BACKGROUND: In a literature-based discussion of research on the information behaviors of life and health scientists and health care practitioners, the problem of characterizing this complex literature is discussed. The issue of terminology for this interdisciplinary area is raised. The paucity of models for information seeking behavior that have been tested in a health care population is discussed, as are the frequently used methods of investigation and data collection methods. METHODS: By analyzing a large number of information behavior research studies, the questions of who does the research and where the research is published are answered. The characteristics of this research are discussed. Studies are cited that investigate the information behavior of physicians, multidisplinary groups of health professionals, medical students and faculty, nurses and other allied health personnel, life scientists, and basic science researchers. Two short case studies--on the diffusion of medical knowledge and on drug information and physician behavior--are used as examples of information behavior research. CONCLUSIONS: The importance of studying the information behavior of health and life scientists and health care providers is underscored by a discussion of the implications for further study.
In this paper, I have tried to develop a critique of committee procedures and conflict of interest within research advisory committees and ethical review committees (ERCs). There are specific features of conflict of interest in medical research. Scientists, communities and the subjects of research all have legitimate stakeholdings. The interests of medical scientists are particularly complex, since they are justified by the moral and physical welfare of their research subjects, while the reputations and incomes of scientists depend on the success of their science. Tensions of this kind must at times produce conflict of interest. It is important to recognise that conflicts of interest may unwittingly lead to manipulation of research subjects and their lay representatives on research committees. It is equally important to recognise distinctions between the legal and moral aspects of conflict of interest. Some practical suggestions are made which may go some way towards resolving these difficulties. They indicate what might be needed to ensure the validity of ethical discourse, and to reduce the risks associated with conflict of interest.
AIMS--To examine trends in necropsy based research output for a period of 27 years during which there has been a progressive decline in clinical necropsy rates. METHODS--The numbers of necropsy based research papers published between 1966 and 1993 were determined using the CD-Plus Medline computed literature database. RESULTS--The number of necropsy based research papers containing necropsy or a synonym in the title increased by 220% between 1966 and 1993. When papers including necropsy or a synonym in the abstract, but not in the title, were included, the proportion of all indexed papers increased from 0.35% in 1975, when abstracts were first included, to 0.53% in 1993. Analysis of the subject material indicated that necropsy based research has constantly reflected trends and advances in clinical medicine. Neuroscience related research represented the largest subject category which may reflect the difficulties in obtaining human tissue from sources other than necropsy. CONCLUSIONS--The modern necropsy continues to provide valuable information for all clinical and laboratory based disciplines. The decline in clinical necropsy rates would not yet appear to have undermined the contribution of the necropsy to research.
OBJECTIVE: The authors hypothesized that less research performed in the United States was reported in the five major general surgical journals in 1993 than in 1983. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Academic surgeons believe they have less time and fewer funds for research than previously. METHODS: Five journals were analyzed for the number of pages and articles devoted to basic and clinical research in 1983 and 1993 and for the country in which the research was performed. RESULTS: The number of U.S. research pages and articles decreased over the past decade, and the number of non-U.S. pages and articles increased. CONCLUSIONS: The reason(s) for the decrease in U.S. research reported in the general surgical journals should be studied, identified, and, if possible, rectified.
As a result of the Leadership Conference on Biomedical Research and the Environment, the Facilities Committee focused its work on the development of best environmental practices at biomedical research facilities at the university and independent research facility level as well as consideration of potential involvement of for-profit companies and government agencies. The designation "facilities" includes all related buildings and grounds, "green auditing" of buildings and programs, purchasing of furnishings and sources, energy efficiency, and engineering services (lighting, heating, air conditioning), among other activities. The committee made a number of recommendations, including development of a national council for environmental stewardship in biomedical research, development of a system of green auditing of such research facilities, and creation of programs for sustainable building and use. In addition, the committee recommended extension of education and training programs for environmental stewardship, in cooperation with facilities managers, for all research administrators and researchers. These programs would focus especially on graduate fellows and other students, as well as on science labs at levels K--12.
