In this exercise, students apply their knowledge and understanding of gerontology and geriatrics by writing 'a research article' based on relevant scientific literature or, if available, original data.
Students can do this final assignment in couples if they wish to. Their assessment will be the same unless severe discrepancies in the cooperation occurs.
- The students should formulate a relevant research question in geriatrics or gerontology. The method of formulating a research question will be discussed in an introductory session. Students should think about short questions and unripe ideas (note on cards) during the whole trimester.
- Based on preliminary ideas, students should try to find material for further review, through Medline/ PubMed and other scientific databases. Or seek original data on the question they wish to answer with guide of the tutors.
- From the exploration in various databases, the students should translate their research question into a hypothesis. If working with existing literature, a special session provided by the library of the LUMC will help them formulating a search algorithm.
- If working with existing literature, based on relevant inclusion and exclusion criteria students should select original research papers (papers including data) that fit those criteria. A flow chart that presents this exclusion and inclusion process should be included in the research paper. If working from original data, conceptual and theoretical relevant framework should be offered in the research article.
- If working with existing literature, students are expected to list the papers in a table containing the relevant study characteristics for the research question posed. Following this they will perform a systematic quantitative or qualitative weighing of the studies they found. Students working with original data are expected to give a clear and logic representation of methods and findings.
- If quantitative, they can apply statistical (multi-variate) regression techniques or otherwise with the help of statistical software. If qualitative, they should for instance consider factors such as study design, population, number of participants, outcome measures and their own criteria to answer the research question (systematic). The data should be summarised in a table or figure that shows what the result is for the research question posed. If working with original data, students should be able to visualize findings in a conducive way and compare these findings to relevant other studies.
- The following step is to write a concise article of their findings and conclusions substantiated with scientific literature. The article should follow the IMRAD style and should contain at least two tables and a figure.
- A student will submit a proposal for a research topic with a motivation containing the relevance and interest in the topic chosen (in the first week of January to the coordinators of the Master programme).
- The student is appointed one of the core faculty members as a tutor for the research article (in the seventh week) based on the topic chosen.
- After being appointed a tutor the student hands in a more elaborate structure plan of the article containing an outline with main research question and search algorithm or hypothesis. In agreement with the tutor a deadline is set for the draft version. The tutor will discuss the outline with the student and gives approval for writing (after possible revisions).
- A student can ask for an additional tutor for reasons of scientific relevance, e.g. another faculty member or external expert is more familiar with the topic chosen. This person then acts as a second tutor following the procedures as set out in the regulations for the tutor.
- A student can request consultation in the following weeks in which the student writes the research paper. The consultations normally take place on Tuesday afternoons in agreement with the tutor.
- The student will hand in the systematic review in the second semester.
- The tutor reviews the paper and another core faculty member will do an independent review of the work. If a second tutor is involved, this second tutor will also review the work.
- The tutor(s) and second core faculty member will all grade the paper, and will motivate their opinion. If grades differ significantly (more than 0.5 point) then a meeting of the members will take place to discuss. If the tutors can not reach an agreement the Board of Examiners is called upon to seek a solution.
- Note that in case a tutor can not fulfill his/her tasks a replacement tutor must be found among the core academic faculty members. This replacement tutor is found in agreement with the involved student and other faculty members.
Period: Trimester 2, 4 January-6 May 2016
ECTS credits: 5