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If you haven’t done much research before- start here. These pages go over some general points about research in emergency medicine to help you get started.
There are a lot of unanswered questions in emergency medicine, and it is very easy to come up with an idea that it would be worth investigating. However, it is very hard to take this process through to a successful conclusion. There are an awful lot of blind alleys which can take up all of your time and enthusiasm. Your motivation for doing research, and the way in which you go about the initial stages of setting up the project, are crucial in getting your project off the ground.
Why research projects fail
There are a number of recurrent themes that come up when we look at why Emergency Medicine research projects fail. Projects rarely fail due to the underlying idea being bad – most failures are due to not having a structured approach, poor supervision or poor motivation.
Good logical project management will give your research the best possible chance of success. A study progression through the stages of a project will give you the best chance of success. It is often thought that collecting data is the most difficult part of a project, which gives rise to a tendency to want to collect data at a very early stage. This is always a mistake.
It might seem that spending time defining and refining the research question and writing detailed project proposals is boring and a waste of time that could be spent collecting data. However, time spent on the early work-up of a project is always worthwhile. Remember that research always takes much longer than you think (a common rule of thumb is to estimate the time that will be required – then double it).
There are a number of websites that give information about research methodology. These pages aim to point out specific aspects that are particular relevant to emergency medicine research and to give you links to articles that we think are worth reading. However, although reading about specific methodologies is important, it is also vital for you to get advice from someone who is experienced in research using that particular methodology.
There is a large amount of information and a large number of sources of knowledge and advice about research methods, many of which are now on the Internet. These pages link the College web site to other sources of information and provide a list of further reading.
Read our quick quide on conducting surveys