How to do good quality research?
Medical training equips one to provide care, but not to do research. Clinical research – research with patients – is not easy. Researchers who fail to appreciate the principles of bias, confounding, reverse causality and random error produce unreliable results. Unreliable research cannot be used to improve health care and so is wasteful and unethical.
This is the first in a series of five articles on how to do good quality clinical research. This series aims to: promote good research that gives reliable answers to clinical questions; help people who are new to research to get started (at any stage of their career); and, provide teaching materials for experienced researchers. We hope that this series will identify the pitfalls in the design, conduct and analysis of bedside clinical research that can so easily diminish the quality of your work.