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1.  The comparative importance of books: clinical psychology in the health sciences library. 
Clinical psychology has received little attention as a subject in health sciences library collections. This study seeks to demonstrate the relative importance of the monographic literature to clinical psychology through the examination of citations in graduate student theses and dissertations at the Fordham Health Sciences Library, Wright State University. Dissertations and theses were sampled randomly; citations were classified by format, counted, and subjected to statistical analysis. Books and book chapters together account for 35% of the citations in clinical psychology dissertations, 25% in nursing theses, and 8% in biomedical sciences theses and dissertations. Analysis of variance indicates that the citations in dissertations and theses in the three areas differ significantly (F = 162.2 with 2 and 253 degrees of freedom, P = 0.0001). Dissertations and theses in biomedical sciences and nursing theses both cite significantly more journals per book than the dissertations in clinical psychology. These results support the hypothesis that users of clinical psychology literature rely more heavily on books than many other users of a health sciences library. Problems with using citation analyses in a single subject to determine a serials to monographs ratio for a health sciences library are pointed out.
PMCID: PMC226557  PMID: 10219478
2.  Are students kidding with health research ethics? The case of HIV/AIDS research in Cameroon 
BMC Medical Ethics  2012;13:12.
Universities in Cameroon are playing an active part in HIV/AIDS research and much of this research is carried out by students, usually for the purpose of a dissertation/thesis. Student theses/dissertations present research findings in a much more comprehensive manner and have been described as the stepping-stone of a budding scientist’s potential in becoming an independent researcher. It is therefore important to verify how students handle issues of research ethics.
Theses/dissertations on HIV/AIDS that described research studies involving the use of human research participants were screened to verify if research ethics approval and informed consent were obtained and documented. The contents of the consent forms were also qualitatively analyzed.
Of 174 theses/dissertations on HIV, ethics approval was documented in 17 (9.77%) and informed consent in 77 (47.83%). Research ethics approval was first mentioned at all in 2002 and highly reported in the year 2007. Evidence of ethics approval was found for the first time in 2005 and informed consent first observed and evidenced in 1997. Ethics approval was mostly reported by students studying for an MD (14.01%) and was not reported in any Bachelors’ degree dissertation. Informed consent was also highly reported in MD theses (64.58%) followed by undergraduate theses (31.58%). Voluntary participation and potential benefits of the study were some of the common aspects dealt with in most of the consent forms. The right to discontinue participation in the study and management of residual samples were scarcely ever mentioned.
Overall, and given the current state of the art of research ethics around the world, student-scientists in Cameroon would seem to be merely kidding with research ethics. It is thus essential that training in health research ethics (HRE) be incorporated in the curriculum of universities in Cameroon in order that the next generation of scientists may be better equipped with thorough knowledge and practice of HRE. This, we believe, would be one way of fighting the occurrence of research scandals, which have not yet abated significantly, especially those arising from negligence or inexcusable ignorance.
PMCID: PMC3470971  PMID: 22686445
3.  Making Time for Dissertation Grants 
Research on social work practice  2009;19(3):340-350.
Grant writing is a necessary skill for becoming an independent and successful social work researcher. Since social work dissertation grants are a relatively new trend, students face many challenges in identifying, preparing, and submitting dissertation grants. Lack of resources and experiences, difficulties in protecting time for grant writing, and the uncertainty of success can hinder work on dissertation grants. Thus, this article provides an overview of dissertation grants, including a review of grant mechanisms, suggestions for preparing grants in the context of program milestones, and identifying institutional infrastructure to facilitate submissions. Strategies discussed include how to learn about funding priorities, how to establish timelines to account for grant deadlines, and how to use peer reviews to guide the revision process.
PMCID: PMC3829630  PMID: 24244078
grant writing; doctoral education; research infrastructure; dissertation grants
4.  Comparison of tiered formularies and reference pricing policies: a systematic review 
Open Medicine  2009;3(3):e131-e139.
To synthesize methodologically comparable evidence from the published literature regarding the outcomes of tiered formularies and therapeutic reference pricing of prescription drugs.
We searched the following electronic databases: ABI/Inform, CINAHL, Clinical Evidence, Digital Dissertations & Theses, Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (which incorporates ACP Journal Club, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Methodology Register, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness, Health Technology Assessments and NHS Economic Evaluation Database), EconLit, EMBASE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, MEDLINE, PAIS International and PAIS Archive, and the Web of Science. We also searched the reference lists of relevant articles and several grey literature sources. We sought English-language studies published from 1986 to 2007 that examined the effects of either therapeutic reference pricing or tiered formularies, reported on outcomes relevant to patient care and cost-effectiveness, and employed quantitative study designs that included concurrent or historical comparison groups. We abstracted and assessed potentially appropriate articles using a modified version of the data abstraction form developed by the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group.
