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Clinical Research for Beginners

Learn literature review, biostatistics and manuscript writing and create a hig quality manuscript worthy of publication in the best peer reviewed journals

Clinical Research for Beginners

Learn literature review, biostatistics and manuscript writing and create a hig quality manuscript worthy of publication in the best peer reviewed journals
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This module gives you an overview of the entire lecture series and introduces some basic terms that you will learn as you proceed along with the modules. It also enumerates the various advantages of doing good clinical research such as enhancing literature and the availability of grants and funding. Finally, the lecture on my story chronicles my personal involvement with clinical research over a decade and highlights my mantra of doing research and publishing papers even while involved in very hectic residency and fellowship programs.
This lecture gives you an overview of the steps involved in doing good clinical research. It also introduces the various concepts that will be covered in this lecture series.
This lecture outlines the various advantages of doing good clinical research such as enhancing literature, influencing policy-making, obtaining grants and funding and getting fame and recognition via your research activities.
This module begins with how to select a topic for initiating a thesis or clinical study. It provides tips on how you can keep getting a stream of excellent and novel ideas that can be taken forward and published. It also gives you a detailed description of how to do a good PubMed search keeping in mind “what has not been done” and customize PubMed for your own benefit. Lastly, it highlights the pros and cons of the various study designs and teaches you to select the best study design for your own study.
This lecture will teach you how to identify topics for doing a thesis or research study. Subscribing to “e-Table of contents” from major journals, understanding your resources and limitations and numerous other thumb rules are provided which will help you identify your topic and decide whether it can be successfully executed in your settings.
This lecture introduces you to the most important online search engine for biomedical journals i.e. PubMed. Differences between Medline, PubMed and PubMed central are highlighted, the concept of MeSH terms is introduced and indexing of journals is explained in this lecture.
This lecture demonstrates the utilization of the PubMed search engine using real-life examples. You will learn concepts of advanced search, Boolean search, creating your own NCBI account and customizing PubMed to suit your own requirements.
This lecture will introduce you to various study designs that you can use to conduct your study. It demystifies the concepts of cohort vs. case-control studies, prospective vs. retrospective studies using animations that will give you clarity. Most importantly, you will learn to decide which study design suits your research question the best.
Take this question to understand the literature review better.
This module introduces you to the basic concept of what is meant by a variable, how to describe variables (descriptive statistics) and how to understand the interaction between variables (analytic statistics). You will also understand how to design an Excel sheet that is compatible with statistical software packages. Finally, in the lecture on “How to interact with a biostatistician” you will understand how to involve a biostatistician at various levels of your study and how to extract the best out of this interaction.
This lecture introduces you to the basic building blocks of biostatistics i.e. a variable. You will learn how to classify variables into continuous and categorical types using real-world clinical examples. Finally, you will get exposed to the concepts of an independent and dependent variable.
Making an Excel sheet that can be utilized by statistical software packages requires you to follow certain specific guidelines. This lecture will enlist these simple guidelines that you should use to make your excel sheet. An excellent Excel sheet will ensure quick and relevant statistical analysis.
In this lecture, you will learn how to use measures of central tendency (mean, standard deviation, median, etc.) to describe different types of variables. Additionally, you will understand the best ways to graphically represent the variance and distribution of a variable. Lastly, you will understand the concept of “outliers”.
Take this quiz to see your understanding of the basics of biostatistics.
In this lecture, you will learn how to find statistically significant differences between variables using different tests of significance such as student t-test and chi-square test. An algorithm like approach is presented to make it simple for you to follow and apply in your own research.
This lecture introduces you to the concepts of correlation and regression analysis. Regression is required to adjust for the influence of confounders in your study. Different types of regression analysis are introduced depending on the outcome variable along with real-life examples from clinical studies.
Communicating with a biostatistician effectively is a critical part of designing your study, calculating sample size, data maintenance, statistical analysis and presenting your outcomes using appropriate tables and figures. This lecture teaches you how to optimize this interaction and get the best out of your biostatistician.
Take this course to understand analytic biostatistics better.
This module introduces you to the nuances of writing various types of manuscripts such as original articles, case reports, and letters to the editor. It familiarizes you with internationally available checklists to write your manuscripts. You will also learn to choose a journal that is best for your manuscript with the highest chances of acceptance.
This lecture gives you guidelines on how to choose the most appropriate journal to submit your manuscript. Concepts such as “what is meant by indexed journals” and the peer review process are also introduced in this lecture.
This lecture introduces you to different types of manuscripts and focuses on how to write original articles. The IMRAD format of writing is introduced, nuances of writing each section of the manuscript are elucidated and abstract writing is introduced in the end.
Take this quiz on manuscript writing to understand journal choice and writing an original article better.
Writing case reports and letters to the editor are not as demanding as writing original articles and are hence, excellent starting points to initiate scientific writing. In this lecture, you will learn about the intricacies involved in writing Case reports and letters to the editor.
This lecture introduces you to very important general tips of manuscript writing such as choosing a title for the manuscript, style of writing using scientific lingo, reference style, specifics of tables and figures applicable to most journals and cautions against plagiarism in scientific writing.
This lecture introduces you to manuscript writing using internationally accepted checklists available from the Equator Network. It then takes you through the items in one of the most commonly employed checklists i.e. the STROBE statement.
Take this quiz to see how much you have learned about writing case reports and checklists used for writing.
Take this quiz to see your understanding of the entire course material.
Take this quiz to see your understanding of the entire course material.
This module shows you what a reviewer or a journal editor wants from your paper. It highlights the ten most common causes of rejection. It also teaches you how to deal with rejections and revise to resubmit your paper to a different journal. Lastly, you will learn how to use reference managers to organize and number your references automatically, thereby reducing your burden significantly.
This lecture takes a look at manuscripts from a reviewer’s point of view. It introduces basic concepts used in the review process such as relevance, originality, and validity. It also takes a look at how to construct a good research question and transmit information with clarity so that it is easily understood by the reviewers, editors and finally the readers.
This lecture introduces you to the 10 most common causes of rejection. Being aware of these causes will help you in avoiding the same mistakes when you write your manuscript, thereby improving your chances of acceptance.
This lecture will introduce you to reference managers such as Zotero and Mendeley, which are freely available online, integrate with your web browser and Microsoft Word, and assist you in automatically organizing and numbering references for your manuscript.
This lecture summarizes the entire lecture series and gives you perspectives on the logical applications of the in-depth knowledge you have gained so that you are able to apply these research techniques in your own research as well as day-to-day practice.

