QMedCONNECT: Highlights of October 2019


From our Founder's Desk

 Dear Readers

October was another lovely month for QMed. We have added two new Online Courses, and the good news is that all three are available to anyone who registers on the Online platform - https://qmed.mediknit.org We do hope that the searching and referencing skills zoom up in India and contribute towards better research and patient care! 

We are happy to share two recent testimonials. One was from Dr Sarfaraz Jalil Baig, a surgeon from Kolkata, for our Online Course: 

"I saw the video lectures on how to search for medical literature and I want to salute you for your clarity, expression and above all the humongous effort to make the video on such an important topic. I have immense respect for what you have done. May God bless you" 

Another was a Video testimonial where Dr Saurabha shares how the workshop she attended during her residency, helps her in her job

We still do face the fact that there is a lower priority given to learning these skills. And we look forward to great suggestions / ideas to turn this around. 

In case you missed our blog posts this month, there is  i) A source to learn about the much dreaded Statistics, ii) Details about "The Canvas of Clinical Pharmacology" - a very popular event in Mumbai, iii) An interesting article on teaching research to UG students and iv) My post on how literature search is still poorly done and needs lots of training. 

Vasumathi Sriganesh





Two New Online Courses Available!

QMed has added two new Online Courses - Mastering PubMed: Advanced and Reference Management with Mendeley. To register, visit https://qmed.mediknit.org
When you register you get access to all three available courses. Our first course - Mastering PubMed: Basics is mandatory before you do either of the new courses.

To know more about getting support from QMed, do visit www.qmed.ngo/friends



Dr DY Patil Education Society

Dr DY Patil Education Society

The session had around 150 participants – mixed audience of Clinicians, Research personnel and PG Students. For the first time we asked participants to scan a QR Code from our presentation and respond to our small survey. Though everybody appeared to work on it, only 47 actually responded to our survey.

Twenty-eight said they learnt Adding citations while writing properly for the first time, 22 learnt Importing through web importer, 19 learnt Adding records manually, 16 leant Importing from exported file and 12 leant Managing duplicates. Twelve participants said that they had learnt all these on their own or through a different workshop.

Twenty-eight felt this should be introduced at the PG level, 17 – at UG level, 1 participant felt this should be introduced at the beginning of second year PG and 1 felt it should be introduced in the PG course at end of first year and beginning of 2nd year.

Dr DY Patil Education Society

Dr DY Patil Education Society

The session had around 150 participants – mixed audience of Clinicians, Research personnel and PG Students. For the first time we asked participants to scan a QR Code from our presentation and respond to our small survey. Though everybody appeared to work on it, only 21 actually responded to our survey.

Nineteen said they learnt MeSH properly for the first time, 16 learnt Boolean Operators, 15 learnt Single Citation Matcher, 9 learnt Fields. One participant mentioned that he had learned about MeSH, Fields, Boolean Operators and Single Citation Matcher earlier.

Ten felt this should be introduced in the UG level and 11- at the PG level.

Pictures of this event in our Image Gallery


From our Blog

Canvas of Clinical Pharmacology Workshop 2020 (CCPW2020) - 6-10 January, 2020

Canvas of Clinical Pharmacology Workshop 2020 (CCPW2020) - 6-10 January, 2020

The Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai is organizing a five-day course.

Each day of the workshop has a specific theme, like Clinical development - the beginning, Progress, After, Statistics & the marketplace, & Beyond approval – Generating evidence for practice guidelines (meta-analysis).

This workshop is open for faculty, super-specialty students, post-graduate students, and industry personnel from clinical research and medical affairs Our CEO, Vasumathi Sriganesh will be a key resource speaker on the topic Effective Literature Search - Hand on exercise on 10th January 2020 (Friday) from 10.15 am to 11.00 am

Research methodology teaching for undergraduate medical students - an interesting project

Research methodology teaching for undergraduate medical students - an interesting project

Development and implementation of a competency-based module for teaching research methodology to medical undergraduates.

Patra S, Khan AM J Educ Health Promot. 2019 Aug 30;8:164 PMID:31544129

The authors did this study as a part of a FAIMER fellowship program (CMCL-FAIMER). It aimed to develop and carry out a "competency-based research methodology" training module for undergraduate students  and get the students' feedback on this. It was carried out in the Community Medicine Department, for 25 students in their 4th semester . The study was done in the year 2017.

This group of 25 students were made to work in groups under supervision of senior residents and faculty. It appears that the students worked on a single topic, but did data collection individually and then assessed the entire data. They were, in this way initiated into understanding the research process.

It was interesting to learn that more than 60% felt that this exercise motivated them to do research in future! Also that their self perceived gain in knowledge was 4 or 5 as a median in a scale of 1-5. Very impressive!

While the authors rightly state the limitations, it seems that it does not take a very big (or expensive) effort to sensitize and motivate undergraduate students towards research. As the authors mention, the MCI has mentioned that UG students must get sensitized in research methodologies.

I have very often heard faculty / seniors mentioning that they would rather have UG students only study textbooks and get their foundations firm. Of course they need a very firm foundation of medical knowledge. But, it is increasingly obvious that they need to be sensitized and get a basic hands on experience of what it takes to do research. Thankfully the ICMR STS projects have done something in this direction (increasingly) over years. But this training in an institution seems well worth replicating!

Note: I was particularly pleased to note that the students gave a feedback of 4/5 in the understanding their literature search process. Dr AM Khan, one of the authors has been a participant of one of my workshops on literature searching and referencing, and I am sure he did a great job in ensuring that the students were taught the basic skills in searching.

Finding and Using Health Statistics

Finding and Using Health Statistics

Statistics? Oh no! If you just said that - you are one of a large number of medicos :) There is a joke that most medicos became medicos in order to run away from Maths and then end up being forced to learn Statistics!

Setting jokes aside, guess what we found?

This is a simple tutorial on the US National Library of Medicine's website. While it is (obviously) related to the US resources and more, we could still learn a lot from here and then find our own data sources. Maybe we could push for creating some!

So learn about Correlates, Sampling, Confidence intervals and more...Go through the exercises and quizzes. And if you forget something - there is a rich glossary too!

Happy learning!

Vasumathi Sriganesh

Medical research: is it done correctly?

Medical research: is it done correctly?

A lot of discussions happen about medical research in India. About how we do not have a conducive environment / encouragement and more. I am not commenting on any of the earlier discussions. I would like to stress on one activity in medical research that is most often not done right. It concerns me on a continuous basis. That activity is 

"Literature searching"

While searching the literature, most "Google". Often when I ask people how they do a literature search in PubMed (or other databases) they say "we type in keywords and search". They say it in a tone that conveys that it is a "special method of searching". And what they are really doing is just googling here too.

And then whether they get either too little or too many results,
they "make do" with some results that appear relevant!

It is bad enough doing this for general academics or research. But when this is the method used for working on a meta-analysis or a systematic review, it is alarming. We at QMed have been approached by people who ask us to comment on their search strategies. Almost often they are just unacceptable. With such unstructured methods, the very foundation of research is wobbly. Unstable. The research can crumble if evaluated critically. The most recent instance we saw was in a PhD thesis. Where important MeSH terms were left out and irrelevant ones were used in the search strategy. How could this research be valid? 

If Indian medical research output has to improve,
the literature searching process has to be corrected

And that is why QMed exists. To make this change! It is our mission. And we wish to see that this is an important part of the curriculum

Note: There are certainly some individuals in India who can run reasonable to good searches. They are just a tiny handful. There is a huge denominator to be tackled.



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