From an initial list of 2964 citations, 12 citations (representing 11 studies) were deemed eligible for inclusion in our review: 3 studies (reported in 4 articles) of reference pricing and 8 studies of tiered formularies. The introduction of reference pricing was associated with reduced plan spending, switching to preferred medicines, reduced overall drug utilization and short-term increases in the use of physician services. Reference pricing was not associated with adverse health impacts. The introduction of tiered formularies was associated with reduced plan expenditures, greater patient costs and increased rates of non-compliance with prescribed drug therapy. From the data available, we were unable to examine the hypothesis that tiered formulary policies result in greater use of physician services and potentially worse health outcomes.
The available evidence does not clearly differentiate between reference pricing and tiered formularies in terms of policy outcomes. Reference pricing appears to have a slight evidentiary advantage, given that patients’ health outcomes under tiered formularies have not been well studied and that tiered formularies are associated with increased rates of medicine discontinuation.
PMCID: PMC3090119  PMID: 21603047
5.  A scoping review of malaria forecasting: past work and future directions 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001992.
There is a growing body of literature on malaria forecasting methods and the objective of our review is to identify and assess methods, including predictors, used to forecast malaria.
Scoping review. Two independent reviewers searched information sources, assessed studies for inclusion and extracted data from each study.
Information sources
Search strategies were developed and the following databases were searched: CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Global Health, MEDLINE, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses and Web of Science. Key journals and websites were also manually searched.
Eligibility criteria for included studies
We included studies that forecasted incidence, prevalence or epidemics of malaria over time. A description of the forecasting model and an assessment of the forecast accuracy of the model were requirements for inclusion. Studies were restricted to human populations and to autochthonous transmission settings.
We identified 29 different studies that met our inclusion criteria for this review. The forecasting approaches included statistical modelling, mathematical modelling and machine learning methods. Climate-related predictors were used consistently in forecasting models, with the most common predictors being rainfall, relative humidity, temperature and the normalised difference vegetation index. Model evaluation was typically based on a reserved portion of data and accuracy was measured in a variety of ways including mean-squared error and correlation coefficients. We could not compare the forecast accuracy of models from the different studies as the evaluation measures differed across the studies.
Applying different forecasting methods to the same data, exploring the predictive ability of non-environmental variables, including transmission reducing interventions and using common forecast accuracy measures will allow malaria researchers to compare and improve models and methods, which should improve the quality of malaria forecasting.
PMCID: PMC3533056  PMID: 23180505
Infectious Diseases
6.  Medical students’ perceptions and attitudes about family practice: a qualitative research synthesis 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:81.
During the last decade medical students from most Western countries have shown little interest in family practice. Understanding the factors that influence medical students to choose family medicine is crucial.
To systematically review and synthesize published evidence about medical students’ attitudes and perceptions towards family practice.
A qualitative systematic review. The literature search was undertaken in July 2010 in PubMed, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. Two authors independently selected the studies for their inclusion and assessed their quality. The selected studies were thoroughly read. Key themes and categories were identified. A matrix was created for allowing the comparison of each theme across studies.
Ten studies were finally included. Seven broad themes were identified across them: 1) Scope and context of practice was a broad theme comprising linked sub-themes: perception of a varied specialty, broad practice, holistic perspective and flexibility that allows having a family; 2) Lower interest or intellectually less challenging: treating common disease, repetitive, quasi administrative job; 3) Influence of role models, either positive and negative, and society: negative comments from other professionals, peers and family; 4) Lower prestige; 5) Poor remuneration; 6) Medical school influences, being important both the length and quality of the exposure; 7) Post graduate training, where the shorter duration and the lower intensity were perceived as positive aspects. After identifying these seven key themes, were also looked into patterns in the distribution of these themes among studies.
Our qualitative review provides a comprehensive picture of medical students’ attitudes towards family practice in the available literature. In general, although some students find family medicine appealing, it is regarded as a career of low interest and prestige. More research is needed on the influence of role models, medical school and post graduate training.
