Radiology Research Checklist

The following is a guide for mentees who wish to undertake a retrospective research project, which is suggested as a less complicated way to begin an academic career.

Of course, many of the components in this guide are also applicable to research projects in general.

1) Find a topic of interest: Conduct a preliminary literature search

1) Find a topic of interest: Conduct a preliminary literature search

  • Mentees should be encouraged to:
    • Look carefully at any issue that bothers, confuses, irritates or intrigues them. As Isaac Asimov has famously written, "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but rather, 'hmm... that's funny'..."
    • Keep an open and questioning mind as ideas often arise at unexpected times such as during discussions with clinical or radiological colleagues, during teaching sessions, during conference presentations, or even while reading articles.
  • A next step is to carry out a preliminary literature research.
  • Following this literature research and incorporating any initial change in research idea, the mentee is encouraged to bring the idea(s) to a mentor at an early stage. The mentor may be one of the "official" department mentor, a section head, or any one of greater knowledge of this proposed topic.
    • This discussion should be focused on the general concept of the research idea's appropriateness to radiology and the mentee. If necessary, the mentee could even be referred to another senior staff member who has experience related to the topic.
    • If the idea seems reasonable, the discussion should also help to clarify, sharpen and focus the idea. The first discussion may even result in suggestions about potential collaborators or project team members.

2) Background: Perform an in depth literature search

2) Background: Perform an in depth literature search

  • This is extremely important for the mentee to do. A high quality literature search:
    • Provides confirmation that a project has legitimate value.
    • May alter and more precisely focus the project.
    • Should make all project collaborators more knowledgeable about the topic, which is necessary for the formulation of the question(s) to be answered.
    • Will provide a firm foundation for the creation of a thorough database.
  • It is strongly suggested that you take advantage of the resources at the Biomedical library (previously known as the Diehl Library) on the 2 floor of PWB. There are 2 excellent contacts here: Sarah Brown, sjbrown@umn.edu or 612-625-3159, and Caitlin Bakker, cjbakker@umn.edu or 612-301-1353. They can provide an very detailed search of the literature and much more:
    • Support for research data management
    • Assistance in identifying existing sources of data and summary statistics
    • Identifying journals in which to publish o Educate author(s) on the standards and best practices when reporting research results in manuscripts
    • Data visualization for presentations
    • Help track the impact of research
    • Identify potential funding opportunities
    • Assess journals and conferences to avoid predatory publishers

3) Design study: Create and organize a research project team

3) Design study: Create and organize a research project team

  • Outline the endpoints and goals of the study.
  • Outline the methods of the study.
  • Outline the data that will be accumulated.
  • Power analysis help
    • Rachel Matthes, Biostatistical Program Specialist: matthes@umn.edu or 612-626-6032
    • She will need to know, briefly, about their project, that they want to use the Radiology contract, and what deadlines they may have.
  • Decide where and in what form the results will be presented.
  • Define who will be needed on the team and why.
  • Organize the first team meeting.
  • Outline expectations and deadlines.
  • Define each team member’s role.
  • Original concept
    • Data collection
    • Data management
    • Guarantor of data
    • Statistical analysis
    • First draft manuscript writing
    • Editorial review
  • Begin the dialogue about authorship requirements and order (see Jacobson JA et al, and Dighe MK et al).
    • Decide the authorship order early in the process since it is difficult to address after the fact.

4) IRB: Develop a study protocol for submission

4) IRB: Develop a study protocol for submission

  • Contact Andrew Oliver at oliv0190@umn.edu.
  • Determine what type of Institutional Review Board (IRB) proposal and which forms are required.
    • Retrospective chart review
    • Prospective protocol
  • Define the plan by which all study data and confidential patient information is protected.

5) Data collection and analysis

5) Data collection and analysis

  • Create a comprehensive spreadsheet.
  • Use appropriate techniques to anonymize patient data.
  • Biostatistical Support and Analysis
    • Rachel Matthes, Biostatistical Program Specialist: matthes@umn.edu or 612-626-6032
    • She will need to know, briefly, about your project, that you want to use the Radiology contract, and what deadlines you may have.

6) Draft manuscript

6) Draft manuscript

  • For specific ideas about how and when each section of a manuscript should be created, please refer to the articles by Jacobson JA et al, and Kliewer MA, both of which have good insights and a user-friendly, step-by-step approach.
  • Consider using a reporting guideline, such as those available through the EQUATOR Network, to ensure that your manuscript includes all necessary details for the study type

7) Publication strategy

7) Publication strategy

  • Should it start with a presentation or poster at a regional or national meeting?
    • A presentation gives the mentee exposure and experience with public speaking and answering questions.
    • Audience feedback may help to clarify the overall value of the project and can provide valuable tips on improvements that can be made before manuscript submission for publication.
  • To which journal should the manuscript be sent?
    • What type of articles does the journal prefer?
    • What are the specific requirements for publication in the journal?
    • What is the journal’s impact factor?
    • Is the article appropriate for and more likely to be accepted by a journal with a lower impact factor?

8) Finalize draft and submit for publication

8) Finalize draft and submit for publication

  • If needed, solicit feedback from other senior people.
  • Critiques should be looked upon as a chance to rethink, rewrite and improve the manuscript, which will consume time. The reasonable deadlines should be established.

Contact

Andrew J. Oliver, BA, CCRP
Research Program Manager
Office: Mayo B255
612-624-4865
oliv0190@umn.edu

References

References

The guide borrows liberally from the following article in AJR:

Jacobson JA, Klein K, and Yablon CM. Retrospective Research in Radiology From Concept to Publication: A Stepwise Guide for Trainees and Mentors. AJR2014; 203:W301–306.

Full list of references:
  1. Jacobson JA, Klein K, and Yablon CM. Retrospective Research in Radiology From Concept to Publication: A Stepwise Guide for Trainees and Mentors. AJR 2014; 203:W301–306.
  2. Dighe MK, Berquist TH. Education in Authorship Ethics: Should It Be Compulsory? AJR 2011; 196: 235-236. DOI:10.2214/AJR.10.6121.
  3. Kliewer MA. Writing It Up: A Step-by-Step Guide to Publication for Beginning Investigators. AJR 2005; 185:591–596.