#365papers August Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

July’s post for #365papers was too cocky – I finished July ahead of schedule and then skipped off on holiday. August’s reading was not so good. It’s currently Saturday 9th September and I have only just caught up with August’s reading, so still a bit of catching up to do from the start of September!

This month when I did get round to reading I was concentrating on qualitative studies; I was doing my own qualitative analysis through August and it’s nice to get an idea how different people write and look at their own studies. I also managed to have a really good look at the literature on user-testing and think aloud protocols. On September 10th I’ve off to Cape Town for research trip – I’ll be going to the Global Evidence Summit (blog post(s) to follow for more info!), and then I’m staying in Cape Town to meet with clinical trialists based with the South African Medical Research Council. These trialists will be user-testing evidence-presentation formats – this work makes up part of my PhD project so i’ll do a more in-depth blog post another time. Anyway, hopefully September’s reading won’t be quite so late as August’s was…

August’s reading:

  1. Supporting positive experiences and sustained participation in clinical trials: looking beyond information provision
  2. How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability
  3. Barriers to the conduct of randomised clinical trials within all disease areas
  4. ‘We knew it was a totally at random thing’: parents’ experiences of being part of a neonatal trial
  5. What are funders doing to minimise waste in research?
  6. J Guy Scadding and the move from alternation to randomisation
  7. UK publicly funded Clinical Trials Units supported a controlled access approach to share individual participant data but highlighted concerns
  8. Why do we need evidence-based methods in Cochrane?
  9. Receiving a summary of the results of a trial: qualitative study of participants’ views
  10. The rights of patients in research
  11. Using routinely recorded data in the UK to assess outcomes in a randomised controlled trial: The Trials of Access
  12. The impact of active stakeholder involvement on recruitment, retention and engagement of schools, children and their families in the cluster randomised controlled trial of the Healthy Lifestyles Programme (HeLP): a school-based intervention to prevent obesity
  13. Evaluating the efficiency of targeted designs for randomised clinical trials
  14. Improving clinical trial efficiency: thinking outside the box
  15. Stratified randomisation for clinical trials
  16. Factors associated with online media attention to research: a cohort study of articles evaluating cancer treatments
  17. Feasibility of a randomised single-blind crossover trial to assess the effects of the second-generation slow-release dopamine agonists pramipexole and ropinirole on cued recall memory in idiopathic mild or moderate Parkinson’s disease without cognitive impairment
  18. Improving the process of research ethics review
  19. Retrospectively registered trials: The Editors’ dilemma
  20. Cancer Research UK: Taking a broad view of research impact
  21. Getting access to what goes on in people’s heads?: reflections on the think-aloud technique
  22. A description of think aloud method and protocol analysis
  23. How to study thinking in everyday life: Contrasting think-aloud protocols with descriptions and explanations of thinking
  24. Think-aloud technique and protocol analysis in clinical decision-making research
  25. The use of think-aloud methods in qualitative research, an introduction to think-aloud methods
  26. User-centred design
  27. Interpreting the evidence: choosing between randomised and non-randomised studies
  28. The use and abuse of multiple outcomes in randomised controlled depression trials
  29. The unpredictability paradox: review of empirical comparisons of randomised and non-randomised clinical trials
  30. Are randomized clinical trials good for us (in the short term)? Evidence for a “trial effect”
  31. The ethics of underpowered clinical trials (Reply – Janosky)

#365papers July Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

For the first time in a few months, I’m finishing July ahead of schedule! I’m currently writing this before I go on holiday (July 28th) and it’s been scheduled and published whilst I’m enjoying myself with friends in Wroclaw or Krakow, depending on when you’re reading this.

This month I’ve really focussed on getting abstracts screened for my literature review. I still have a big pile waiting for me when I get back to the office, but it feels good to have made at least a little dent in the workload, and the task definitely made reading much easier to fit in too.

