Scholarly Project Timeline
What constitutes a Successful Scholarly Research Project?
- A pretty good idea. Specifically, an idea that involves a testable hypothesis around a topic of interest to doctors and their patients.
- An interested student. Specifically, a highly motivated student who is interested in the topic at hand.
- An interested mentor. The best projects for students are those that are already in existence in the mentor’s research portfolio, and for which a “carve-out” can be created for the individual student. This approach ensures that the mentor will be as interested in seeing the project completed as the student will.
- While students are encouraged to seek opportunities from their mentors to write review articles related to their scholarly activity, review articles or case reports on their own do not constitute an acceptable Scholarly Project.
Criteria for the Evaluation of Scholarly Research Project Proposals
Significance. The student should make clear to the reader the rationale for the planned project. If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced or the next follow-on project be defined or facilitated?
Approach. The conceptual, clinical, or social framework, design, data gathering or product production methods, and analytical or interpretive methods should be described in enough detail to give the reader confidence that the student understands what he or she will be doing, how he or she will interpret the outcomes or results, and that the project is doable and will result in a usable or interpretable outcome.
Independence. While it would be unreasonable (and oxymoronic) to expect a mentored project to be performed entirely independently, and most projects proposed will derive from and lead to other projects of the mentor or mentor’s team, it should be clear to and attested by the mentor that the student wrote the abstract with only the critique and guidance of the mentor, understands the design of the project, will execute the project him- or herself under the guidance of the mentor.
Originality. It should be clear from the abstract what it is that is “original” about this project. This could be, for example, the experiments, studies, or tangible products themselves or the synthesis, interpretation, and analysis of previously published information.
Mentor.Formal approval of the project proposal by the mentor is a requirement. Such approval is considered documentation that the mentor will be responsible in an active and on-going way for the performance of and longitudinal involvement in the project by the student. Furthermore, for studies that involve human or animal subjects, the mentor approval assures that IRB or IACUC approval will be obtained before the student performs any of the proposed studies.
Context and Environment.The student must cite specific literature references demonstrating conversance with the relevant literature in the area of the project. By signing-off on the project proposal, the mentor attests that his or her area of expertise and experience and the venue proposed for performance of the project are appropriate to its aims.