Research is a science, but publication is an art ! by Dr. Waqar M. Naqvi (PT)

When I looked back on my undergraduate days, I always considered research as a tedious and time-consuming process. However, what I feel now is that research is the most interesting niche if we get involved, and it has highly integrated my personal and professional growth. Therefore, I feel that research is most often misinterpreted as a subject, especially by undergraduate students, and that there is a huge knowledge gap among the students about applied research and its importance in professional growth. 

In the competition to stand out as a rank holder in class, the essence of a student’s life loses its charm. At the end of the semester, the world awaits report cards and the grades imprinted on them. They are no longer concerned in exploring beyond the academic curriculum as they feel more attracted towards pursuing a job immediately after graduation. 

Only a few students understand the significance of research and publications in their academic careers. As per the current scenario, 1 out of every 10 students opt for a career in research as it demands dedication, determination, and devotion. Let me explain this with an example, if we wish to buy a mobile phone, we search different websites, we check ratings, customer reviews, price cards, specifications, offers, and unboxing reviews and after getting shear satisfaction as per our needs, we place our order, however, we fail to use the word research per se. Summating simply, research is the process of finding an answer to a question by using a systematic approach.

Undergraduate students, especially final-year students and interns, feel stressed and overwhelmed when it comes to their undergraduate projects, which is an important prerequisite for completing their graduation program. Being pressured and unclear about the research and the importance of the project, they go through web searches for topics to determine whether off-the-shelf projects are available. Either they submit the same thing to the faculty or name their project as “Parent Article” which should be just referred to as a 'reference' actually. 

This is where the problem enroots- Students do not understand the gravity of the project when they actually commence it.


With the paradigm shift of national and international education standards as well as the professional competencies which are needed these days to survive and excel in the profession, research is a vital measure of competency and skill required in healthcare sciences. 

The Education Ministry of India has launched various initiatives and organizations such as National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF), and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA), which are more focused on qualitative upgradation of professional mindset focusing on clinical, academic, and innovative domains. Recently many clinical interviewers for healthcare settings have enlisted research, publications, patents, and grants as mandatory requisites for the candidates throughout their academic and professional career. Also, in the academic sector, University Grants Commission (UGC) has included research as an essential criteria for the faculties encompassing the recently introduced performance-based appraisal system. 

Coming back to the basic necessity and importance of research for undergraduate students, postgraduate students, and clinical therapists, there is a dire need for systematic orientation about undertaking research and documenting it. Students who have quality research papers associated with their names are more likely to be awarded scholarships while enrolling into prestigious colleges around the world. Apart from this, research opens up different opportunity gates for those who are seeking a career in it.

Again let's have an example for better clarity like have you tried making a recipe from leftover rice? Firstly you will search on youtube for all the related recipes that can be made from leftover rice, then you will watch all the videos related to it, prioritizing the videos according to the number of views and popularity, then you will select a video according to your interest and will collect all the ingredients required to prepare the recipe. After preparing it you will click an image of the prepared dish, you will edit, filter, and caption it, and will finally post it on social

Similarly, in the case of research, you will search for articles according to your area of interest on electronic journal hosting databases which are also called indexing databases such as PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus. You will read all the similar articles prioritizing them according to the preset area of interest and level of evidence. You will collect all the information from similar articles and will arrange it in a proper sequence covering all the aspects of the guidelines related to your study. For example, STROBE guidelines for observational studies. This leads to the formation of your study content. After that, you polish the article with scientific writing (editing the leftover rice image), filter the unwanted information (filtered the leftover rice image), and finally, get your article ready for publication (caption it and post it).

Now, we must focus on one component the most i.e. evidence-based practice (EBP) which is based on three interlinked parameters which are research evidence, clinical experience, and patient preference. The process involved can be summarized into 5 steps and can be referred to as 5 A’s which are described in the following figure:

Firstly, frame your interest needs into a clinical question by ‘Asking’, then find the best available literature evidence to answer your question by ‘Accessing’, now critically ‘Appraise’ the
evidence for validity and reliability, followed by ‘Applying’ critical comments and finally integrate the findings into an ‘Audit’.

Now, you have a formula for getting evidence, but it would be in vain if we would not document it. Documentation of all the information and its publication is the most essential segment of EBP
because it briefs you about recent advances and theories, upgrades your clinical practices, and leads to greater patient satisfaction, which includes patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) and patient-reported experience measures (PREM) that support patient-centered care, improve quality of care, and enhance organizational or service performance leading to publications, innovations, and yes......MONEY!

EBP never means asking seniors or teachers for clinical doubts, reading outdated books, using Google to find answers, utilizing unreliable sources, or solely depending on evidence for clinical practice, without considering clinical experience or patient preferences and expectations.

The outcome-based EBP model is important as it helps you to formulate your research evidence into a publication. It involves 6 components QRSTUV©-

Figure 2. Outcome based Evidence-based Practice (OB-EBP) QRSTUV Model©

The above figure depicts the framing of an idea into a research question which should be assessed for Feasibility, Interest, Novelty, Ethics, Relevant, Manageable, Appropriate, potential for Publication, and Systematic which can be summated by the mnemonic ‘FINERMAPS’. Next, for synthesis, the research gap is analyzed from the collected data source following which the information is transformed into a systematic review, rapid review, or scoping review, and finally, understanding PROM which sustains the impact of illness and care provided over time from the patient’s perspective, whereas PREM captures the patient's perspective of their experience of the treatment and environment of treatment validating that information into a case report or series, original research, or randomized control trials by following the respective guidelines.

Like adding on to this discussion I would like to highlight a model to develop the research ecosystem and research outcome-based educational model that can enrich healthcare educational models' productivity globally. Inculcation of small practice values can make huge positive
outcomes for the students, faculties, and education system ultimately boosting the knowledge evolving from the EBP to the growth of a progressive research ecosystem. Small strategic planning of seminars, case presentations, and journal clubs can do wonders in terms of
publications too. Healthcare education is seeing a prominent shift globally with implications of various education models yet a prospective vision for inculcating research outcome-based activities seems lacking. Research is important, and educational institutions must recognize its
importance and adapt their curriculum by designating specific experts to work exclusively for research and publications.

I would also like to suggest the Research Outcome-Based Educational Model (ROBEM)© to my fellow students and faculties as an integrated part of educational research, especially in health care education. Seminars, case presentations, and journal/articles presentation are part of routine practice in academia for undergraduate and postgraduate students but it lacks specific outcome.

The ROBEM©, which we have started implementing in academia, has proved very fruitful in this context. The model can be helpful if the documentation of these activities is supervised and organized properly, it can generate publications for the students orienting Outcome-based
education and research ecosystem into practice.

As the saying goes that publication is an art, it totally depends on the quality of the paper which involves vocabulary that needs to be in British English or American English, use of past tense in the method or result section, and present tense in the conclusion. The grammar of the paper
should be well equipped with proper articles and verbs, the paper should present the originality and correctness of the author’s work along with the most important part i.e. the fluidity of the content which keeps the reader engaged with the article. And finally, the quality of the article is directly proportional with its chances of being published.

In my opinion, instead of electing for observation which is known as ‘Observership’ in trendy terms under a clinical therapist during or after internship, undergraduates should utilize their time and energy in research and publications. They can be research assistants at a well-recognized research organization. Students need to understand the role of scientific research in education and in society, as it will ultimately reward them in return. This advancement in their knowledge and perspective towards research, ultimately will develop the habit of documenting the results and publishing it, which ultimately increase the competency, build the professional careers, and last and most important......Upgrade curriculum vitae (CV)!




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