July’s reading:

  1. Marketing and clinical trials: a case study
  2. Practical issues regarding implementing a randomized clinical trial in a homeless population: strategies and lessons learned
  3. Avoidable waste related to inadequate methods and incomplete reporting of interventions: a systematic review of randomised trials performed in Sub-Saharan Africa
  4. External validity of randomised controlled trials: “To whom do the results of this trial apply?”
  5. Implementing research findings in developing countries
  6. Spending on public health cut as councils look to save money
  7. New law will force hospitals to charge foreign patients for non-urgent care
  8. Participation in a clinical trial: The patients’ point of view
  9. Clinical trial participation: Viewpoints from racial/ethnic groups
  10. Barriers to clinical trial participation as perceived by oncologists and patients
  11. Determinants of patient participation in clinical studies requiring informed consent: why patients enter a clinical trial
  12. Patient income level and cancer clinical trial participation
  13. Why African Americans may not be participating in clinical trials
  14. Why patients don’t take part in cancer clinical trials: an overview of the literature
  15. Resource implications of preparing individual participant data from a clinical trial to share with external researchers
  16. Short-term impact of celebrating the international clinical trial day: experience from Ethiopia
  17. How to design efficient cluster randomised trials
  18. Six pairs of things to celebrate on International Clinical Trials Day
  19. Development in the number of clinical trial applications in Western Europe from 2007 to 2015: retrospective study of data from national competent authorities
  20. When scientists turn to the public: alternative routes in science communication
  21. Blockchain technology for improving clinical research quality
  22. Barriers to clinical trial recruitment and possible solutions: a stakeholder survey
  23. Unsuccessful trial accrual and human subjects’ protections: an empirical analysis of recently closed trials
  24. Routine data from hospital information systems can support patient recruitment for clinical studies
  25. Impact of participant and physician intervention preferences on randomised trials – a systematic review
  26. Motivators of enrolment in HIV vaccine trials: a review of HIV vaccine preparedness studies
  27. Informed consent documents do not encourage good-quality decision making
  28. The effects of an open design on trial participant recruitment, compliance and retention – a randomized controlled trial comparison with a blinded, placebo-controlled design
  29. Provider roles in the recruitment of underrepresented populations to cancer clinical trials
  30. Recruiting subjects for acute stroke trials: a meta-analysis
  31. Minimisation: a new method of assigning patients to treatment and control groups

#365papers June Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

This month’s reading has not been great – in order to get the 30 papers for June read to the level I wanted to, I ended up dedicating a few days at the end of the month to get them all complete. This month has been a busy one; I went to Evidence Live for 2 days (blog posts here for day 1 and day 2), and this month seems to have been really heavy with meetings. July is looking a bit quieter so fingers crossed I won’t end up cramming at the end of next month too!

June’s reading:

  1. Can we rely on the best trial? A comparison of individual trials and systematic reviews
  2. Science in the social media age
  3. Communicating data about the benefits and harms of treatment: A randomised trial
  4. Tweeting and rule breaking at conferences
  5. Evolution of poor reporting and inadequate methods over time in 20,920 randomised controlled trials included in Cochrane reviews: research on research study
  6. How scientists engage the public
  7. Influence of social media on the dissemination of a traditional surgical research article
  8. Recruiting adolescent research participants: in-person compared to social media approaches
  9. How are scientists using social media in the workplace?
  10. Through the looking glass: understanding non-inferiority
  11. The need for consensus, consistency, and core outcome sets in perioperative research
  12. Bias due to changes in specified outcomes during the systematic review process
  13. Confidence intervals illuminate absence of evidence
  14. Research funders pledge to make trial results publicly available
  15. US to impose tougher rules on reporting clinical trial data
  16. A methodological approach for assessing the uptake of core outcome sets using clinicaltrials.gov: findings from a review of randomised controlled trials of rheumatoid arthritis
  17. Anonymising and sharing individual patient data
  18. How to translate clinical trial results into gain in healthy life expectancy for individual patients
  19. Sparse data bias: a problem hiding in plain sight
  20. Exploring patients’ treatment journeys following randomisation in mental health trials to improve future trial conduct: a synthesis of multiple qualitative data sets
  21. What do usability evaluators do in practice? An explorative study of think-aloud testing
  22. Getting access to what goes on in people’s heads? Reflection on the think-aloud technique
  23. Think-aloud protocols: a comparison of three think-aloud protocols for use in testing data-dissemination web sites for usability
  24. Evidence based medicine manifesto for better healthcare
  25. Thinking aloud: Reconciling theory and practice
  26. Barriers to participation in randomised controlled trials: a systematic review
  27. Clinical trials: the challenge of recruitment and retention of participants
  28. Increasing recruitment to randomised trials: a review of randomised controlled trials
  29. Principles of recruitment and retention in clinical trials
  30. Engaging veterans with substance abuse disorders into a research trial: success with study branding, networking, and presence

#365papers May Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

This month’s reading has been pretty rubbish if I’m honest. I’ve been spending my spare time reading books with plots and characters instead of p values and methods, and whilst in PhD mode I’ve been working on writing up the systematic review chapter of my thesis. Last month I was all motivated and excited to write my literature review – that took a total back seat, and I suspect it will remain there for the next few weeks whilst I finish up a first draft of that thesis chapter. I’m super excited to get this chapter written – I think it’ll calm me down a bit when it comes to writing the thesis as a whole; it feels like a head-start, and mentally, I think that’s a good move. Anyway, I managed to get through May’s reading, but that did involve a pretty heft few days of reading towards the end to catch up.