OBJECTIVE: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was formally identified among injecting drug users (IDUs) in 1981, and research on preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among drug injectors began shortly thereafter. At the time this research was begun, there was a general assumption that drug user (who were called drug abusers at that time) were too self-destructive and their behavior too chaotic for them to change their behavior to avoid infection with HIV. This chapter reviews the history of research on implementation of programs for prevention of HIV infection among IDUs. METHODS: Reviews of both research and program implementation research were conducted. Consultative discussions of issues and findings were conducted with researcher in the United States and other countries. RESULTS: An extremely large amount of useful information has accumulated during the pat 15 years. We now know that the great majority of IDUs will change their injecting behavior in response to the threat of AIDS and that these behavior changes are effective in reducing HIV transmission among drug injectors. Additional insight is needed regarding the apparent insufficiency of some prevention programs to control HIV, the transmission dynamics of rapid HIV spread...
OBJECTIVE: After more than 10 years of experience conducting behavioral changes interventions and with accumulated research results, several emergent principle have been identified for the effective prevention of HIV-transmission among drug abusers. In August 1997, a symposium was held in Flagstaff, Arizona, to achieve tow major purposes: (1) to synthesize the finding from HIV prevention research conducted to date for interventions targeting drug abusers and (2) to extract a preliminary set of prevention principles that could be linked to effectiveness across at least two or more studies. This chapter summarizes the key findings of that symposium. METHODS: Major finding were abstracted from the conclusion sections of the presentations and from the chapters included in this special volume. Many consistencies regarding intervention approaches across studies were noted. These findings are discussed under the following headings: General Observations, Engagement, Multiple Interventions, Intervention Issues, Methodological Issues, and Translation from Research to Practice. Suggested areas for further research are also presented and discussed. RESULTS: Ten principles that have implications for HIV prevention interventions emerged from this preliminary review of the research. These principles engage drug users into the intervention; specify target behaviors and attitudes for intervention; suggest setting to optimize outreach: and recommend booster approaches to reinforce knowledge...
Researchers in primary care share the general ethical obligations of all researchers. However, these obligations may raise different issues in the unique context of primary care. Current professional ethical guidance for primary care research is complex and fragmentary. The newly introduced research governance framework does not specifically address primary care research, and recent changes in legal requirements have significant implications for research. In this paper, ethical issues arising from research in primary care are considered, current standards and resources are described, and strategies for supporting ethical practice are discussed. Four ethical issues are discussed: consent and competence; confidentiality; power relations; and procedural issues. In the final part of the paper, broad strategies to support ethical practice in primary care research are recommended. These include education and resources, greater clarity of relevant standards, financial support, a greater role for primary care networks, and greater public debate.
Much of the bioethical literature addresses the problems of tertiary medicine, with little attention to the daily concerns of general practitioners (GPs). The present review assesses the current state of research into the range and nature of ethical issues for GPs, looking specifically at the content of the research, the methods employed, and the philosophical framework of the research. A systematic search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Sociofile identified nine articles which form the basis for this review. The majority of the research reviewed here is quantitative in nature, using hypothetical cases with closed questions and categorical responses. No consistently significant variables were identified. Decisions appear to be inconsistent in terms of theoretical models and moral psychology. Ethical issues of concern to GPs differed from those commonly reported in the bioethical literature. There is a paucity of research into the ethical concerns of general practice. The existing body of research is quantitative in nature, leaving many unanswered questions concerning the reasons behind the decisions of GPs. There is a need for qualitative studies to further our understanding of this area.
Prevailing state and institutional ideologies regarding race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality help to shape, and are influenced by, research priorities. Research ethics committees perform a gatekeeper role in this process. In this commentary, we describe efforts to obtain approval from the ethics committee of a large medical institution for research into the treatment of homosexual persons by health professionals in the South African military during the apartheid era. The committee questioned the "scientific validity" of the study, viewing it as having a "political" rather than a "scientific" purpose. They objected to the framing of the research topic within a human rights discourse and appeared to be concerned that the research might lead to action against health professionals who committed human rights abuses against lesbians and gay men during apartheid. The process illustrates the ways in which heterosexism, and concerns to protect the practice of health professionals from scrutiny, may influence the decisions of ethics committees. Ethics that exclude research on lesbian and gay health cannot be in the public interest. Ethics committees must be challenged to examine the ways in which institutionalized ideologies influence their decision making.