PMCID: PMC3546071  PMID: 22909189
Family practice; Attitudes; Perceptions; Students, Medical; Qualitative research; Review
7.  Deconstructing doctoral dissertations: how many papers does it take to make a PhD? 
Scientometrics  2010;85(2):567-579.
A collection of coauthored papers is the new norm for doctoral dissertations in the natural and biomedical sciences, yet there is no consensus on how to partition authorship credit between PhD candidates and their coauthors. Guidelines for PhD programs vary but tend to specify only a suggested range for the number of papers to be submitted for evaluation, sometimes supplemented with a requirement for the PhD candidate to be the principal author on the majority of submitted papers. Here I use harmonic counting to quantify the actual amount of authorship credit attributable to individual PhD graduates from two Scandinavian universities in 2008. Harmonic counting corrects for the inherent inflationary and equalizing biases of routine counting methods, thereby allowing the bibliometrically identifiable amount of authorship credit in approved dissertations to be analyzed with unprecedented accuracy. Unbiased partitioning of authorship credit between graduates and their coauthors provides a post hoc bibliometric measure of current PhD requirements, and sets a de facto baseline for the requisite scientific productivity of these contemporary PhD’s at a median value of approximately 1.6 undivided papers per dissertation. Comparison with previous census data suggests that the baseline has shifted over the past two decades as a result of a decrease in the number of submitted papers per candidate and an increase in the number of coauthors per paper. A simple solution to this shifting baseline syndrome would be to benchmark the amount of unbiased authorship credit deemed necessary for successful completion of a specific PhD program, and then monitor for departures from this level over time. Harmonic partitioning of authorship credit also facilitates cross-disciplinary and inter-institutional analysis of the scientific output from different PhD programs. Juxtaposing bibliometric benchmarks with current baselines may thus assist the development of harmonized guidelines and transparent transnational quality assurance procedures for doctoral programs by providing a robust and meaningful standard for further exploration of the causes of intra- and inter-institutional variation in the amount of unbiased authorship credit per dissertation.
PMCID: PMC2943069  PMID: 20949112
Bibliometry; Bibliometric counting; Bias; Baseline; Benchmark
8.  Publication Rates of Public Health Theses in International and National Peer-Review Journals in Turkey 
Thesis is an important part of specialisation and doctorate education and requires intense work. The aim of this study was to investigate the publication rates of Turkish Public Health Doctorate Theses (PHDT) and Public Health Specialization (PHST) theses in international and Turkish national peer-review journals and to analyze the distribution of research areas.
List of all theses upto 30 September 2009 were retrieved from theses database of the Council of Higher Education of the Republic of Turkey. The publication rates of these theses were found by searching PubMed, Science Citation Index-Expanded, Turkish Academic Network and Information Center (ULAKBIM) Turkish Medical Database, and Turkish Medline databases for the names of thesis author and mentor. The theses which were published in journals indexed either in PubMed or SCI-E were considered as international publications.
Our search yielded a total of 538 theses (243 PHDT, 295 PHST). It was found that the overall publication rate in Turkish national journals was 18%. The overall publication rate in international journals was 11.9%. Overall the most common research area was occupational health.
Publication rates of Turkish PHDT and PHST are low. A better understanding of factors affecting this publication rate is important for public health issues where national data is vital for better intervention programs and develop better public health policies.
PMCID: PMC3494212  PMID: 23193503
Bibliometrics; Mentor; Publishing; Research; Scientometrics; Turkey
9.  Healthcare professionals' intentions and behaviours: A systematic review of studies based on social cognitive theories 
There is an important gap between the implications of clinical research evidence and the routine clinical practice of healthcare professionals. Because individual decisions are often central to adoption of a clinical-related behaviour, more information about the cognitive mechanisms underlying behaviours is needed to improve behaviour change interventions targeting healthcare professionals. The aim of this study was to systematically review the published scientific literature about factors influencing health professionals' behaviours based on social cognitive theories. These theories refer to theories where individual cognitions/thoughts are viewed as processes intervening between observable stimuli and responses in real world situations.
We searched psycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CIHNAL, Index to theses, PROQUEST dissertations and theses and Current Contents for articles published in English only. We included studies that aimed to predict healthcare professionals' intentions and behaviours with a clear specification of relying on a social cognitive theory. Information on percent of explained variance (R2) was used to compute the overall frequency-weighted mean R2 to evaluate the efficacy of prediction in several contexts and according to different methodological aspects. The cognitive factors most consistently associated with prediction of healthcare professionals' intention and behaviours were documented.