Welcome to this course on Clinical Research Methodology. I have designed this course so that even beginners can learn how to do research in a methodical way and publish impactful papers. You will come across examples from real research topics in various modules to grasp the subject better. I recommend that you try the "Practice test" before starting the lectures and take the test again after finishing the course to know how much you have imbibed from the lectures.

In the overview module, we will learn the advantages of doing good scientific research and publications, and you will see glimpses of my journey from being a medical student to coming of age as a researcher. I believe that if I could do it, then so can you.

In the module on literature review, we will go through how to utilize and customize PubMed in the best possible manner for your individual requirements, how to get fresh ideas for research topics and nuances of study designs.

In the biostatistics module, we will build up concepts from the very basics, such as "what is a variable" till a basic understanding of advanced statistics. You will get exposed to topics like "how to make an effective Excel sheet" and "how to communicate with a biostatistician".

Manuscript writing can be daunting. In the module on manuscript writing, you will learn to use some templates that will simplify your job and make the writing process enjoyable.

Each 10-minute lecture is packed with information in a very lucid manner enabling you to grasp concepts while enjoying the learning process. Learn on the go and access lectures on your device anytime, anywhere. Lectures feature my on-screen speaking with you directly as well as intermittent slides to enhance the learning experience. It will feel like a live one-on-one lecture. I hope that this will be a fruitful and exciting learning experience for you, and I look forward to having you here.

In the end, you will be able to design studies including randomized clinical trials, do a good literature search, understand relevant biostatistics, and write meaningful manuscripts that can be published in high impact journals. Additionally, you will also be able to interpret the merits of published literature and apply knowledge to improve patient care.

Who should take this course?

