The Challenges of Research Project: My Personal Experience

by Aisha Jamila Ahmad

Research was something that just the mention of it sent shivers down my spine. I feared having any contact with it and thought it was the exclusive reserve of very senior and accomplished academics and researchers. When I learnt that doing individual research project in our final year of medical school was a prerequisite to graduation, I was scared and sad. I could not imagine the amount of challenges to surmount to accomplish this task. I was hoping it would be changed to a group instead of individual research, which never happened. So, I had to settle and face my fate.

Research was something that just the mention of it sent shivers down my spine.


That was my first involvement in research of any kind. My supervisor played a pivotal role in making it not too difficult as I thought. He first mentored us on the processes of research and was involved in guiding us in a step by step approach until the completion of the research project. I was marked high in the project and was happy to have ‘escaped’ from doing research.
However, within the first two months of my commencement of residency training, I was fortunate to attend a seminar on research titled: “Putting pen to paper” organized by the Association of Resident Doctors, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria. This was an eye-opener for me as I learnt that I was not alone with this phobia, the importance of research and ways to overcome the fear. There were also some practical sessions. This seminar eradicated the phobia of research in me, and I started nursing the ambition to be engaged in research as a process of growing in my career rather than a compulsory requirement for study. Developing a critical and enquiring mind on day to day observations and penning such that through research now became my new found motivation.

This was an eye-opener for me as I learnt that I was not alone with this phobia, the importance of research and ways to overcome the fear.


I was fortunate that the newly acquired motivation was translated into action. My turning point was when I was involved in a multi-centre study on resident doctors in Northwestern Nigeria, where I was actively mentored by senior colleagues and was involved in the data collection and part of the analysis. Three papers were produced from this study and have been published in reputable journals. The experience boosted my confidence, and the publications made me want to be more involved in researches in the future. Hence, I gladly took up the opportunity to be part of the third cohort of the Research and Collaborative Network (RCN) of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
I look forward to having at least ten (10) publications before the completion of my residency training.

I look forward to having at least ten (10) publications before the completion of my residency training.


In summary, an early career doctor’s main challenge in engaging in research is the absence of appropriate mentorship in research. Many realize this ugly reality at the time of writing the compulsory dissertation when the motivation is less about solving a scientific problem but more about fulfilling a compulsory requirement.

Dr. Aisha Jamila Ahmad, is a Registrar at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria. She joined RCN, NARD as part of the third cohort.

Blog Editor: Oladimeji Adebayo

11 thoughts on “The Challenges of Research Project: My Personal Experience”

  1. Maasha Allah. Well done Aisha. Kudos NARD. We were not fortunate to get this opportunity. I see you going places dear

  2. Fantastic and really inspiring especially for up coming as young research students and fellows. I think Dr Aisha Ahmad captures the essence and rationale of fear and anxiety in confronting research. This brief experiential discourse will urge more people to curb their phobia in relationship to research. Research is the global ‘inthing’ on matters of progress, growth and material visibility. Delving into its ocean and bringing out results for development and policy derivations and issues cannot be underscored. Bravo to the physician and his exploits. Dr Ahmad should be supported and encouraged like her type all over the world particularly developing economies

  3. Well done. Nice and apt write up. Keep it up. Encouraging you to also present st conferences, it is really a nice experience.

  4. Wow,
    Well articulated,strategically engaging and inspiring.
    Congratulations on this milestone and thanks for sharing your good practice.
    Greater heights to you ma.

  5. Well done Dr Aisha for expressing the main challenge facing most of us.. this is an uplifting article…you’ve encouraged me to have a better and positive perspective on research…

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