Interested in how to better understand scientific manuscripts or keep up-to-date with research in your field? Looking for tips and tools to approach your first research project?
This toolkit provides a variety of research-related resources for MRTs in all roles at all levels. Fostering the creation and consumption of research is a key activity in support of CAMRT’s commitment to support the advancement of our profession through evidence-based practice and research.
Have a suggestion for a link we could include? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*All images, links. and text from outside sources in this toolkit have been reproduced with permission.
Tips for Understanding Research
These steps and tips will be useful to anyone interested in understanding how to get the most out of scientific articles, and raise important points for MRTs to consider with their own writing practice.
- From LSE Impact blog: How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists
- From NCBI: Art of reading a journal article: Methodically and effectively
- From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Lessons on the craft of scholarly reading
Image from the LSE Impact blog
Critical appraisal is the systematic evaluation of clinical research papers in order to establish:
- Does this study address a clearly focused question?
- Did the study use valid methods to address this question?
- Are the valid results of this study important?
- Are these valid, important results applicable to my patient or population?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, you can save yourself the trouble of reading the rest of it.
From the University of Toronto webpage Critical Reading Towards Critical Writing:
Some Practical Tips
- Critical reading occurs after some preliminary processes of reading. Begin by skimming research materials, especially introductions and conclusions, in order to strategically choose where to focus your critical efforts.
- When highlighting a text or taking notes from it, teach yourself to highlight argument: those places in a text where an author explains her analytical moves, the concepts she uses, how she uses them, how she arrives at conclusions. Don’t let yourself foreground and isolate facts and examples, no matter how interesting they may be. First, look for the large patterns that give purpose, order, and meaning to those examples. The opening sentences of paragraphs can be important to this task.
- When you begin to think about how you might use a portion of a text in the argument you are forging in your own paper, try to remain aware of how this portion fits into the whole argument from which it is taken. Paying attention to context is a fundamental critical move.
- When you quote directly from a source, use the quotation critically. This means that you should not substitute the quotation for your own articulation of a point. Rather, introduce the quotation by laying out the judgments you are making about it, and the reasons why you are using it. Often a quotation is followed by some further analysis.
- Critical reading skills are also critical listening skills. In your lectures, listen not only for information but also for ways of thinking. Your instructor will often explicate and model ways of thinking appropriate to a discipline.
“It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.” (Sackett D, 1996)
The Joanna Briggs Institute Model for Evidence-based Healthcare (YouTube Video)
Use these databases to search for the evidence on your topic of interest
PubMed: From the National Library of Medicine PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database. MeSH descriptors (Medical Subject Headings) are used to index the literature.
From Georgia State University:
- How to use MeSH
- Advanced search techniques in PubMed
- CAMRT Announcement: JMIRS now indexed in PubMed!
CINAHL: Nurses, allied health professionals, researchers, nurse educators and students depend on the CINAHL Database to research their subject areas from this authoritative index of nursing and allied health journals. This resource also uses MeSH headings for searching.
Scopus: A database produced by Elsevier, Scopus is the world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, including scientific journals, books and conference proceedings, covering research topics across all scientific and technical disciplines, ranging from medicine and social sciences to arts and humanities
Tip! Ask a medical librarian for help, if you have access to this resource.
Primary sources are original, uninterpreted information. Unedited, firsthand access to words, images, or objects created by persons directly involved in an activity or event or speaking directly for a group. This is information before it has been analyzed, interpreted, commented upon, spun, or repackaged. Depending upon the context, these may include research reports, sales receipts, speeches, e-mails, original artwork, manuscripts, photos, diaries, personal letters, spoken stories/tales/interviews, diplomatic records, etc.
Secondary sources interpret, analyze, or summarize. Commentary upon, or analysis of, events, ideas, or primary sources. Because they are often written significantly after events by parties not directly involved but who have special expertise, they may provide historical context or critical perspectives. Examples are scholarly books, journals, magazines, criticism, interpretations, and so forth.
Tertiary sources compile, index, or organize sources. Sources which analyzed, compiled and digest secondary sources included mostly in abstracts, bibliographies, handbooks, encyclopedias, indexes, chronologies, etc.
“Grey” Literature (from the University of Toronto)
Grey Literature is any literature that has not been published through traditional means. It is often excluded from large databases and other mainstream sources. Grey literature can also mean literature that is hard to find or has inconsistent or missing bibliographic information.
Search grey literature to:
- avoid bias
- ensure that the review is as thorough as possible
- find sources for negative results or brand new evidence
- discover more references to published literature that your database search might have missed
CADTH’s “Grey Matters” guide also lists many resources.
