RESEARCH AS A (NON AFP) FOUNDATION TRAINEE
Author: Dr Connor Moore
A guide to getting involved in research as a medical student/ non-afp foundation trainee.
A step-by-step guide to getting involved in research
WHY AM I INTERESTED IN RESEARCH
Research can be demanding, absorb a chunk of time, and can be a distraction from clinical work. Examine the reasons why you'd like to try research. Motivations such as a curiosity to learn how it works, simply want to try it out, or have a great interest in a specific area are a great starting point.
WHERE DO I BEGIN WHILST IN MED SCOOL?
There are a couple of ways you can go about this. You can either approach it from, "Im interested in research, so where do I go from here" or "I'm interested in this, how do I research it?".
Do a special study module or a summer research course. These are offered throughout most universities, and there will be a plethora of research opportunities available via programmes like ASPIRE. Or get involved with collaborative research.
Find a specialty or topic you're interested in, then get in touch with a leading academic. Make a linkedin profile, connect with these academics in your area and ask to get involved. Email them or ask your medical school to put you in touch. Or simply approach a clinician you know to be interested in research. Many academics are friendly people and keen to help enthusiastic trainees.
Intercalation - see below.
Intercalation provides an ideal opportunity to develop a research understanding and can provide facilitated opportunities.
Pick a course with a focus on research methods and outputs. This can be BSc, MSc, MRes, etc. They will all vary in what focus they put on research in the curriculum. It's essential that you pick what matters for you - research, learning a new subject, or a mixture of the two.
More than anything intercalation is a great opportunity to have increased time to spend on research projects that you may not otherwise have in the busier clinical years of med school.
This is an increasingly common way to become involved in research, with many impactful research projects taking place under the umbrella of trainee research collaboratives.
Great examples to contact or start with are organisations like STARSurg and NANSIG. See our list of collaborative networks below.