  • Anyone interested in clinical research can enroll. Prior knowledge of clinical research is not required.
  • If you are in the medical profession including a physician (including in training) or nurse and want to publish papers, this is the best initiation course for you.
  • If you are a research coordinator or want to get involved with clinical trials, this course will introduce you to the basics.
  • If you are in the pharmaceutical industry, this is a great course to understand how medical literature evolves, how to interpret published data from clinical trials and how to convey important information to your physician partners that can ultimately boost your sales.
This module gives you an overview of the entire lecture series and introduces some basic terms that you will learn as you proceed along with the modules. It also enumerates the various advantages of doing good clinical research such as enhancing literature and the availability of grants and funding. Finally, the lecture on my story chronicles my personal involvement with clinical research over a decade and highlights my mantra of doing research and publishing papers even while involved in very hectic residency and fellowship programs.
This lecture gives you an overview of the steps involved in doing good clinical research. It also introduces the various concepts that will be covered in this lecture series.
This lecture outlines the various advantages of doing good clinical research such as enhancing literature, influencing policy-making, obtaining grants and funding and getting fame and recognition via your research activities.
This module begins with how to select a topic for initiating a thesis or clinical study. It provides tips on how you can keep getting a stream of excellent and novel ideas that can be taken forward and published. It also gives you a detailed description of how to do a good PubMed search keeping in mind “what has not been done” and customize PubMed for your own benefit. Lastly, it highlights the pros and cons of the various study designs and teaches you to select the best study design for your own study.
This lecture will teach you how to identify topics for doing a thesis or research study. Subscribing to “e-Table of contents” from major journals, understanding your resources and limitations and numerous other thumb rules are provided which will help you identify your topic and decide whether it can be successfully executed in your settings.
This lecture introduces you to the most important online search engine for biomedical journals i.e. PubMed. Differences between Medline, PubMed and PubMed central are highlighted, the concept of MeSH terms is introduced and indexing of journals is explained in this lecture.
This lecture demonstrates the utilization of the PubMed search engine using real-life examples. You will learn concepts of advanced search, Boolean search, creating your own NCBI account and customizing PubMed to suit your own requirements.
This lecture will introduce you to various study designs that you can use to conduct your study. It demystifies the concepts of cohort vs. case-control studies, prospective vs. retrospective studies using animations that will give you clarity. Most importantly, you will learn to decide which study design suits your research question the best.
Take this question to understand the literature review better.
This module introduces you to the basic concept of what is meant by a variable, how to describe variables (descriptive statistics) and how to understand the interaction between variables (analytic statistics). You will also understand how to design an Excel sheet that is compatible with statistical software packages. Finally, in the lecture on “How to interact with a biostatistician” you will understand how to involve a biostatistician at various levels of your study and how to extract the best out of this interaction.
This lecture introduces you to the basic building blocks of biostatistics i.e. a variable. You will learn how to classify variables into continuous and categorical types using real-world clinical examples. Finally, you will get exposed to the concepts of an independent and dependent variable.
Making an Excel sheet that can be utilized by statistical software packages requires you to follow certain specific guidelines. This lecture will enlist these simple guidelines that you should use to make your excel sheet. An excellent Excel sheet will ensure quick and relevant statistical analysis.
In this lecture, you will learn how to use measures of central tendency (mean, standard deviation, median, etc.) to describe different types of variables. Additionally, you will understand the best ways to graphically represent the variance and distribution of a variable. Lastly, you will understand the concept of “outliers”.
Take this quiz to see your understanding of the basics of biostatistics.
In this lecture, you will learn how to find statistically significant differences between variables using different tests of significance such as student t-test and chi-square test. An algorithm like approach is presented to make it simple for you to follow and apply in your own research.
This lecture introduces you to the concepts of correlation and regression analysis. Regression is required to adjust for the influence of confounders in your study. Different types of regression analysis are introduced depending on the outcome variable along with real-life examples from clinical studies.
Communicating with a biostatistician effectively is a critical part of designing your study, calculating sample size, data maintenance, statistical analysis and presenting your outcomes using appropriate tables and figures. This lecture teaches you how to optimize this interaction and get the best out of your biostatistician.
Take this course to understand analytic biostatistics better.
This module introduces you to the nuances of writing various types of manuscripts such as original articles, case reports, and letters to the editor. It familiarizes you with internationally available checklists to write your manuscripts. You will also learn to choose a journal that is best for your manuscript with the highest chances of acceptance.
This lecture gives you guidelines on how to choose the most appropriate journal to submit your manuscript. Concepts such as “what is meant by indexed journals” and the peer review process are also introduced in this lecture.
This lecture introduces you to different types of manuscripts and focuses on how to write original articles. The IMRAD format of writing is introduced, nuances of writing each section of the manuscript are elucidated and abstract writing is introduced in the end.
Take this quiz on manuscript writing to understand journal choice and writing an original article better.
Writing case reports and letters to the editor are not as demanding as writing original articles and are hence, excellent starting points to initiate scientific writing. In this lecture, you will learn about the intricacies involved in writing Case reports and letters to the editor.
This lecture introduces you to very important general tips of manuscript writing such as choosing a title for the manuscript, style of writing using scientific lingo, reference style, specifics of tables and figures applicable to most journals and cautions against plagiarism in scientific writing.
This lecture introduces you to manuscript writing using internationally accepted checklists available from the Equator Network. It then takes you through the items in one of the most commonly employed checklists i.e. the STROBE statement.
Take this quiz to see how much you have learned about writing case reports and checklists used for writing.
Take this quiz to see your understanding of the entire course material.
Take this quiz to see your understanding of the entire course material.
This module shows you what a reviewer or a journal editor wants from your paper. It highlights the ten most common causes of rejection. It also teaches you how to deal with rejections and revise to resubmit your paper to a different journal. Lastly, you will learn how to use reference managers to organize and number your references automatically, thereby reducing your burden significantly.
This lecture takes a look at manuscripts from a reviewer’s point of view. It introduces basic concepts used in the review process such as relevance, originality, and validity. It also takes a look at how to construct a good research question and transmit information with clarity so that it is easily understood by the reviewers, editors and finally the readers.
This lecture introduces you to the 10 most common causes of rejection. Being aware of these causes will help you in avoiding the same mistakes when you write your manuscript, thereby improving your chances of acceptance.
This lecture will introduce you to reference managers such as Zotero and Mendeley, which are freely available online, integrate with your web browser and Microsoft Word, and assist you in automatically organizing and numbering references for your manuscript.
This lecture summarizes the entire lecture series and gives you perspectives on the logical applications of the in-depth knowledge you have gained so that you are able to apply these research techniques in your own research as well as day-to-day practice.