How to Integrate Research into Practice
- From LSE Impact blog: How to keep up to date with the literature but avoid information overload
- From Editage: Tips for effective literature searching and keeping up with new publications
Tip! Want to keep up to date with latest JMIRS research, but no time? Sign up for our e-alert
As a benefit of CAMRT membership, you have access to the following journals: you must log-in through the Member’s Resource area of the CAMRT website to access full content under “My Publications”. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences (official journal of CAMRT)
Radiography (official journal of the Society and College of Radiographers, or ScOR, in the UK)
This is a small listing of journals related to medical imaging:
- American Journal of Roentgenology
- Applied Radiology
- BMC Medical Imaging
- International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal)
- Journal of Nuclear Medicine
- Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology
- Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences
- Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Tip! If you cannot access a journal’s content and do not have institutional access, try contacting the publisher or the author for a PDF. They are often happy to comply with a request for educational or research purposes.
Find out how to critically review a paper and why this can assist in both reading and preparing manuscripts.
- JMIRS article: Systematically Reviewing a Journal Manuscript: A Guideline for Health Reviewers
- From Publons: How to Write a Peer Review: 12 things you need to know
- From Elsevier: Ten tips for a truly terrible peer review. In this fun but informative article, discover some of the major mistakes early-career researchers can make when acting as a reviewer
Tip! The JMIRS is always recruiting interested volunteers to participate in the peer review process. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with an expression of interest and we will create your account! You get to read the latest papers in your area of expertise and practice your critical review skills. After each completed review, the peer reviewer receives educational credit letters that can be applied to your provincial CPD program. New to research? We are happy to start you off slowly and pair you with experienced reviewers for your first review.
Quotes from award-winning CAMRT reviewers
“Being a reviewer provides an opportunity to volunteer within my profession, while at the same time keeping informed of new initiatives and developments. I’ve learned a great deal through review activities. I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting involved, and encourage everyone to recognize that if you work in the MRT field you have a great deal of expertise to rely on. When reviewing, you just have to be bold, be brave, and be honest. Just tell it like it is! In a polite and respectful way, of course.”- Alison Giddings, JMIRS Reviewer of the Year, 2017
“Peer review is one of the most important components of the scientific process, providing a source of credibility and quality assurance to the collective body of knowledge. As a reviewer, I feel it is both a responsibility and an honour to be charged with critiquing the work of my colleagues. It has also had the effect of improving my own academic writing skills, leading me to critically assess my work from a reviewer’s point of view. It is a joy and a privilege for me to be able to contribute to the radiation sciences professions and the CAMRT by reviewing for JMIRS. I would encourage anyone with an interest to volunteer.” – Merrylee McGuffin, Top JMIRS Reviewer, 2017
This section contains tips on how to make the leap from paper to practice as well as links to the CAMRT Best Practice Guidelines
- From Health Research Policy and Systems: Frameworks for embedding a research culture in allied health practice: a rapid review
- From Health Services Research: Implementing research results in clinical practice- the experiences of healthcare professionals
- ELIIT PowerPoint: Embedding Research into Practice
- Best Practice Guidelines: The CAMRT BPGs are not intended to be a “how to” guide, but rather to provide MRTs with a tool and additional resources to help guide best practice and enhance decision-making. Guidelines are reviewed and updated on a sustainability schedule to provide current information and evidence as a resource to MRTs.
- TRIP database: a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care
Did you know that the JMIRS encourages publication of your quality assurance/quality improvement projects? Below is a description of the format, followed by some recently published examples.
Educational or Clinical Perspectives: Educational undergraduate or graduate level highlight innovative and useful approaches to medical radiation sciences education and evaluation of educational methods, either at the undergraduate or graduate level. Clinical Perspectives highlight key aspects of clinical practice and approaches to improve the same. This could include, without being limited to, process/protocol improvement, quality improvement, innovative initiative, practice change, emerging advancement and/or process change. These are similar in format to a research paper, but the reporting of results and analysis is less vigorous as these are a faster way of disseminating what is happening on the front lines of clinical practice, and thus do not always fall neatly into traditional research reporting.
Have you noticed a way that things could be done better? What are your next steps?
A gap is something that remains to be done or learned in an area of research; it’s a gap in the knowledge of the scientists in the field of research of your study. Every research project must, in some way, address a gap–that is, attempt to fill in some piece of information missing in the scientific literature. Otherwise, it is not novel research and is therefore not contributing to the overall goals of science.
Article from Alison Maxwell: Gap statements
Blog from the Research Whisperer: Mind the Gap – tips on framing the gap for grant applications
Considering a study or research project? Read about the different methodologies available to best pursue your idea, from surveys, literature reviews, and randomized control trials (RCTs). The following PowerPoints are from the ELIIT Research workshop held by CAMRT.
