How To Start a New Project for Clinicians

Step By Step

Step 1: Ask a Question

All research beings with a question.  Whether you already have a question in mind or just an area of interest, formulating a researchable question will make meeting your goals exponentially easier.  

Questions can arise from reading published literature, studying textbooks, or in the course of patient care. Refining your research question is a process that may take time and thought.  A good research question should satisfy the FINER criteria:

  • Feasible
  • Interesting
  • Novel
  • Ethical
  • Relevant

Step 2: Connect with Mentors and Create a Team

Discuss your project ideas with college members and faculty. Create a team of residents and college faculty mentors. This creates collaboration and accountability. If similar projects are ongoing, collaboration can help accomplish multiple goals. All projects should have a faculty primary investigator. Discuss your question, refine it, and identify ways to answer it.

Have a team meeting to further refine your project with research faculty: Errick Christian, Lum Rizvanolli, Dr. Steven Aks, Dr. Mark Mycyk, or Dr. Neeraj Chhabra. Join us at our weekly research meetings:

Dr. Chhabra, Errick, and Lum meet to discuss projects every week, usually on Wednesdays at 2pm. Please contact us to be added to the meeting agenda.

Step 3: Make Yourself the Expert

Review the How to podcast and complete a detailed literature search. Save yourself time later and share your work with your team by starting an annotated bibliography

Create a Google Drive for all research resources for your project, including a spreadsheet that summarizes relevant literature and findings.  Share this drive with all members of your project team and members of the Cook County EM Research team.

Step 4: Begin with the End in Mind

Pick 1-2 scientific meetings and 2-3 target journals. Go to each journal’s online author instruction guidelines. Review and follow their specific requirements for your project’s research methodology (Survey, Observational, Chart Review, RCT’s, etc) and submission requirements.

Step 5: Start Writing Your Manuscript Now

Read, then fill in this template: A Fool Proof Guide to Developing a Research Project and Manuscript Writing by Ed Panachek. Begin by including your key references from your literature search in your manuscript Introduction and Discussion sections. Discuss and refine your methodology with your team.  Your Introduction and Methods sections should be finalized before a patient is even recruited.  Share this document with your team using your project’s Google Drive.

Step 6: Obtain IRB Approval then Start with a Pilot

Contact Betty Donoval at the IRB at 312-864-4821 to schedule and complete your IRB training. Complete your online IRB forms with your team and research mentors. Fail forward fast by completing 2-3 small pilots as needed to refine your data collection process. Then get started!

IRB manager –