Seventy eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Among these studies, 72 provided information on the determinants of intention and 16 prospective studies provided information on the determinants of behaviour. The theory most often used as reference was the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) or its extension the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). An overall frequency-weighted mean R2 of 0.31 was observed for the prediction of behaviour; 0.59 for the prediction of intention. A number of moderators influenced the efficacy of prediction; frequency-weighted mean R2 varied from 0.001 to 0.58 for behaviour and 0.19 to 0.81 for intention.
Our results suggest that the TPB appears to be an appropriate theory to predict behaviour whereas other theories better capture the dynamic underlying intention. In addition, given the variations in efficacy of prediction, special care should be given to methodological issues, especially to better define the context of behaviour performance.
PMCID: PMC2507717  PMID: 18631386
10.  Effect of fish oil on arrhythmias and mortality: systematic review 
Objective To synthesise the literature on the effects of fish oil—docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)—on mortality and arrhythmias and to explore dose response and formulation effects.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library, PubMed, CINAHL, IPA, Web of Science, Scopus, Pascal, Allied and Complementary Medicine, Academic OneFile, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Evidence-Based Complementary Medicine, and LILACS.
Studies reviewed Randomised controlled trials of fish oil as dietary supplements in humans.
Data extraction The primary outcomes of interest were the arrhythmic end points of appropriate implantable cardiac defibrillator intervention and sudden cardiac death. The secondary outcomes were all cause mortality and death from cardiac causes. Subgroup analyses included the effect of formulations of EPA and DHA on death from cardiac causes and effects of fish oil in patients with coronary artery disease or myocardial infarction.
Data synthesis 12 studies totalling 32 779 patients met the inclusion criteria. A neutral effect was reported in three studies (n=1148) for appropriate implantable cardiac defibrillator intervention (odds ratio 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.55 to 1.46) and in six studies (n=31 111) for sudden cardiac death (0.81, 0.52 to 1.25). 11 studies (n=32 439 and n=32 519) provided data on the effects of fish oil on all cause mortality (0.92, 0.82 to 1.03) and a reduction in deaths from cardiac causes (0.80, 0.69 to 0.92). The dose-response relation for DHA and EPA on reduction in deaths from cardiac causes was not significant.
Conclusions Fish oil supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in deaths from cardiac causes but had no effect on arrhythmias or all cause mortality. Evidence to recommend an optimal formulation of EPA or DHA to reduce these outcomes is insufficient. Fish oils are a heterogeneous product, and the optimal formulations for DHA and EPA remain unclear.
PMCID: PMC2612582  PMID: 19106137
11.  Concentric Evertor Strength Differences and Functional Ankle Instability: A Meta-Analysis 
Journal of Athletic Training  2009;44(6):653-662.
To determine whether concentric evertor muscle weakness was associated with functional ankle instability (FAI).
Data Sources:
We conducted an electronic search through November 2007, limited to English, and using PubMed, Pre-CINAHL, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus. A forward search was conducted using the Science Citation Index on studies from the electronic search. Finally, we conducted a hand search of all selected studies and contacted the respective authors to identify additional studies. We included peer-reviewed manuscripts, dissertations, and theses.
Study Selection:
We evaluated the titles and abstracts of studies identified by the electronic searches. Studies were selected by consensus and reviewed only if they included participants with FAI or chronic ankle instability and strength outcomes. Studies were included in the analysis if means and SDs (or other relevant statistical information, such as P values or t values and group n's) were reported for FAI and stable groups (or ankles).
Data Extraction:
Data were extracted by the authors independently, cross-checked for accuracy, and limited to outcomes of concentric eversion strength. We rated each study for quality. Outcomes were coded as either fast or slow velocity (ie, equal to or greater than 110°/s or less than 110°/s, respectively).
Data Synthesis:
Data included the means, SDs, and group sample sizes (or other appropriate statistical information) for the FAI and uninjured groups (or ankles). The standard difference in the means (SDM) for each outcome was calculated using the pooled SD. We tested individual and overall SDMs using the Z statistic and comparisons between fast and slow velocities using the Q statistic. Our analysis revealed that ankles with FAI were weaker than stable ankles (SDM  =  0.224, Z  =  4.0, P < .001, 95% confidence interval  =  0.115, 0.333). We found no difference between the fast- and slow-velocity SDMs (SDMFast  =  0.189, SDMSlow  =  0.244, Q  =  29.9, df  =  24, P  =  .187). Because of the small SDM, this method of measuring ankle strength in the clinical setting may need to be reevaluated.