- PowerPoint: Introduction to quantitative methods
- Definition: Quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques.
- PowerPoint: Qualitative methodologies
- Definition: Qualitative data collection methods vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques. Some common methods include focus groups (group discussions), individual interviews, and participation/observations.
- Article: Five Percent Is Not Enough! Why We Need More Qualitative Research in the Medical Radiation Sciences
- PowerPoint: Qualitative Research: Mixed Methods
- PowerPoint: Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
- PowerPoint: Case Studies
- JMIRS article: •Writing an Effective Literature Review
- Intro to Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses (YouTube Video)
- Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses: A 5-Step Checkup (PLOS One Blog by Hilda Bastien)
- Systematic vs Literature reviews (see graphic below from Syracuse University libraries)
From beginner to advanced, we have tips on how to understand what statistics mean in a research paper and how to use them when conducting your own research
- JMIRS article: Inferential Statistics for Radiation Scientists: A Brief Guide to Better Statistical Interpretation
- PWPT: Descriptive Statistics – What are they?
- PWPT: Descriptive Statistics (advanced level)
- PDF: Statistics for Dummies
- Blog that tackles tricky statistical questions: Stats Make Me Cry
Tip! Check with your institution to see if you have access to a statistics advisor
Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent which should be documented in your paper. Patients have a right to privacy.
- From Memorial University: What Needs Ethics Approval?
- From Newfoundland and Labrador Health Research Ethics Authority: Does your study require ethics review?
- Guide to completing a human research ethics application (example from University of Waterloo)
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Responsible Conduct of Research
- Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans
- Health Care Ethics: An Introduction (CAMRT Full Length Course that provides the learner with an introduction to health care ethics and provide analytical tools for ethical decision making)
- JMIRS Article: Ethical Conduct of Research in the Clinical Environment
- JMIRS article: Conducting a Research Interview. Methods discussed in this reading include the face-to-face interview, group interviews such as focus groups, and remote interview conducted by telephone or using the computer.
- From the University of Toronto: The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It
- JMIRS article: Designing and Using Surveys as Research and Evaluation Tools
- From The American Statistician: Data Organization in Spreadsheets
- Integrating the patient perspective:
- INVOLVE (a website from the UK with a variety of useful resources in the field of public involvement in research)
- JMIRS article: The Radiation Therapist and the Patient: Epiphanies, Stories, and Social Media
Connect with research-oriented people and reach out to those with similar interests
- CAMRT Communities of Practice (COPs)- a virtual online community for members
- Check out this Youtube video explaining the CAMRT COP platform on Slack
- #Medradjclub – a Twitter journal club discussing medical radiation sciences (MRS) research on a monthly basis – join the conversation!
- JMIRS article: Twitter Journal Club in Medical Radiation Science
Tip! Contact the authors of papers in your field, they are often happy to collaborate or answer questions. You can also contact JMIRS (email@example.com) to ask about connecting with published authors or potential mentors.
Tip! This paper from PLOS One shows that if you attend regularly an annual conference/symposium in your field of research you are likely to increase productivity, setup collaborations and be part of a consortium
Check out these links and resources to improve your writing and editing
- The Abstract: Abstracts are important because they give a first impression of the document that follows, letting readers decide whether to continue reading and showing them what to look for if they do (from the University of Toronto) .
- How to write for publication (PDF from International Journal for Quality in Health Care): a guide for new authors (including 10 key questions to help you get started & identify your key messages & ideas)
- PLOS One Article: A Brief Guide To Writing Your First Scientific Manuscript
- Falcon Editing Blog: How to Write a Scholarly Article for Publication (15 Tips) Did you know that writing a paper can actually help define the value of your study?
- Elsevier Researcher Academy https://researcheracademy.elsevier.com/ (free modules)
- EQUATOR Network: One-stop-shop for writing and publishing high-impact health research, including a toolkit for finding the right reporting tool for your study, and how to use it.