May’s reading:

  1. The impact of advertising patient and public involvement on trial recruitment: embedded cluster randomised recruitment trial
  2. Novel participatory methods of involving patients in research: naming and branding a longitudinal cohort study, BRIGHTLIGHT
  3. Developing the SELF study: a focus group with patients and the public
  4. What can we learn from trial decliners about improving recruitment? Qualitative study
  5. Overcoming barrier to recruiting ethnic minorities to mental health research: a typology of recruitment strategies
  6. Systematic techniques for assisting recruitment to trials (START): developing the science of recruitment
  7. Testing the effectiveness of user-tested patient information on recruitment rates across multiple trials: meta-analysis of data from the START programme
  8. Challenges to evaluating complex interventions: a content analysis of published papers
  9. An optimised patient information sheet did not significantly increase recruitment or retention in a falls prevention study: an embedded randomised recruitment trial
  10. Sharing individual level data from observational studies and clinical trials: a perspective from NHLBI
  11. Data sharing: not as simple as it seems
  12. Protecting patient privacy when sharing patient-level data from clinical trials
  13. Predictors of clinical trial data sharing: exploratory analysis of a cross-sectional survey
  14. Opening clinical trial data: are the voluntary data-sharing portals enough?
  15. Subversion of allocation concealment in randomised controlled trial: a historical case study
  16. Making a decision about trial participation: the feasibility of measuring deliberation during the informed consent process for clinical trials
  17. Participants’ preference for type of leaflet used to feed back the results of a randomised trial: a survey
  18. Trialists should tell participants results, but how?
  19. HELP! Problems in executing a pragmatic, randomised, stepped wedge trial on the Hospital Elder Life Program to prevent delirium in older patients
  20. Clinician engagement is critical to public engagement with clinical trials
  21. Patient engagement in research: a systematic review
  22. Health researchers’ attitudes towards public involvement in health research
  23. Open clinical trial data for all? A view from regulators
  24. Patient and public involvement: what next for the NHS?
  25. ‘Ordinary people only’: knowledge, representativeness, and the publics of public participation in healthcare
  26. Reflections on health care consumerism: insights from feminism
  27. Publishing information about ongoing clinical trials for patients
  28. Effectiveness of strategies for information, educating and involving patients
  29. Patient involvement in patient safety: what factors influence patient participation and engagement?
  30. Promoting public awareness of randomised clinical trials using the media: the ‘Get Randomised’ campaign
  31. Communicating the results of clinical research to participants: attitudes, practices, and future directions

#365papers April Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

This month’s reading has been good! After a slow March, I was right back into reading regularly and broadly. I chose to read a lot of these papers as I’m starting to write the literature review for my thesis (i.e. my least favourite thing to write, probably ever), so I wanted some relatively general pieces and some more focused work looking at specific aspects of recruitment to trials. I’m also slightly freaked out by the fact that it’s now the end of April and we’re going into summer – where has this year gone?! Time to step it up a gear and get this lit review written!

April’s reading:

  1. Statistics and ethics in medical research: III How large a sample
  2. Factors associated with clinical research recruitment in a pediatric academic medical center – a web-based survey
  3. False hopes and best data: Consent to research and the therapeutic misconception
  4. Influence of clinical communication on patients’ decision making on participation in clinical trials
  5. Sharing interim trial results by the Data Safety Monitoring Board with those responsible for the trial’s conduct and progress: a narrative review
  6. Agreement of treatment effects for mortality from routinely collected data and subsequent randomized trials: meta-epidemiological survey
  7. Why should I do research? Is it a waste of time?
  8. Avoidable waste in the production and reporting of research evidence
  9. An unfinished trip through uncertainties
  10. Patients’ consent preferences for research uses of information in electronic medical records: interview and survey data
  11. Time to publication for results of clinical trials
  12. Reasons for non-recruitment of eligible patients to a randomised controlled trial of secondary prevention after intracerebral haemorrhage: observational study
  13. Increasing value and reducing waste in biomedical research regulation and management
  14. The Guinea Pig Syndrome: Improving clinical trial participation among thoracic patients
  15. Accrual to cancer clinical trials: Directions from the research literature
  16. Barriers to participation in clinical trials of cancer: a meta-analysis and systematic review of patient-reported factors
  17. Why patients enroll in clinical trials: Physicians play a key role
  18. Recruitment and retention of participants in randomised controlled trials: a review of trials funded and published by the United Kingdom Health Technology Assessment Programme
  19. Strategies designed to help healthcare professionals to recruit participants to research studies
  20. Effective recruitment strategies in primary care research: a systematic review
  21. Mexican-American perspectives on participation in clinical trials: a qualitative study
  22. Medical research: missing patients
  23. Barriers to recruiting underrepresented populations to cancer clinical trials: a systematic review
  24. A nudge toward participation: improving clinical trial enrolment with behavioral economics
  25. The costs of conducting clinical research
  26. Prospective preference assessment: a method to enhance the ethics and efficiency of randomised controlled trials
  27. Clinicians’ views and experiences of offering two alternative consent pathways for participation in a preterm intrapartum trial: a qualitative study
  28. Lay perspectives: advantages for health research
  29. Random allocation or allocation at random? Patients’ perspectives of participation in a randomised controlled trial
  30. Lay public’s understanding of equipoise and randomisation in randomised controlled trials

#365papers March Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

Here’s my March update. I found this month reallt difficult to be honest, I was super busy with other things at work and didn’t feel like reading when I had a to do list longer than my arm. I missed a few days in a row and towards the end of the month when I had 10 papers to catch up on, I was making excuses and looking for ways to wriggle out of the challenge. I didn’t though – hoorah! I made time to read and now I’m all caught up.

March’s reading:

  1. Promoting recruitment using information management efficiently (PRIME): study protocol for a stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial within the Restart or Stop Antithrombotics Randomised Trial (RESTART)
  2. A little more conversation please? Qualitative study of researchers’ and patients’ interview account of training for patient and public involvement in clinical trials
  3. Are there fundamental deficiencies in megatrial methodology?
  4. Managing clinical trials
  5. From protocol to published report: a study of consistency in the reporting of academic drug trials
  6. Understanding controlled trials: why are randomised controlled trials so important?
  7. Understanding controlled trials: baseline imbalance in randomised controlled trials
  8. Understanding controlled trials: randomising groups of patients
  9. Using marketing theory to inform strategies for recruitment: a recruitment optimisation model and the txt2stop experience
  10. The natural history of conducting and reporting clinical trials: interviews with trialists
  11. Understanding controlled trials: what is a patient preference trial?
  12. Strategies for increasing recruitment to randomised controlled trials: systematic review
  13. Why clinical trial outcomes fail to translate into benefits for patients
  14. Blog – How marketing is undermining clinical trials
  15. Marketing trials, marketing tricks – how to spot them and how to stop them
  16. The changing face of clinical trials: pragmatic trials
  17. Equipoise across the patient population: optimising recruitment to a randomised controlled trial
  18. Why prudence is needed when interpreting articles reporting clinical trial results in mental health
  19. The possibility of critical realist randomised controlled trials
  20. The association of funding source on effect size in randomised controlled trials: 2013-2016 – a cross-sectional survey and meta-analysis
  21. Improving the recruitment activity of clinicians in randomised controlled trials: a systematic review
  22. Registry-based pragmatic trials in heart failure: current experience and future directions
  23. Barriers to recruitment in pediatric obesity trials: comparing opt-in an dopt-out recruitment approaches
  24. Sharing raw data from clinical trials: what progress since we first asked “Whose data set is it anyway?”
  25. Pharmafile Opinion – Are we prepared for the ‘real world’?
  26. Experience with direct-to-patient recruitment for enrollment into a clinical trial in a rare disease: a web-based study
  27. Financial Times article – Small patient groups hinder progress of clinical trials
  28. Fast Company, 3 Minute Read – This compay is helping patients get paid for their influence
  29. Recruitment of minority adolescents and young adults into randomised clinical trials: testing the design of the technology enhanced community health nursing (Tech-N) pelvic inflammatory disease trial
  30. When clinical trials compete: prioritizing study recruitment
  31. The continuing unethical conduct of underpowered clinical trials

If you have any recommended reads that are related to clinical trials/methodology/health services research and that kind of thing, I’d welcome them!

