Basic introduction to research: how not to do research.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology 02/2008; 6(2):82-5.
Source: PubMed


In this didactic article, I review some prevalent "myths" about clinical research: anyone can do research; you can learn how to do research from a book or journal articles; all you need to do statistics is the right software (although Excel will also do); you can do good-quality research at your kitchen sink; and what is important is that you did your best. These myths appear to be particularly prevalent in the complementary and alternative medicine communities. They are based on a clear double standard: most clinicians would express shock and horror at the very thought that someone without appropriate clinical training and qualifications might treat a patient; meanwhile, many clinicians do research with no research qualifications whatsoever. But clinical research can guide clinical decisions that affect the health and well-being of millions of people: it is therefore arguable that poorly conducted research is potentially far more harmful than poor medical practice. As such, it is doubly important that clinical research is conducted by those with appropriate training, statistical help, and institutional support.

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