- STROBE checklist – for cohort, case-control, and/or cross-sectional studies
- COREQ checklist for qualitative papers
- CONSORT Statement – evidence-based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials
- CARE checklist for teaching cases/case reports
- PRISMA checklist for systematic reviews
- COPE Committee on publication ethics
- From the University of Toronto: How Not To Plagiarize
- Permission Guidelines from Elsevier
From the JMIRS Author Guidelines: Acknowledgement of previously published material should be given in the legend, and the source should be included in the References section. It is the author’s responsibility to obtain written permission for any borrowed, modified or adapted text, tables or figures from the copyright owner (usually the original publisher). If text material totaling 250 to 300 words, or any tables, are borrowed verbatim from published sources, written permission is required from both publisher and author. With shorter quotations, it is sufficient to add a bibliographic credit. Permission letters for reproduced text or illustration must accompany the manuscript. If you have been unable to obtain permission, please point this out. Elsevier has preprinted forms for use by authors: https://www.elsevier.com/permissions. You can also contact Elsevier’s Rights Department: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disseminating your Work
- A seven step checklist from Elsevier Connect by author Aijaz Shaikh to check before you submit that article for publication
- From the LSE Impact blog: “Remember a condition of academic writing is that we expose ourselves to critique” – 15 steps to revising journal articles
Top 4 reasons why a manuscript might be rejected without review:
- The subject matter is not a match with the journal content
- The article offers no new knowledge, is not novel or unique
- The language/grammar is poor and difficult to read
- The article contains plagiarized sections (articles are screened through plagiarism software before review)
Tip! Be sure to check the author guidelines before submitting. Here is a link to the JMIRS Author Guidelines.
Find tips and insights on creating the best presentations!
- Giving a Talk – Content by Sue Robins and design by Karen Copeland
- How to prepare and deliver a 10-minute presentation at a scientific meeting (PDF from Pediatric Respiratory Reviews)
- PowerPoint: Conference posters and oral presentations
I’ve done the work – now what? Spread the word!
- From LSE Impact Blog: How to write a blogpost from your journal article in eleven easy steps
- From Fast Track Impact, by M. Reed & A. Sutherland: How to turn your next paper into an infographic
- PWPT: Dissemination Tips
- JMIRS article: Harnessing Social Media to Network and Share Research
Read about CAMRT member research successes; discover how your colleagues got started, and pick up valuable tips from their experience
- Listing of CAMRT Research Grant winners (scroll to bottom, “Past Winners”)
- Recent CAMRT Award winners – Competitive essay and exhibit winners, and speaker competition winners
- Listing of JMIRS Peer Reviewer awards
In their own words…read these great profiles from the CAMRT News (PDFs)
- Tammy Raynor, on her position of Dedicated Research Technologist
- Steven Brown on his BC Cancer Agency-initiated study, POSI (Prospective Outcomes and Support Initiative)
- Annette Erlich, on her first publication as a student researcher
- Nicole Cancelliere on her recent study, New Cone Beam CT Assessment of Acute Stroke Patients: Are We Ready for Prime Time?
Tip! Contact us to celebrate your achievements:
Grants & Conference Opportunities
Discover the grant opportunities available to MRTs in Canada!
|CAMRT Research Grant||CAMRT annually awards a research grant of up to $5,000 for original research related to the medical radiation sciences.||April 1||https://www.camrt.ca/mrt-profession/professional-resources/research-support/|
|CAMRT Foundation Grants||Grants are available to members to provide Financial Assistance to individuals enrolled in courses of study related to Medical Radiation Technology; Funds for research associated with Medical Radiation Technology||April 1||http://www.camrt.ca/about-camrt/camrt-foundation/|
For great tips on funding, check out the Research Whisperer funding pages
Check out these great opportunities to present your work (be sure to check the websites for abstract deadlines!) or to learn about the research of your colleagues.
RTi3 Conference – Canada’s premier annual meeting for the Radiation Therapy community. RTi3 is committed to advancing the science and practice of Radiation Therapy, showcasing the latest research and clinical innovations
Wavelengths: A pre-symposium research workshop and a full-day symposium for imaging technologists to build their skills and showcase works-in-progress, innovations in practice and completed research
ASTRO Annual Meeting – The American Society hold several live meetings and educational events per year
RSNA – The Radiological Society of North America holds an annual meeting in Chicago
Tip! Be sure to visit the CAMRT’s speaker competition pages for your chance to speak at American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) conferences
Check out these links to relevant “how-to” resources available to you as CAMRT members!
- Introduction to Research (CAMRT Full Length Course that provides a basic understanding of research principles, designs and processes, enabling the beginning researcher to design a simple research study from start to finish, and apply the results to improving clinical practice)
- Getting started in research (CAMRT Virtual Programming – discusses the development of a plan for taking a sense inquiry into actual research, the difference between little “r” and big “R” research and provide some strategies to mitigate barriers that can exist in the workplace related to undertaking research
- Getting published (CAMRT Virtual Programming- discusses the basic process of publication including submission, selection, peer review and authorship as well as the importance of publishing as a means of building your own body of knowledge)
- Basics of clinical trials and research in cancer and beyond (CAMRT Quick Self Study – the learner will gain an understanding of how the clinical trial process works, be able to identify key members of the clinical research team, interpret clinical trial results and be able to answer patients’ basic questions about the clinical trials)