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FAQs & Resources

What makes a good research project?

What is research?

  • Gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge
  • Methodical study to test a hypothesis or answer a specific question
  • Must be systematic and follow a series of steps and a rigid standard protocol
  • Must be organized and undergo planning:
    • Perform literature reviews of past research
    • Evaluate questions needed to be answered

Seven Steps to finding a good research project

  1. What are your interests? Do you want to subspecialize, go into primary care or academic medicine? Do you want to make a change in your educational curriculum?
  2. How interesting is a project idea to you? Many research project ideas come from prospective mentors. If you are not enthusiastic enough about a project, it is unlikely that you will see it through to completion. This means both you and your mentor will have wasted time.
  3. Is the question important? If you cannot answer the “so what?” question, the project may not be worth pursuing.
  4. Will the project give you skills that you should or want to learn? There is no better way to learn something than by doing it.
  5. Will you gain expertise in an area of interest to you? This project may help you in future work.
  6. Will you be able to work with a mentor with whom you would like to build a relationship? A good mentor can help you in many ways…More on mentors/mentees in a later section.
  7. How feasible is the project? How much time & effort will the project take? Will the results be interesting enough to publish/present regardless of the outcome?

NOTE: You should discuss your project ideas with your YPC advisor and program director in addition to your mentor to help answer the feasibility question.

Past Resident Research Projects
  • Kevin Baran
    Should I Stay or Should I Go? Discharges Against Medical Advice at a Community Hospital
  • Rituparna Das
    West Nile Virus Disease in Connecticut, 2006 – A Review of New Haven Cases
  • Karl Dauphinais
    Establishing a Web-based Obesity Counseling CME/Accreditation Program for Clinicians Coupled with a Reimbursement Mechanism
  • Rina Garcia
    Race, Drugs and Heart Failure: Exploring Treatment Choices in the Age of Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Stephen Holt, Adam Smith
    The Yale Med-Law Project: Developing a Forum for Discussion Between the Medical and Legal Professions
  • Mark Simone
    Establishment of a Home Visit Program for Primary Care Internal Medicine Residents
  • Steve Taylor
    Incidence of Common Non-opportunistic Infections Requiring Hospitalization in HIV-Positive Patients in the Era of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy
  • Laura Triano
    Using Computer-based, Self-directed Modules and Collaboration with a certified Laboratory Technician to Teach First-Year Residents how to Interpret Peripheral Blood Smears and Evaluate Patients with Common Hematological Conditions
Past Resident Research Publications
  1. Clinical problem-solving. Sum of the parts. Prasad M, Buller GK, Mena C, Sofair AN N Engl J Med. 2006 Dec 7;355(23):2468-73.
  2. Financial barriers to health care and outcomes after acute myocardial infarction. Rahimi AR, Spertus JA, Reid KJ, Bernheim SM, Krumholz HM JAMA. 2007 Mar 14;297(10):1063-72.
  3. Cannabinoid hyperemesis relieved by compulsive bathing. Chang YH, Windish DM Mayo Clin Proc 2009;84(1):76-8.
  4. Communication discrepancies between physicians and hospitalized patients. Olson DP, Windish DM. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Aug 9;170(15):1302-7.
  5. Changes in Gleason scores for prostate cancer: what should we expect from a measurement? Ramos J, Uchio E, Aslan M, Concato J. J Investig Med. 2010 Apr;58(4):625-8.
  6. Health care utilization and unhealthy behaviors among victims of sexual assault in Connecticut: results from a population-based sample. Kapur NA, Windish DM. J Gen Intern Med. 2011 May;26(5):524-30.
  7. Optimal methods to screen men and women for intimate partner violence: results from an internal medicine residency continuity clinic. Kapur NA, Windish DM. J Interpers Violence. 2011 Aug;26(12):2335-52.
  8. Association of patient recognition of inpatient physicians with knowledge and satisfaction. Windish DM, Olson DP. J Healthc Qual. 2011 May-Jun;33(3):44-9.
  9. The relationship between clinical benefit and receipt of curative therapy for prostate cancer. Raldow AC, Presley CJ, Yu JB, Sharma R, Cramer LD, Soulos PR, Long JB, Makarov DV, Gross CP. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Feb 27;172(4):362-3.
What makes a good mentor/mentee?

Mentor has its origins in Greek Mythology. It was the name of the wise and trusted companion and friend of Ulysses. He was the guardian of Ulysses’ house during his 10 year absence at the Trojan wars, and he also served as teacher and advisor to Ulysses’ son Telemachus.

