FAQS ABOUT THESIS
1. HOW TO CHOOSE A THESIS TOPIC?
Even though there are various issues we should consider while considering a thesis topic, feasibility occupies the primary position in PG dissertation
- Time: Is it possible to complete the study in stipulated time
- Case load: Does your hospital has enough case load to reach your sample size
- Financial requirement: Does the study require any additional financial resources (For investigations or Rx) and who will pay for it
- The amount of co-operation required by colleagues: does the data collection involves heavy cooperation from your colleagues
- Ethical issues: will there be any problem in acquiring ethical approval
- Demands on the patient: Does the patient has to come for multiple follow-ups, undergo lengthy procedures, which may reduce participation rates.
2. WHY TO CALCULATE SAMPLE SIZE IN RESEARCH STUDY?
- More than required sample size: Will increase the burden and complexity of study
- Less than required sample size: will make the study findings Invalid
- Hence it is of vital importance to calculate the appropriate sample size, at the beginning of the study itself.
3. HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH BIAS IN A STUDY?
Bias are systematic errors introduced into the study, due to improper selection of study subjects, wrong data collection methods, biased estimation of outcome etc.
Bias cannot be adjusted for during the data analysis. They can only be avoided by meticulous design of the study and execution
4. WHAT IS THE RIGHT TIME TO CONTACT A STATISTICIAN?
Statistician shall be contacted
- At the time of protocol preparation: For sample size calculation, choosing right design
- At the time of analysis: For data analysis
5. HOW EPIDEMIOLOGIST IS DIFFERENT FROM STATISTICIAN?
An epidemiologist can help you wide range of scientific issues with thesis apart from statistics
- Writing proper title and study objectives
- Writing good methodology and thorough planning of your study
- Literature search and getting full-text articles
- Bibliography review and proofreading
- Guidance on funding, conference presentation, journal article
6. WHAT CAN I DO WHEN MY P- VALUE IS NOT SIGNIFICANT?
Insignificant p- value can be either due to
- Lack of any association between the variables or
- Lower than required sample size
Insignificant p- values does not make your work totally invalid. Your dissertation can not be rejected solely basing on insignificant p- values.
7. HOW TO DESIGN A GOOD QUESTIONNAIRE?
The asking right question is extremely important to get the right information. There are various kinds of questions (Closed-ended Vs open ended).
- If an exciting suitable standard questionnaire is available: it is always better to use
- If it is not there preparing a rough list of all the questions you would like to ask, then through multiple brainstorming sessions
- Distribute to at least 5 of your colleagues or seniors for their opinion on each question
8. HOW TO ENTER DATA PROPERLY INTO EXCEL SHEET?
For quantitative variables:
- Always enter the actual value (never categorize at the time of entry)
- Never enter number and text together (Ex: Enter age as 23..not like 23 years)
- Never combine 2 numbers (Ex: Enter systolic BP and diastolic BP in separate columns, rather than entering them as 120/80 in the same column)
For qualitative variables:
- Always code and enter as numbers (For example disease severity can be coded as 1= mild, 2= moderate, 3=severe and entered as 1, 2, 3.)
- Never combine two things in one column (If a patient has DM & HTN, enter them separate columns and label as yes/no, instead of simply entering DM+HTN)
9. WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?
Plagiarism can simply be understood as “Copying from other’s work, without giving appropriate credit (citations) to them
10. SIMPLE STEPS TO AVOID PLAGIARISM?
- Read and understand the information and write it in your own words ( paraphrasing)
- If you are forced to copy statements as it is put them in “quotes”.
11. HOW TO DO EFFICIENT SEARCH IN PUBMED?
Blind search in google or PubMed may not help you in getting right articles on the subject. There are two ways of efficiently searching PUBMED
Apart from choosing right keywords and MeSH terms, using appropriate Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), punctuation marks (*), Search field tags (Au, Ti, Ti/Ab, etc) and Filters (Type of article, period of publication, free full text etc) is extremely important in getting right articles.
12. HOW CAN I GET FULL-TEXT ARTICLES?
- PUBMED offers free text links to some of the articles. At the end of the abstract “Free full text” is written for these articles. A free full-text link to the corresponding journal’s website is provided at the top right-hand corner of the webpage.
- For many other articles, which are not offered free in PUBMED, the corresponding journal may offer limited period access on registration in that particular journal’s website
- Your institute may have the institutional subscription for same of the journals. Contacting your librarian may help in getting the full-text articles