We present a model to plan a rational strategy for cancer prevention that has two main functions--assessment and intervention. The assessment function includes three main components: to identify populations at high cancer risk, which may be due to their ethnic group, occupational and environmental exposures, family history, cigarette smoking, or other risk factors; to assess exposure to known carcinogens through the general and occupational environments, lifestyle factors, and the home as well as to document known carcinogens using human tissue banks and develop and validate questionnaires to target known risk factors for each of the most common cancers; and to conduct research studies of high-risk populations, including studies on mechanism and genetic testing. The intervention function includes three components: development of population-based intervention programs using the results from the research studies; evaluation of intervention programs; and modification of existing intervention programs and implementation of new ones. The above-proposed prevention strategy depends to a great extent on population-based cancer registries. Existing cancer registries around the United States should be strengthened and other dimensions should be added to their charge to augment their function in prevention research. To convert existing population-based cancer registries...
PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: Research is not new to family medicine, yet it is pursued less than in other clinical disciplines. We need to establish a critical mass of family medicine researchers. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: To establish a departmental research organization using a strategy implemented in 1995 by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. MAIN COMPONENTS OF PROGRAM: We set out to establish a critical mass of researchers. Applicants were required to complete credible and feasible 3- to 5-year research plans and to have formal support from their clinical chiefs. Once selected, researchers were supported for 40% of their time. Support was provided for 3 years and was renewable according to progress on their research plans. Researchers were expected to publish on average two papers yearly and be involved as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on at least one successful grant after the first 3 years. Since implementation in 1996, funded researchers have become principal investigators in 80% of the grants in which they are involved compared with 20% before the support program. Nine of 15 Medical Research Council grants held by family physicians in Canada have department members as principal investigators. Faculty-supported researchers contributed more than 200 peer-reviewed publications to the literature between 1996 and 2000. CONCLUSION: Four years of experience allows for early assessment of the first step taken to build a thriving family medicine research organization using limited departmental resources.
There are unacceptable delays in the implementation of many findings of research. This results in suboptimal care for patients. A number of approaches may be effective in speeding up implementation, including evidence based guidelines, the influence of opinion leaders, and computer based decision support systems. An integrated approach to speeding up this process by means of a number of mechanisms is likely to be most effective. The results of systematic reviews of the research literature should be incorporated into programmes of continuing medical education and clinical audit. Professional associations have an important role to play in ensuring that research based information is included in educational activities and clinical guidelines. Purchasers of health care could promote the uptake of research findings during contract negotiations. Improved methods of informing health care users and the public about evidence of effectiveness could also have an impact. Policy makers should take more account of the results of research when formulating recommendations. Methods of improving the implementation of research findings require further investigation and greater resources devoted to them.
INTRODUCTION: Ensuring adequate representation of all demographic groups in medical research is necessary in order to ensure that the benefits associated with participation are equitably shared. Mental health research is unique in that the stigma associated with mental illness, such as schizophrenia, further hinders participation. Using focus groups, we set out to explore the attitudes and views of African Americans with regard to schizophrenia and medical research. METHODS: Four focus group discussions were conducted, with 23 participants divided into two groups of working and retired adults, and two groups of full- and part-time students selected from inner-city residents of Birmingham, AL, and surrounding counties. Data obtained were analyzed using the content analysis method. RESULTS: Diverse views were expressed about the cause of mental illness, and much of this was influenced by cultural beliefs. There was considerable misunderstanding of schizophrenia, and the majority of participants described the disease in terms of positive symptoms only. Whereas for older participants the Tuskegee syphilis study experience was an important factor in their reluctance to participate in medical research, younger participants expressed no knowledge of the study. Among younger participants an assumed level of social distrust was evident...
Cancer survivorship research includes the study of physical, psychosocial, and economic consequences of cancer diagnosis and treatment among pediatric and adult cancer survivors. Historically, the majority of cancer survivorship studies were from the United States, but survivorship issues are increasingly being addressed in other developed countries. Cross-cultural studies remain, however, scarce. The degree to which knowledge attained may or may not be transferred across cultures, countries, or regions is not known. Some important challenges for comparative research are therefore discussed in a cross-cultural perspective. Several substantive and methodological challenges that complicate the execution of cross-cultural cancer survivorship research are presented with examples and discussed to facilitate comparative research efforts in the establishment of new survivorship cohorts and in the planning and implementation of survivorship studies. Comparative research is one key to understanding the nature of cancer survivorship, distinguishing modifiable from nonmodifiable factors at individual, hospital, societal, and system levels and may thus guide appropriate interventions. Lastly, suggested future courses of action within the field of comparative cancer survivorship research are provided.
