Medical Research: Strengths and Weaknesses

Medical research is the basic research, applied research, or translational research carried to aid and supports the body of knowledge in the field of medicine. There are different types of medical studies. Medical research may involve performing research on public health, biochemistry, clinical research, microbiology, physiology, oncology, surgery and research on many other non-communicable diseases. Medical research can be divided into two general categories: the evaluation of new treatments for both safety and efficacy in what are termed clinical trials, and all other research that contributes to the development of new treatments. The latter is termed preclinical research if its goal is specifically to elaborate knowledge for the development of new therapeutic strategies. A new paradigm to biomedical research is being termed translational research, which focuses on iterative feedback loops between the basic and clinical research domains to accelerate knowledge translation from the bedside to the bench, and back again.

Laboratory or animal studies are preliminary studies less important than human clinical trials, though researchers use the same criteria to evaluate them. Case studies provide one person or event. Observational studies are usually cover large populations. Trial participants are interviewed or given set of questionnaires. Few situations these studies will cover the results of certain treatments gathered from medical records. In clinical trials, all participants are observed by researchers to determine how they respond to certain treatments or medicinal drugs. All kind of these investigations will yield valuable research information, however, the clinical trial is believed most worthful as it is controlled while in progress, instead looking back.

Guidelines to evaluate clinical studies strengths and weaknesses:

  • Find the original study of the clinical trial you are going to evaluate; the information can able to find it on the publication’s web site or through the library and etc online resource.
  • Assess the publication where the study was published previously; Peer-reviewed journals are best source for this. Articles in other publications are not as believable. Don’t accept references to a study that are printed in advertising or on a website that is trying out to sell you something, unless you can determine, assess and measure the original study.
  • Explore or find out yourself the investigators who performed the study. Research experts on a subject who work for a institution or a academic university have the most credibility. Scientists or Research personnel’s writing on subjects outside their field of expertise will have less credibility. Articles from writers who don’t have qualifying criteria’s or who are not affiliated with a recognized institution shouldn’t be consented without further investigation of the author’s credentials.
  • Find out the number of subjects in the study and what the selection method was (?). The more people in the study, the better results; Even so the individuals who all selected for trial should have characteristics, like as age and gender, which seem appropriate for the research goals. Is there a control group? The study will have more believability if there is, and if the study groups were chosen randomly.
  • Assess the study results and determinations:

(a) Do the conclusions seem to follow from the results?

(b) Does the conclusion reinforce that of other studies or is it new?

(c) Do the investigators seem more positive in their conclusions than is justified? Were they really impartial or did they have too much information before making their conclusions on the study results. Decide if you think the study performs what it set out to do, and if not, do the researchers make comprehensible the difference.

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