by Vivian Ifeoma OGBONNA
Research is defined as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge“. (1) This broad definition may include biomedical research, epidemiological studies, health services research, and public health research. (1) My research experience started about 12 years ago, in the final year at medical school. However, it was merely for the purpose of fulfilling the requirement for graduation. It was only until four years ago when I commenced residency training in community medicine/public health that my interest in research was aroused. I then engaged in online training courses on research skill development and writing which gave me a good overview and knowledge base on research and its’ communication.
However, it was only two years ago when my colleague in medical school who was in a university in North Carolina as at then drew my attention to our research work in the university. We had to write it up, and it was published as a conference paper in a conference in Benin Republic. Little did I know that it would be of great use and an added advantage to me while applying to study for a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH). Soon after I completed my MPH postgraduate degree at the University of Port Harcourt, I was able to present the findings from the masters’ dissertation as a conference paper and subsequently as a manuscript for publication in a reputable journal with the help of 2 Senior lecturers from my department.
Residency training could not have giving me the experience, as my trainers were willing but too busy to help. However, being a member of the Association of Residents Doctors both locally and nationally opened a huge window of opportunity for research collaboration for me as I joined the Research Collaboration Network (RCN) which is a creative initiative of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). (2) This involvement sparked up my enthusiasms for research writing, which has become a delight and has made research publication much easier. Before this, my research experience could best be described as an “orphan or a lone ranger.”
“…being a member of the Association of Resident Doctors both locally and nationally opened a huge window of opportunity for research collaboration…”
Key learning points
At every opportunity, there is a need to improve one’s knowledge base as it is commonly said: “knowledge is power”.
Waiting for lecturer/student or mentor/mentee to spur you to the ‘next level’ may be at a snail speed as lectures and mentors may be willing but very busy.
Research collaboration networks are of great help.
- IOM (Institute of Medicine). Beyond the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Enhancing Privacy, Improving Health Through Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2009. 19–21 p.
- Adebayo O, Oluwaseyi O, Olaopa O, Kpuduwei S, Oluwafemi E, Omotayo FF, Aigbomian E, Ibiyo M, Buowari DY, Wasinda UF, Ibrahim YA. Trainees collaboratively investigating early career doctors’ themes: a NARD initiative in Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Medicine. 2019;28(1):93-7.
Dr Vivian Ifeoma OGBONNA is a Senior Registrar(Community Medicine) in University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port- Harcourt, Nigeria. She is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network(RCN).