Each of us, be related directly with research or not, has a knowledge, researched or acquired. Knowingly or unknowingly we acquire experience and expose ourselves for further research. For example, while prescribing, majority of us search the literature and based upon the background knowledge and experience apply a remedy to a patient. This is a perfect example of literature review (although limited). But as soon as we apply the remedy, acquire experience and exposure, we seldomly look on other aspects of research i.e. evidence based recording, reporting and publishing.
This is also true that we may sharpen our skills, acquire new knowledge, and undertake research at various levels.
Broadly, there are three levels of research education:
- Research literacy: Majority of us falls under this category. We do have keenness to know about latest in Research. We want to utilise the research knowledge generated so far and are open to new research developments, but due to any reason whatsoever we are not into active Research.
- Research understanding: As soon we decide to go further and expose ourselves more to research we start evolving and start understanding the intricacies of research. This understanding may give a boost to our clinical practice and we can draw some new inferences from the conclusion of studies. Data is more acceptable and easier to understand.
- Research expertise: This group belongs to researchers, scientists and experts who are thorough with the Research Designs and Methodology. But that doesn’t mean that others can’t reach to this level. By thoroughly reading studies, understanding and undertaking research, planning and implementing Research Strategies, discussing research outcomes, and translation research to practical applications we can achieve higher levels in research.
Further, we need to clarify the most common misconception about undertaking research and that is to overcome from the notion that,
Research is only a Test tube phenomenon.
We need to understand that there are many research design/aspects that are applicable to different type of research question (challenge). For example,
- Basic and Fundamental Research
- Clinical research
- Case study and case series
- Literature reviews
- Data mining
- Comparative articles
- Applied research to non conventional fields
The above list is only an indicative list. As soon as we know our current standing, experience and expertise in research we can sharpen it and reach to next level.