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  • If you're in a STEM field, chances are you'll need to read primary literature - also known

  • as research articles.

  • And unlike books, effectively and efficiently reading a research paper requires a nuanced

  • and systematic approach.

  • When I first started reading research papers as a neuroscience major in college, it took

  • considerable effort and time to make sense of it all.

  • But since then, I've read through thousands of papers, published dozens of my own in peer

  • reviewed journals, and can now crank through them with ease.

  • Here's the system I use.

  • Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com.

  • First, Determine the Purpose of Reading. Depending on the purpose and your goal in

  • reading a research paper, your approach may differ considerably.

  • Keep that in mind as we cover the following sections.

  • If you're reading a paper as a requirement for a class, like I initially had to for my

  • neuroscience courses, you will be focusing on comprehension rather than determining utility.

  • You'll need to know the study hypothesis, the methods they used, the findings, and the

  • limitations of their conclusions.

  • As you proceed with your medical training, you will likely write many of your own research

  • articles.

  • After all, doing so is one of the most powerful ways to stand out and strengthen your medical

  • school or residency application.

  • In these instances, you are mostly referencing other research papers and it becomes more

  • important to quickly determine relevance and value prior to committing a more in depth

  • reading and analysis.

  • You will also use papers as tools to figure out other papers to read by taking advantage

  • of their own reference list.

  • Now that you've identified your primary goal, it's time to begin reading.

  • Not every section in a research article is

  • created equal.

  • Unlike reading a traditional book, I don't advise you read a research paper in order.

  • First, you should read the title and the abstract to get an overview of the paper.

  • If, at any time during your reading, you come across a word or acronym you don't understand,

  • stop and look it up.

  • This is not like a novel where you can infer the meaning and likely not see the word again.

  • The language in research articles is generally pretty straightforward, and terms you don't

  • understand are often the scientific terms that are critical to your understanding of

  • the paper and its findings.

  • Next, dive into the conclusion.

  • Again, this is a research paper, not a novel, so you're not running into any spoilers.

  • The conclusion effectively summarizes the most pertinent findings.

  • Now that you have a better idea of what the paper is about, spend as much time as you

  • desire going over the figures, methods, results, and discussion sections.

  • The discussion will likely be the highest yield portion that requires the most amount

  • of time, but to truly understand the paper you must also go over the methods and results.

  • A big element to reading papers is understanding

  • the limitations of the study, which then allows you to more accurately determine the paper's significance.

  • The biggest and most widespread mistake is jumping to the conclusion and not understanding

  • the limitations and generalizability of a study.

  • Look at any media article summarizingnew ground breaking researchand you'll see

  • what I mean.

  • Towards the end of the discussion section in most any paper, you'll find the author's

  • own interpretation of the limitations of their study.

  • But, there are always many more limitations beyond what they mention.

  • There have been entire books dedicated to the nuances of statistics and

  • extrapolating conclusions from the research, and this is something I may consider making

  • a dedicated future video on.

  • Let me know in the comments below so I can gauge interest.

  • Most people know about randomization, placebo-controlled, and single or double blinded studies.

  • That being said, there is so much more nuance to it.

  • Here are a few examples:

  • First, study design: is the study retrospective, meaning looking back historically, or prospective,

  • starting with individuals that are followed over time?

  • Is it case-control, cohort, or cross-sectional study?

  • Number two, what are the end points used?

  • If the study draws conclusions about heart disease and health but only uses HDL as a

  • surrogate marker, understand the surrogate is just that - an imperfect proxy.

  • Number three, Biases.

  • There are too many to cover, but selection, recall, sampling, confounding, procedure,

  • lead-time, and the Hawthorne effect are all biases you shou ld familiarize yourself with.

  • And number four, basic statistical analyses: sensitivity versus specificity, normal and skewed distributions,

  • positive and negative predictive values, etc.

  • Over time, you'll be reading dozens or even

  • hundreds of research papers, and it becomes a challenge to keep everything straight.

  • Again, depending on the purpose, there are a few options to consider.

  • If you're reading as a class assignment, I recommend you print out the paper, highlight,

  • and annotate in the margins as needed.

  • More recently, I have done this on an iPad with Apple pencil, such that printing out

  • was no longer necessary.

  • If, on the other hand, you're reading in order to write your own paper, start using

  • a citation manager immediately from the beginning.

  • EndNote is often referenced as the rather expensive gold standard, but Mendeley is a

  • free and quite sufficient alternative.

  • As soon as you begin reading papers, import them into your citation manager.

  • In a separate Word document, begin jotting down the key points of the paper that are

  • relevant to your own project.

  • This notes document will now become the main resource from which you will begin writing

  • your own paper.

  • Trust me, it's much better this way, otherwise you'll spend considerable time and effort

  • hunting for facts from the dozens of PDF's that you've read.

  • Lastly, understand that a big part of reading speed in both regular books as well as research papers

  • is your familiarity with the subject.

  • I started off reading neuroscience papers quite slowly, but as my expertise in the area grew,

  • I was able to breeze through them.

  • I knew the anatomy and terminology like the back of my hand, and coming across terms like

  • CA1 vs CA2 neurons of the hippocampus no longer required additional processing.

  • Similarly, when I first started diving into plastic surgery research, I didn't know

  • all the nuances of hand anatomy or principles of aesthetic surgery.

  • But as I grew to understand more, reading and understanding the literature became second

  • nature, and once again I was able to breeze through them.

  • It's important to keep this in mind to make sure you don't get discouraged.

  • If you consistently apply yourself to reading research articles and follow the steps I've

  • outlined earlier, you'll be tackling papers with ease in no time.

  • Like it or not, being proficient in research is an essential skill if you want to go to

  • a top medical school or residency program.

  • In a certain way, there's a science but also an art to bolstering a solid research

  • CV and securing impressive letters of recommendation from your PI.

  • You can check out my own personal list of research articles, abstracts, and presentations

  • on my personal website at kevinjubbal.com.

  • It's currently over 60 and counting.

  • Being proficient in research was a huge part of my own success getting into a top medical

  • school and a highly competitive residency.

  • It's a challenging ordeal, and very few people know how to address this for maximal

  • effectiveness.

  • Through experimentation and uncommon techniques, I was able to pump out over 30 items in less

  • than 12 months and secure stellar letters of recommendation.

  • Visit MedSchoolInsiders.com to learn how our team of top advisors can help you master your

  • own research and present your best self in your application and interview.

  • I created this video because you guys requested it.

  • If you guys have any other requests for research related videos, let me know down in the comments

  • below.

  • If you made it this far, then there's a lot more content on my Instagram that you'll definitely enjoy. Check out @kevinjubbalmd

  • and @medschoolinsiders.

  • Thank you guys so much for watching, and I will see you all in that next one.

If you're in a STEM field, chances are you'll need to read primary literature - also known

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研究を簡単に(しかも楽しく)する方法 (How to Make Research Easy (& Even Enjoyable))

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    Summer に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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