Qualitative and quantitative methods are being developed to measure the impacts of research on society, but they suffer from serious drawbacks associated with linking a piece of research to its subsequent impacts. We have developed a method to derive impact scores for individual research publications according to their contribution to answering questions of quantified importance to end users of research. To demonstrate the approach, here we evaluate the impacts of research into means of conserving wild bee populations in the UK. For published papers, there is a weak positive correlation between our impact score and the impact factor of the journal. The process identifies publications that provide high quality evidence relating to issues of strong concern. It can also be used to set future research agendas.
Primate behavioural and cognitive research is increasingly conducted on direct public view in zoo settings. The potential of such facilities for public engagement with science is often heralded, but evidence of tangible, positive effects on public understanding is rare. Here, the effect of a new zoo-based primate research centre on visitor behaviour, learning and attitudes was assessed using a quasi-experimental design. Zoo visitors approached the primate research centre more often when a scientist was present and working with the primates, and reported greater awareness of primates (including conservation) compared to when the scientist was not present. Visitors also reported greater perceived learning when the scientist was present. Installation of information signage had no main effect on visitor attitudes or learning. Visitors who interacted with the signage, however, demonstrated increased knowledge and understanding when asked about the specific information present on the signs (which was related to the ongoing facial expression research at the research centre). The findings show that primate behaviour research centres on public view can have a demonstrable and beneficial effect on public understanding of science.
A Kuhnian approach to research assessment requires us to consider that the important scientific breakthroughs that drive scientific progress are infrequent and that the progress of science does not depend on normal research. Consequently, indicators of research performance based on the total number of papers do not accurately measure scientific progress. Similarly, those universities with the best reputations in terms of scientific progress differ widely from other universities in terms of the scale of investments made in research and in the higher concentrations of outstanding scientists present, but less so in terms of the total number of papers or citations. This study argues that indicators for the 1% high-citation tail of the citation distribution reveal the contribution of universities to the progress of science and provide quantifiable justification for the large investments in research made by elite research universities. In this tail, which follows a power low, the number of the less frequent and highly cited important breakthroughs can be predicted from the frequencies of papers in the upper part of the tail. This study quantifies the false impression of excellence produced by multinational papers, and by other types of papers that do not contribute to the progress of science. Many of these papers are concentrated in and dominate lists of highly cited papers...
The increasing burden of chronic diseases presents not only challenges to the knowledge and expertise of the professional medical community, but also highlights the need to improve the quality and relevance of clinical research in this domain. Many patients now turn to complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) to treat their chronic illnesses; however, there is very little evidence to guide their decision-making in usual care. The following research recommendations were derived from a CIM Stakeholder Symposium on Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER): (1) CER studies should be made a priority in this field; (2) stakeholders should be engaged at every stage of the research; (3) CER study designs should highlight effectiveness over efficacy; (4) research questions should be well defined to enable the selection of an appropriate CER study design; (5) the CIM community should cultivate widely shared understandings, discourse, tools, and technologies to support the use and validity of CER methods; (6) Effectiveness Guidance Documents on methodological standards should be developed to shape future CER studies. CER is an emerging field and its development and impact must be reflected in future research strategies within CIM. This stakeholder symposium was a first step in providing systematic guidance for future CER in this field.
Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer mortality in both developed and developing countries. Transforming basic research results into clinical practice is one of the key tasks of translational research, which will greatly improve the diagnosis and treatments of colorectal cancer. In this paper, a translational research platform for colorectal cancer, named crcTRP, is introduced. crcTRP serves the colorectal cancer translational research by providing various types of biomedical information related with colorectal cancer to the community. The information, including clinical data, epidemiology data, individual omics data, and public omics data, was collected through a multisource biomedical information collection solution and then integrated in a clinic-omics database, which was constructed with EAV-ER model for flexibility and efficiency. A preliminary exploration of conducting translational research on crcTRP was implemented and worked out a set of clinic-genomic relations, linking clinical data with genomic data. These relations have also been applied to crcTRP to make it more conductive for cancer translational research.