PMCID: PMC2775368  PMID: 19911093
ankle sprains; chronic ankle instability; ankle weakness; isokinetic assessment; ankle torque; ankle force
12.  Filaggrin gene defects and risk of developing allergic sensitisation and allergic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Objective To investigate whether filaggrin gene defects, present in up to one in 10 western Europeans and North Americans, increase the risk of developing allergic sensitisation and allergic disorders.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Medline, Embase, ISI Science Citation Index, BIOSIS, ISI Web of Knowledge, UK National Research Register, clinical, the Index to Theses and Digital dissertations, and grey literature using OpenSIGLE.
Study selection Genetic epidemiological studies (family, case-control) of the association between filaggrin gene defects and allergic sensitisation or allergic disorders.
Data extraction Atopic eczema or dermatitis, food allergy, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and anaphylaxis, along with relevant immunological variables relating to the risk of allergic sensitisation as assessed by either positive skin prick testing or increased levels of allergen specific IgE.
Data synthesis 24 studies were included. The odds of developing allergic sensitisation was 1.91 (95% confidence interval 1.44 to 2.54) in the family studies and 1.57 (1.20 to 2.07) in the case-control studies. The odds of developing atopic eczema was 1.99 (1.72 to 2.31) in the family studies and 4.78 (3.31 to 6.92) in the case-control studies. Three studies investigated the association between filaggrin gene mutations and allergic rhinitis in people without atopic eczema: overall odds ratio 1.78 (1.16 to 2.73). The four studies that investigated the association between filaggrin gene mutations and allergic rhinitis in people with atopic eczema reported a significant association: pooled odds ratio from case-control studies 2.84 (2.08 to 3.88). An overall odds ratio for the association between filaggrin gene mutations and asthma in people with atopic eczema was 2.79 (1.77 to 4.41) in case-control studies and 2.30 (1.66 to 3.18) in family studies. None of the studies that investigated filaggrin gene mutations and asthma in people without atopic eczema reported a significant association; overall odds ratio was 1.30 (0.7 to 2.30) in the case-control studies. The funnel plots suggested that publication bias was unlikely to be an explanation for these findings. No studies investigated the association between filaggrin gene mutations and food allergy or anaphylaxis.
Conclusions Filaggrin gene defects increase the risk of developing allergic sensitisation, atopic eczema, and allergic rhinitis. Evidence of the relation between filaggrin gene mutations and atopic eczema was strong, with people manifesting increased severity and persistence of disease. Filaggrin gene mutations also increased the risk of asthma in people with atopic eczema. Restoring skin barrier function in filaggrin deficient people in early life may help prevent the development of sensitisation and halt the development and progression of allergic disease.
PMCID: PMC2714678  PMID: 19589816
13.  Effectiveness of early discharge planning in acutely ill or injured hospitalized older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:70.
Older age and higher acuity are associated with prolonged hospital stays and hospital readmissions. Early discharge planning may reduce lengths of hospital stay and hospital readmissions; however, its effectiveness with acutely admitted older adults is unclear.
In this systematic review, we compared the effectiveness of early discharge planning to usual care in reducing index length of hospital stay, hospital readmissions, readmission length of hospital stay, and mortality; and increasing satisfaction with discharge planning and quality of life for older adults admitted to hospital with an acute illness or injury.
We searched the Cochrane Library, DARE, HTA, NHSEED, ACP, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Proquest Dissertations and Theses, PubMed, Web of Science, SciSearch, PEDro, Sigma Theta Tau International’s registry of nursing research, Joanna Briggs Institute, CRISP, OT Seeker, and several internet search engines. Hand-searching was conducted in four gerontological journals and references of all included studies and previous systematic reviews. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias. Data were pooled using a random-effects meta-analysis. Where meta-analysis was not possible, narrative analysis was performed.
Nine trials with a total of 1736 participants were included. Compared to usual care, early discharge planning was associated with fewer hospital readmissions within one to twelve months of index hospital discharge [risk ratio (RR) = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.69 − 0.90]; and lower readmission lengths of hospital stay within three to twelve months of index hospital discharge [weighted mean difference (WMD) = −2.47, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = −4.13 − −0.81)]. No differences were found in index length of hospital stay, mortality or satisfaction with discharge planning. Narrative analysis of four studies indicated that early discharge planning was associated with greater overall quality of life and the general health domain of quality of life two weeks after index hospital discharge.