About the instructors

Dr. Sabyasachi Sengupta

Ophthalmologist, Research Guru, Associate Editor, Singer, Motivational Speaker
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Dr. Sabyasachi Sengupta currently the Associate Editor of the Indian journal of Ophthalmology. 

Dr. Sengupta went on to do a postdoctoral research fellowship at the world-renowned Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. He also did a one-year course in Biostatistics at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. During his stint at Hopkins, Dr. Sengupta was exposed to a very systematic and organized way of doing research. He was fortunate to be mentored by very experienced researchers at Hopkins such as Dr Pradeep Ramulu (Chief, glaucoma service) and Dr Friedman (Head, Dana Center). This experience made Dr. Sengupta well versed with the infrastructure and support required to conduct world-class clinical research, which he aspires to catalyze in India and the rest of the developing world.

Currently, he is a practicing ophthalmologist and retina specialist at Future Vision Eye Care, Mumbai, India and has been involved with clinical research since 2005, ever since he began his residency in Ophthalmology at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER, Pondicherry). He continued his residency going on to become a Diplomate of National board from Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry, India and was awarded a gold medal by the National Board of Examinations. Despite having a rigorous clinical schedule, Dr. Sengupta was successful in publishing 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals during his residency. Following his residency, Dr. Sengupta went on to do a research & clinical fellowship at the renowned Sankara Nethralaya, where he was simultaneously involved in patient care and clinical research and was successful in publishing 12 papers over a two-year period.

On his return to India from Johns Hopkins, Dr. Sengupta served as Head of Research at Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry for over 2 years. While at Aravind, he was able to streamline and galvanize the research department, including defining roles for research coordinators, data entry personnel and clerical staff. He is also credited with establishing the Ethics Committee at Aravind, Pondicherry as per the Drugs Controller General of India guidelines. At Aravind, Dr. Sengupta mentored many aspiring physicians in designing and conducting their own studies and ultimately publishing their papers. The publication productivity of Aravind, Pondicherry grew under the influence of Dr. Sengupta’s efforts. Lastly, he was successful in forming high value collaborations with Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins, Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan and The Camera Culture Group, MIT.

He has also been an invited speaker in many different research oriented forums, including the Indian Journal Of Ophthalmology Session at the All India Ophthalmic conference and other Research Methodology workshops.

Till date, Dr. Sengupta has published more than 80 papers in top rated peer-reviewed journals including Ophthalmology, JAMA Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, Eye and the British Journal of Ophthalmology. He also serves as a reviewer for all the above-mentioned journals and many other journals as well. He is currently the Associate Editor of the Indian journal of ophthalmology. He is part of the international reviewer board for the Research Council and Grant Review Board, Health and Medical Research Fund, Government of Hong Kong. Additionally, he serves on the research and advisory board of medical start up companies in his endeavor to forge successful academia – industry partnerships.

Having experienced different clinical and research settings during his training, including governmental (JIPMER), non – profit organizations (Aravind and Sankara Nethralaya) and arguably the best research organization globally (Hopkins), Dr. Sengupta feels well equipped to offer tailor – made research solutions for eager clinicians from diverse backgrounds.

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