by Damilola Ayowole
The human mind exists naturally in a state of constantly evolving curiosity about their inner self and their outer environment, and this attitude of curiosity births deep insights and inspirations that propels humans towards proffering solutions to the abounding and entangling challenges warring against our collective survival as humans.
The curiosity attribute of the ingenious minds remains perpetually insatiable, and for each step taken under the influence of the insatiable, transformational and liberating ideas become unleashed and made available for subsequent explorations.
My first step into the world of research was prompted by my innate attribute of amalgamated curiosity and problem-solving instinct. While it is true that I have done a few more studies after graduating from medical school in 2018, it’s quite amazing that the second research I did as a medical student remains my greatest research undertaking so far. I’m sure you are amazed and also curious about my stance in this regard!
I was in my final year when I saw an online publicity about a Scientific Conference that would have early career researchers present their research findings on the thematic area of “Adolescent and Youth Health“. The date of the Scientific Conference was less than two months from then, and I was in the Internal Medicine rotation. This busy department would hardly permit my involvement with any associate activity at that time.
But then, I suddenly got a strange courage that was deeply rooted in a book I read three years before then, with the title “Take the Risk” by Dr Ben Carson. So, I got encouraged to forge ahead with researching the subject of “Menstrual Hygiene Practices among Adolescents” despite the busy Internal Medicine posting rotation.
I approach Dr Jide Arije, a Public Health Physician and a Research Fellow at the Public Health Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (who subsequently became my research mentor), explaining to him my proposed research concept on the above-stated subject, he gave me the maximum possible support, and I began the research processes.
What then is unique about this research so much more that I am rating it my greatest research undertaking? It is because: It was the second research I would be doing as a medical student; the target population were female adolescents in six private and public schools across the three senatorial districts in Osun State; a mixed research method was used, as I had to engage two female colleagues as research assistants to help to moderate the Focused Group Discussions in the selected schools; It was the first time I would be a Principal Investigator in a personal-funded research; I had to risk failing my End of Posting exams by absconding from my Internal Medicine posting at the expense of travelling to schools in places as far as Iwo, Osogbo and Ilesha in Osun State Nigeria to collect quantitative and qualitative data for my research, all towards the end of participating in a Scientific Conference.
Following the execution of this research project, my passion for research increased exponentially, my knowledge base on research methodology and ethics widened, and my prospect for a worthy career in Public Health and Preventive Medicine became clearer, more determined and decided. That research built the foundation upon which my aspirations in the field of research has kept growing and blossoming. Joining up with the Research Collaboration Network of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors as a house officer earlier this year took me some more steps towards becoming a high profiled and proficient researcher I so desire. I count it a great and rare privilege.
“Following the execution of this research project, my passion for research increased exponentially, my knowledge base on research methodology and ethics widened, and my prospect for a worthy career in Public Health and Preventive Medicine became clearer, more determined and decided.”
I, therefore, believe that the insatiability attribute of every curious early career researchers (of which I am one) remains the fuel in the furnace of their progress as they gradually rise in the rank of proficiency. Hence, the ‘greatest research undertaking’ by every progressive researcher can be described as a dynamic state of achievement rather than static attainment!
Dr Damilola Ayowole is an active member of Research Collaboration Network of NARD