Guide to Research
By Mohamed ElZoghby, 3rd year, clinical pharmacy
A college research is the process of seeking and gathering information on a certain topic by the college student who chose it or had it assigned to them by their college instructor.
The most common research methods, especially for pharmacy students, are: literature searches and talking to people.
A literature search involves reviewing all readily available materials, including pharmaceutical company information, pharmaceutical publications, newspapers, magazines, annual reports, company literature, on-line data bases, and any other published materials.
Talking with professors is a good way to get information during the initial stages of a research project. It can be used to gather information that is not yet known to the student, or to have the parameters according to which students can search for info to begin with.
There are about 8 stages for making a research;
1- Getting started
2- Setting the parameters for information research
3- Outlining and drafting the paper
4- Writing the final version
5- Proofreading and revision
6- Resource documenting
1- Getting started:
A student must make sure that he can manage the topic at hand; he should narrow down his ideas about the topic to a single one on which he can focus, search and provide arguments for.
2- Setting the parameters for information research:
You have narrowed down your topic, begun your outline, and now you will search various sources for information. Use all the library resources that are available; Internet, magazine file, books, newspaper articles, encyclopaedias and data bases. As you begin your research, do not expect to be completely settled on your topic. You may come across something in your research that changes your focus or narrows down your topic. Make sure you take notes on any useful information you may encounter, but remember you will sort through this collection of data. You will not use every piece of information you collect!
3- Outlining and drafting the paper:
The better organized a paper is, the more understandable it will be. One should at first arrange the acquired information before integrating them into a draft (Outlining).
The purpose of an outline is:
• To help the writer define the basic purpose and structure of the paper.
• To help the writer organize thoughts and lay the groundwork for the first draft.
After you have gathered together all your notes and material think about how you would like to organize your paper and what specific information do you want to include.
The first draft must include the following:
– Body (Supporting Paragraphs)
The introduction reveals what you are going to tell the reader. The conclusion indicates in summary form what you have told the reader. The supporting paragraphs tell all the rest.
4- Writing the final version:
Once you have completed your initial draft, or drafts, you are ready to prepare the final draft – the paper you will turn in. It should contain an introduction, a main body, a summary and a conclusion. As you move from introduction to main body to summary and conclusion, strive for unity and coherence.
5- Proofreading and revision:
The paper must now be revised for errors in order, information and down to spelling; as a pharmaceutical student great attention must be paid to those things as even the difference in one letter could alter the meaning entirely, e.g. : electrophilic addition on butene – electrophilic addition on butane.
6- Resource documenting:
The time to document your sources is during your research. It is most important that you provide this information; otherwise, you risk being accused of plagiarism, which means presenting someone else’s words or information as your own. All information gathered from sources must have an in-text citation; even if you paraphrase it (put it in your own words).
Delivery means how your paper is presented, its look and style. Appearance is important as it determines how a paper is initially evaluated by the instructor. A well presented paper may benefit from what it called the “angel effect,” meaning its appearance alone invites a more favourable response. Reports need to have clear, bold headings, plenty of white space, separate pages for graphs or illustrations, and an overall professional appearance.