Roles of the Mentor

  • Coach and provide guidance
  • Skill development
  • Provide opportunities (presentations, publications, etc.)
  • Career counseling
  • Personal and moral support

Roles of the Mentee

  • Be proactive
    Schedule regular appointments and keep them.
  • Be respectful
    Be punctual for meetings. Give mentors adequate time to review your work.
  • Listen
    Demonstrate respect.
  • Ask questions
    Mentor will assume you understand otherwise.
  • Ask for feedback
    We all need to know how we are doing.
  • Be organized
    Prepare and prioritize for meetings. Be responsive and follow through.
  • Be appreciative
    Say “Thank you”. Give acknowledgement.
How do I find a research mentor?

Starting the Search

  • Academic advisor
  • Program director
  • Other faculty you trust or in an area of interest
  • Yale faculty webpages
  • Other residents
  • Research in Residency Guide

Key Faculty from the Yale Primary Care Residency Program and the Yale Section of General Internal Medicine

See the Yale Triple R (Research Resources Repository) to see possible research mentors and fields and department of interest.

What do I need to do to get started?

Research in Residency Overview

We encourage all residents to conduct hypothesis driven research during their residency years. This scholarship can derive from bench research, curriculum development in an educational setting, or through clinical research. Being able to generate and test hypotheses are critical to the role of a clinician.

Program Goals
The Residency Program aims to help all residents in starting and completing their research pursuits. As such we will provide:

  1. Elective time to complete research projects.
  2. Names and contact information of faculty willing to mentor residents on research projects.
  3. A formal method of requesting to work on research.
  4. Information on how and where to present your research in a local or national setting.

Resident Responsibilities

  1. Talk with your residency advisor and program director about your scholarly interests.
  2. Review the “Research in Residency Booklet” for tips about finding a project and mentor.
  3. Talk with prospective mentors about potential projects before identifying your project.
  4. Complete the Signature Form (available in Word Document or PDF) including your faculty research mentor’s signature and a Research Proposal (see Research Proposal Guidelines section below) and submit via email to Dr. Donna Windish. YPC Housestaff will also find the YPC Research Signature Form on the PC MedHub site.
  5. Obtain necessary Human Investigation Committee approval from their website.
  6. Submit an end of year progress report of your research to date. This should include a summary of any presentations done to date, anticipated presentations, and any pending or completed publications. Please review this with your research mentor before submitting. Please see Yearly Research Summary Guidelines. THIS IS DUE BY MAY 31st EACH YEAR!
  7. Present your work during Research in Residency and aim to present at local and regional society and professional meetings.
When Can I do Research in Residency?

You must have completed paperwork at least 2 months prior to participating in a research elective block. The chief residents will not be able to schedule research electives without this completed paperwork.

You may conduct research during your elective blocks up to 2 blocks per year.

You may also conduct research ½ day per week during your ambulatory block time. This cannot happen during subspecialty electives, however.

Once you have a mentor and project area identified you need to complete a research proposal.

Research Proposal Guidelines

In order to have research elective time, you must submit a research proposal. This proposal should be developed under the guidance of your faculty mentor.

The overall length of the proposal should not exceed 3 pages (1 inch margins, 12 point font) and must adhere to the following structure.

  1. Title of Proposal
    Please provide as descriptive of a title as possible for your proposed project.
  2. Specific Aims and Hypotheses
    List the aim(s) for your research project. Include a hypothesis for each aim that reflects your anticipated result.
  3. Background Information
    Briefly describe what has been done in this area and how your proposed research adds to this work. You may include any preliminary data.
  4. Research Methods
    Describe how you will conduct your study. Include at minimum: study design, setting, study subjects, main outcome measures, and analyses.
  5. Timeline of Research Project
    List what you plan to accomplish during your research time. You can put this in tabular form or in paragraph form.
  6. Literature Cited
    List only those references used in your research proposal.
  7. Completed Signature Form
    Please click here for a PDF or here for a Word Document of the Signature Form.

Please see the Sample Research Proposal (available here as a PDF or as a Word Document) as a guide. For YPC Research Guidelines (PDF).

Yearly Research Summary Guidelines

To help follow your progress and offer suggestions in your research, each year you must submit a Summary of Progress to date. This should be brief and take no more than 1-2 pages typed. The content of the summary should include:

  1. Resident name
  2. Research mentor’s name, title and area of medicine
  3. Restatement of your specific aim(s) and hypothesis(es)
  4. Review of what has been completed to date on the project
  5. Description of results to date
  6. Updated timeline as needed
  7. Conclusions
  8. Where research was presented and in what format (e.g., abstract at SGIM)
  9. Publications or papers in press (list journal and/or citation)
  10. Resident signature
  11. Mentor signature

The deadline for submitting the Yearly Research Summary is May 31 of each year. The summary must be signed by both the resident and research mentor. Please email your summary to Dr. Donna Windish no later than May 31st and hand deliver a printed copy with signatures by that date as well.

How do I present my work?

Many Local and National Meetings

Resident Scholarship Folder (N-drive) at Waterbury Hospital