BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: INCLUDING BIOTATISTICAL APPLICATIONS -Das
|Author/Editor||Das Ranjan, Das PN|
|Speciality||Biostatistics and Research Methodology|
Knowledge generated from research in biomedical sciences plays a crucial role in the betterment of medical practice and health. It also has implications on policy decisions. It is for this reason that policy-makers at the national and international levels would like to see more of research. Most subspecialties within the broad area of biomedicine try to incorporate basic skills of research at the postgraduate level. However, in reality, the research acumen of the majority of postgraduates from various biomedical streams is deplorable. That is because, the subject of research per se finds lackadaisical handling by the specialties. And as a result, as if taking cue from Louis Pasteur’s words in the field of research, chance favors only the prepared mind, the research seeds, though floating constantly around us, fail to take roots in the minds of ill-prepared biomedical researchers. Society is thus deprived of benefits that could otherwise have accrued. Further, in the absence of trained researchers, all countries—developed as well as developing, are going to be affected. Training in biomedical research must, therefore, receive greater priority. The Global Forum for Health Research (2001) reported that the global investment in health research stood at an estimated US$ 75 billion, with 50% of it being spent by governments (developed : developing, 47 : 3), 42% by pharmaceutical industry, and 8% by the private not-for-profit sector. For all these reasons, building a career in biomedical research is certainly worth a proposition. According to a McKinsey Report (2007), biomedical researchers are going to be in great demand worldwide; 250,000 would be needed by 2010 with 50,000 in India alone. Few institutes formally train biomedical research professionals, while the majority of them are trained by the biomedical academic institutes. But, as mentioned previously, the quality of training on actual research remains very weak, even in institutions of respectable academic standards. That again calls for empowering the biomedical research trainees. One of the most important reasons of biomedical research training not being up to the mark is that, while this domain now requires the expertise of at least three specialties, namely, epidemiology, biostatistics and sociology, many institutes may not even have these specialists at all. For the debutant biomedical researcher, therefore, finding help from so many professionals may be an extremely challenging task if not a dream. Further, while most students of the medical sciences have had a brush with all these three specialty areas, yet the depth of it is not sufficient to be applied to research. In the context of other fields of biomedicine, students of some fields have better knowledge of biostatistics or sociology; but, then, epidemiology is an area which is generally left ignored. It is, therefore, pertinent that all professionals from the biomedical field including doctors and especially those at the postgraduate level be empowered in understanding research methodology as well as applying it on their own. Over the years, we have seen our postgraduate students struggle with their research project/thesis, and nothing has been more satisfying than trying to help our students understand difficult concepts and put those to use. That prompted us to do our bit to help them by documenting our experiences in a book. Even at the time when we were ourselves enrolled for postgraduate level research, we had searched for a short book on the techniques to be used for biomedical research. However, our search had proved futile then, and even now, nearly 20 years down the line there is probably not one title that can be used by entry-level researchers to guide them in their debut research work. With the above ideas in mind, we thought of writing this book, the primary audience of which is the postgraduate students of medical, dental, nursing and allied specialties. These young professionals have to plan and execute a research project and submit the thesis to be eligible for appearing in their university examinations. Needless to say, this book should also serve as a valuable resource book for others already working in the field of biomedical research. The content of the text of Biomedical Research Methodology is based on our own experiences as well as on the inputs received from our colleagues and inquisitive postgraduate students. The chapters have been ordered in a way to assist student researchers overcome the barriers they encounter, while conducting the research. We believe this book would prove to be highly resourceful in dealing with the practicalities of research, beginning from the very preliminary stages, through literature review, data analysis, right up to the final stage of writing the thesis and even getting the message out by publication. Our whole-hearted efforts for writing this book shall be successful only if it really benefits the target audience, and that shall be our reward as well. In spite of our best efforts, many errors might be there in the text. We shall be highly grateful and remain obliged to our esteemed readers for pointing out those to us. Constructive criticism on the content and its presentation is extremely necessary for the improvement of any work, and we welcome them for enriching our knowledge as well as for improvement of the book. Substantial contributors of these would certainly be credited through acknowledgement, if not anything more.