What are the Skills that you need to start your Professional Career as a Health Researcher?
Updated: Apr 18, 2022
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What are the research skills that will shape you to be a good health researcher and to impact people's life positively? In general, the concept of research is a systematic inquiry that indicates the organized one by one scientific steps carried out by the researcher. (1) It aims at solving a specific problem which belongs to an ideological frame that enables accessing the research methods as well as obtaining the research results. (1) Research skills refer to the ability to search for, locate, extract, organize, evaluate, and use or present information that is relevant to a particular topic. (2)
In addition, research skills will give you the required capability for conducting a research project. A recent study shows that if you want to be a successful researcher, you need to follow some tips and skills to continue contributing to the scientific community. (3-4) In this article, we will discuss certain skills you must own to support you to start your research journey.
Health Research, and Why it is Important
In the beginning, you must be familiar with the term "health research," in other words, "medical research" or "clinical research," all refer to research that is carried out to learn more about human health. (5) In addition, health research is the type of research that is conducted to improve illness prevention and management. Health studies represent a crucial solution for enhancing people's care and treatment worldwide. (5) Having said that, the importance of health research to communities cannot be underestimated. Health research provides essential information on illness trends and risk factors, treatment outcomes, public health interventions, abilities, care patterns, and healthcare costs and utilization. (6)
Skills that qualify you to be a Distinguished Health Researcher
To become a prominent health researcher, put in your mind that conducting a research is not an easy mission at all, but it is totally worth devoting your time to. Through the health research journey, you will add something to the health field by expanding your understanding of the best ways to prevent, diagnose, manage, and cure illnesses.
Therefore, you must read, learn, and adhere to / comply with the following tips and skills:
The first skill is empathy and curiosity besides clarifying your topic. Keep asking yourself, what is our purpose of doing this? What are the things that keep me motivated and passionate about this topic? What is the required information? all while keeping ethical, cultural, social, and team (ECST) aspects in mind. (4)
The second skill is to be meticulous and determined, which means understanding; what do you need to find and produce? what do you require? what is the appropriate methodology to generate the needed information /data? (4)
The third skill is to be able to discern in a way that allows you to assess and reflect, What can we put our trust in? You will assess the reliability of sources, facts, and ideas, as well as making your own research procedures evident. (4)
The fourth skill is harmonizing and defining how you can organize and manage your data/ information. Ask yourself, how can you structure your data/information? You will organize your data and information to highlight patterns and themes, along with managing your team and the other procedures of carrying out the research. (4)
Being creative is the fifth skill and it involves possessing the ability to critically analyze data and information in addition to synthesizing new knowledge to develop cohesive individual/team understandings. (4)
The sixth skill is to be a constructive critic. How do we relate with others? This is achieved through communicating with them and applying your knowledge into practice through discussing, listening, writing, performing and responding to feedback. In addition to considering presenting research procedures and information, keeping safe the audience needs, besides ethical, cultural, social, and team issues. (4)
Tips and Guidelines for Health Researchers
1. Researcher must know more about research ethics, which are defined as the methods, procedures, or perspectives for deciding on/ making decisions about how to act and analyze complex problems and issues. (3&7) You are accountable as a researcher for ethical conduct. Therefore, you must adhere to the ethical standards stated in several codes, which include honesty, objectivity, integrity, carefulness, openness, and respect for intellectual property. In addition to confidentiality, responsible publication, responsible mentoring, respect for colleagues, social responsibility, non-discrimination, competence, legality, animal care, and human subjects’ protection. (7) In addition to written informed consent, avoiding misleading research practices (8), and offering participants the option to withdraw from the study (9).
2. Researchers need to have persistence, dedication, and discipline in tasks that will keep them progressing in their research project in spite of difficulty or opposition.
3. The researcher must be ambitious regarding his/her research topic. In addition, it is necessary for the researcher to apply leadership skills in his/her life as a researcher.
4. The researcher is required to have resilience and take responsibility for his/her actions.
5. To be fully familiar with the research methodology.
6. Critical and positive position in face of adversity and failure.
7. Setting priorities and keeping track of time.
8. Having a good mentor will add value to your work.
9. Establishment of a collaborative network and teamwork.
10. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
11. Humility, charity, and gratitude (3).
Finally, keep in mind how critical it is for you to learn more about these skills, tips, and guidelines in order to apply them in your daily life as a researcher, which will keep you proceeding in your mission.
Expand your knowledge in research. Enjoy your work because it is the road that will take you to your destination.
1. Allison B, Hilton A, O'Sullivan T, Owen A, Rothwell A. Research skills for students. Routledge; 2016 Jan 20.
3. Gisbert JP, Chaparro M. Tips and guidelines for being a successful researcher. Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Nov;43(9):540-550. English, Spanish. doi: 10.1016/j.gastrohep.2020.03.010. Epub 2020 Apr 21. PMID: 32331924.
4. International Journal for Researcher Development. Vol. 7 No. 1, 2016.pp. 63-83.Emerald Group Publishing Limited. 2048-8696. DOI 10.1108/IJRD-07-2015-0018
6. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Health Research and the Privacy of Health Information: The HIPAA Privacy Rule; Nass SJ, Levit LA, Gostin LO, editors. Beyond the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Enhancing Privacy, Improving Health Through Research. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009. 3, The Value, Importance, and Oversight of Health Research. Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9571/
7. Resnik DB. What is ethics in research & why is it important. Washington, DC. 2011 May 1
8. Hanna M. How to write better medical papers. Springer; 2019 Mar 20