We recently learned that the MCI had made it mandatory for PG students and faculty to complete an online course – Basic course in Research Methodology. From what I checked and understood, the course is of eight weeks duration and students can take a little longer to complete it. They do need to complete it within certain stages of their PG duration.
I checked the section “Literature Review”. It is a half hour session. The session explains why one must do a literature review. It mentions some sources they must search. There is a short explanation about the use of Boolean operators and a brief mention about MeSH in PubMed. The session progresses to cover the need for critical appraisal and the steps for writing the review of literature section. The half hour session is thus a “sensitization” about two major areas of work in a thesis – literature searching and writing the literature review.
Once the “sensitization” is done with, the students still face a problem. HOW do they search? They have been told that they should go through the Tutorials in the PubMed site. I have a question about this. If that was the answer for “how to search PubMed”, why is it that in about 22 years that PubMed has been free, people have not mastered the search process.
Forget mastering, most people do not know the basics. They do not know how to use Boolean operators, Fields and MeSH. The tutorials have been made assuming that the audience knows these basics.
So what is the need? More in-depth teaching about literature searching. Why not for other parts of the course? If you ask me, yes – every area requires more in-depth teaching. But, I also believe that for most of these aspects, there are faculty in medical colleges that can help and mentor more. For searching? Not really. And literature searching is the fundamental building block for any research project. If this is done wrong, the research is flawed.
And that is why QMed exists. To train the health sciences community in India to search right. I earnestly request everyone reading this, to prioritize learning how to search right. QMed has several options to learn and get mentored. Do grab them!