#365papers February Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

Here’s my February update. I found this month a big more difficult than last month – time just seemed to go much faster so and I was missing days quite regularly, meaning I was reading 4 or 5 papers at a time in order to keep up.

February’s reading:

  1. Making doubt generative: rethinking the role of doubt in the research process
  2. Chocolate bar as an incentive did not increase response rate among physiotherapists: a randomised controlled trial
  3. Presenting the results of Cochrane systematic consumer audience: a qualitative study
  4. User experiences of evidence-based online resources for health professionals: User testing of The Cochrane Library
  5. User testing and stakeholder feedback contributed to the development of understandable and useful Summary of Findings tables for Cochrane reviews
  6. RevManHAL: towards automatic text generation in systematic reviews
  7. Developing a survey of barriers and facilitators to recruitment in randomised controlled trials
  8. Enhancing the reporting of implementation research
  9. Making mindset matter
  10. Multilayered and digitally structured presentation formats of trustworthy recommendations: a combined survey and randomised trial
  11. Can patient involvement improve patient safety? A cluster randomised control trial of the Patient Reporting and Action for a Safe Environment (PRASE) intervention
  12. Staff experiences of closing out a clinical trial involving withdrawal of treatment: qualitative study
  13. A systematic review of discontinued trials suggested that most reasons for recruitment failure were preventable
  14. Cohort profile: the Scottish Research register SHARE. A register of people interested in research participation linked to NHS data sets
  15. Understanding pragmatism and PRECIS-2
  16. Sex can affect participation, engagement, and adherence in trials
  17. Communicating with participants during the conduct of multi-center clinical trials
  18. Models and impact of patient and public involvement in studies carried out by the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London: findings from ten case studies
  19. Decision aids for randomised controlled trials: a qualitative exploration of stakeholders’ views
  20. Participant retention practices in longitudinal clinical research studies with high retention rates
  21. Application of Incident Command Structure to clinical trial management in the academic setting: principles and lessons learned
  22. Publishing protocols for trials of complex interventions before trial completion – potential pitfalls, solutions and the need for public debate
  23. Design of case report forms based on a public metadata registry: re-use of data elements to improve compatibility of data
  24. Understanding variations in patient screening and recruitment in a multicenter pilot randomised controlled trial: a vignette-based study
  25. Risk of selection bias in randomised trials: further insight
  26. Assessment of clinical trial participant patient satisfaction: a call to action
  27. Stakeholders’ views on the ethical challenges of pragmatic trials investigating pharmaceutical drugs
  28. Financial considerations in the conduct of multi-centre randomised controlled trials: evidence from a qualitative study

Are any of you attempting to read #365papers this year? If you have any papers you’d recommend I read please leave them in a comment below.

#365papers January Update

In my first post on this blog, I set myself 3 PhD-related goals for 2017. One of those goals was to read more widely, and more frequently, and I decided that doing the #365papers challenge would be a good way to do that.

Here’s my first update, covering the month of January. Overall, I’ve found this a really good month for reading – I tended to skip a few days and then do an afternoon of reading to catch up. At first I felt a bit guilty about that; I wasn’t reading every day, but I’ve found this works for me. I think I get more out of the papers if I have a longer period of time to sit down and really unpick the work, I get into some sort of rhythm and then the time seems to be spent more productively.

My reading list started out with a few pretty general papers; I was looking for papers covering clinical trial recruitment in a broad way so that I could then move on to reading quirkier, small scale primary research. I’ve kept a log of everything that I’ve read so far, including brief notes and any points that I want to come back to – e.g. comments on style of writing or presentation methods that I like and want to bring into my own work, as well as any critique of the methods used.

January’s reading:

  1. Current challenges in clinical trial patient recruitment and enrolment
  2. The recruitment of patients into clinical trials
  3. Seminars may increase recruitment to randomised controlled trials: lessons learned from WISDOM
  4. Barriers to clinical trial recruitment in head and neck cancer
  5. Re: Haddad et al. Barriers to clinical trial recruitment in head and neck cancer
  6. Trials and tribulations: obstacles to clinical trial recruitment
  7. What difference does patient and public involvement make and what are its pathways to impact? Qualitative study of patients and researchers from a cohort of randomised clinical trials
  8. Using qualitative research methods to improve recruitment to randomised controlled trials: The Quartet study
  9. Optimising recruitment and informed consent in randomised controlled trials: the development and implementation of the Quintet Recruitment Intervention (QRI)
  10. A survey of facilitators and barriers to recruitment to the MAGNETIC trial
  11. Using Facebook ads with traditional paper mailings to recruit adolescent girls for a clinical trial
  12. An embedded randomised controlled trial of a Teaser Campaign to optimise recruitment in primary care
  13. “You need to be a good listener”: Recruiters’ use of relational communication behaviors to enhance clinical trial and research study accrual
  14. Improving recruitment in clinical trials: why eligible participants decline
  15. Women’s reasons for participation in a clinical trial for menstrual pain: a qualitative study
  16. Challenges in recruitment and retention of clinical trial subjects
  17. Using Facebook to recruit college-age men for a human papillomavirus vaccine trial
  18. Culturally competent strategies for recruitment and retention of African-American populations into clinical trials
  19. Recruitment challenges in a diabetes prevention trial in a low- and middle-income setting
  20. Recruiting to clinical trials on the telephone – a randomised controlled trial
  21. Recruitment strategies and challenges in a large intervention trial: Systolic blood pressure intervention trial
  22. Examination of participant flow in the CONSORT diagram can improve the understanding of the generalizability of study results
  23. Research START: A multimethod study of barriers and accelerators of recruiting research participants
  24. Projection of participant recruitment to primary care research: a qualitative study
  25. Training recruiters to randomised trials to facilitate recruitment and informed consent by exploring patients’ treatment preferences
  26. Using a business model approach and marketing techniques for recruitment to clinical trials
  27. The experience of adolescents participating in a randomised clinical trial in the field of mental health: a qualitative study
  28. What are the roles and valued attributes of a Trial Steering Committee? Ethnographic study of eight clinical trials facing challenges
  29. The role of therapeutic optimism in recruitment to a clinical trial in a peripartum setting: balancing hope and uncertainty
  30. ‘The trial is owned by the team, not by an individual’: a qualitative study exploring the role of teamwork in recruitment to randomised controlled trials in surgical oncology
  31. Recruiting and consenting into a peripartum trial in an emergency setting: a qualitative study of the experiences and views of women and healthcare professionals

Are any of you attempting to read #365papers this year? How’re you finding it so far?

Hello 2017: Setting New Goals

aurelia_clock_copper_lb01_22016 was a weird one; personally it was a bit of a car-crash, but career-wise I’d deem it a success. I like the process of turning over a new leaf and reflecting on the past year – not necessarily with the whole ‘new year, new me’ in mind, but I do think it’s a good excuse to take a look at recent successes and lessons to learn for the year ahead. Time is also ticking with regards to the PhD, so it seems as good a time as any to get back into work recharged and armed with new goals.

Begin piecing together the thesis
Throughout the first year of the PhD I wrote frequently; I wrote a full ‘PhD protocol’ safe in the knowledge that it would never be published purely so that I had the timelines and task ahead of me worked out early on in the process. Into the second year I began abstract and full text screening for my systematic review, moving on to data extraction over the summer of last year. Other projects started up and required things other than writing, so it’s time for me to get back to writing more often. Whether the words I write end up in the thesis is not important; writing will help me to focus the project and ultimately the thesis later on.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times people have told me to ‘start writing early’ or ‘don’t leave it to the last minute’. I have started, but there are sections that I can get on with writing at the moment.

Read more widely, and more frequently
As I mentioned earlier on, I’ve been side-lined with data extraction and other projects, and my reading has definitely slipped. I need to get back into the literature, and as I was scrolling through Twitter last week I saw someone using #365papers. 365 papers is a project that I think was started by Jacqueline Gill and Meghan Duffy as a new year’s resolution for 2016. In basic terms it involves reading a paper every day (on average) for a year. I’m going to give this a go, and I’ll be blogging about the project periodically throughout the year too. Stay tuned for updates and wish me luck!

Seek out opportunities to publish

I’ve spoken to lots of people recently – both academics and people outside of academia – about the need to publish. Is it better to publish fewer, more focused papers, or more papers covering a broader range of topics? Every academic went with the latter. As an early career researcher I need to be publishing regularly, and the range of topics those papers include doesn’t seem to matter too much. I published my first PhD-related paper in 2016 (you can read it here), and I have a number of papers that should be published late in 2017 and into 2018. It’s time to actively look for more opportunities to publish though. I want to come out of this PhD feeling confident that I can go into a career in Health Services Research; applying for post-docs and fellowships with a decent list of publications behind me can only be a good thing.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and productive 2017!