if I’m just going to do a retrospective meta analysis, do I need backing from an educational institution? What is a thesis advisor? Do I need to be involved with a university and get support from their faculty?
Who can sanction my research and/or lend legitimacy to the work I do?
What gives my research credibility over say, a newspaper doing an unscientific or quasi-scientific survey or poll? Again, is this association with a recognized institution or are there organizations that generally oversee research for various disciplines? I imagine that when I want to get my research published in an academic journal, the journal is going to be looking for some assurances that rigorous standards were met along the way.
Why do I even want to publish in a journal? What academic (refereed) journals do we have in paramedicine? Are there any or are paramedics still just submitting our work to journals that are more closely tied to the other medical professions? For the neophytes among us: what is a refereed academic journal and how do I even recognize one in the crowd?
Who is responsible for ethical approval?
Some of our research might require ethical approval. For example, if I want to know whether epinephrine is really effective in resuscitation, I might want to withhold it in half of the resuscitations I do. Obviously, there are some ethical ramifications! However, what if I just want to know whether “customer satisfaction” is affected by early disclosure of the costs associated with service? Someone is going to have to have a good long think about the ethics of that. Who does this and how do I get these ethical experts to look at my project?
If there are costs involved, where can I look to find financial support?
In many cases, especially with modern technology, the costs can appear to be negligible for the actual research. This is probably a two-part question though: What are the hidden costs? Where does the financial support come from? I know its “the million-dollar question” but really, people get research done all the time, who’s paying for it? I realize that there is an ethical aspect to this question in terms of biasing the outcome if, for example, “big pharma” is paying for drug research but let’s not let that overwhelm the actual intent of this question. The intent is just to find out where beginning researchers can find support for our projects.
In our next post:
We’ll talk about how this all ties into educational credentials. How does research tie in to earning advanced degrees?
Thanks in advance for your comments,
TrystanThe following two tabs change content below.
Trystan DonnellyTrystan is a Canadian Advanced Care Paramedic. After completing a degree in biology at the University of Victoria and the University of Alberta, Trystan returned to the UofA and studied paramedicine. After more than a decade of practice, Trystan's energies have returned to academia where he is an active educator and a nascent researcher.
Latest posts by Trystan Donnelly (see all)
- Episode Three – Higher Education - 22/05/14
- In Contemplation of Episode Two - 07/04/14
- Episode Two – The Basic Questions - 15/03/14
- In The Beginning…A Paramedic’s Journey into Research - 27/02/14
Episode Two – The Basic Questions
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