Early discharge planning with acutely admitted older adults improves system level outcomes after index hospital discharge. Service providers can use these findings to design and implement early discharge planning for older adults admitted to hospital with an acute illness or injury.
PMCID: PMC3707815  PMID: 23829698
Discharge planning; Aged; Length of stay; Hospital readmission; Patient discharge; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
14.  The effect of high-heeled shoes on lumbar lordosis: a narrative review and discussion of the disconnect between Internet content and peer-reviewed literature 
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine  2010;9(4):166-173.
Some women complain of low back pain that they believe is due to wearing high-heeled shoes, and some clinicians seem to think the reason is that high-heeled shoes cause increased lumbar lordosis. This article examines Internet information aimed at the general public and presents a literature review of available research in this area.
The keywords high heels and high-heeled shoes, combined with the words lumbar, lordosis, and pelvic tilt, were used in an Internet search of; in published literature searches of PubMed, MANTIS, CINAHL, Scopus, and ProceedingsFirst; and in searches for theses and dissertations of PapersFirst through June 2010.
There are many Internet sites that support the belief that high-heeled shoes cause increased lordosis. However, published research for this topic mostly does not support this belief; but some mixed results, small subject groups, and questionable methods have left the issue unclear.
It appears that some health care providers are offering advice about the effect of high-heeled shoes on lumbar lordosis that conflicts with most published research. However, the prevalence of such advice is unknown; and the published research is equivocal. Considering that both low back pain and the wearing of high heeled-shoes are common, clinicians could use some clearer guidance; this is an area that deserves further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3206568  PMID: 22027108
Lordosis; Lumbar; Shoes; Posture; Low back pain; Chiropractic
15.  Capacity development for health research in Africa: experiences managing the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship Program 
Africa's progress depends on her capacity to generate, adapt, and use scientific knowledge to meet regional health and development needs. Yet, Africa's higher education institutions that are mandated to foster this capacity lack adequate resources to generate and apply knowledge, raising the need for innovative approaches to enhance research capacity. In this paper, we describe a newly-developed program to support PhD research in health and population sciences at African universities, the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (ADDRF) Program. We also share our experiences implementing the program. As health research capacity-strengthening in Africa continues to attract attention and as the need for such programs to be African-led is emphasized, our experiences in developing and implementing the ADDRF offer invaluable lessons to other institutions undertaking similar initiatives.
PMCID: PMC2907373  PMID: 20587016
16.  Physician use of the curbside consultation to address information needs: report on a collective case study 
Purpose: The author reports key findings from a doctoral dissertation investigating what the curbside consultation is, how and why physicians use it, and what the implications for health sciences library services might be.
Settings/Informants: Primary informants included sixteen primary care physicians at six sites in one Midwestern state. Additional informants included twenty-eight specialists and subspecialists identified by the primary informants as colleagues who provided curbside consultations.
Methods: Qualitative research methods were used, including field observations, formal and informal interviews, and conversations with peer review physicians.
Results: Despite a lack of consensus about what constitutes a “good” curbside consultation, physician informants reported that curbside consultations were part of their medical education and that they continued to take part in them for a number of reasons. Tacit rules govern curbside consultation interactions, and negative consequences result when the rules are misunderstood or not observed.
Discussion/Conclusion: Acknowledging and understanding physicians' use of the curbside consultation to obtain and construct knowledge may suggest new ways for health sciences librarians to work with physicians in locating, diffusing, and disseminating clinical information.
PMCID: PMC1435836  PMID: 16636705
17.  A Guide to Writing a Scientific Paper: A Focus on High School Through Graduate Level Student Research 
Zebrafish  2012;9(4):246-249.
This article presents a detailed guide for high school through graduate level instructors that leads students to write effective and well-organized scientific papers. Interesting research emerges from the ability to ask questions, define problems, design experiments, analyze and interpret data, and make critical connections. This process is incomplete, unless new results are communicated to others because science fundamentally requires peer review and criticism to validate or discard proposed new knowledge. Thus, a concise and clearly written research paper is a critical step in the scientific process and is important for young researchers as they are mastering how to express scientific concepts and understanding. Moreover, learning to write a research paper provides a tool to improve science literacy as indicated in the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards (1996), and A Framework for K–12 Science Education (2011), the underlying foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards currently being developed. Background information explains the importance of peer review and communicating results, along with details of each critical component, the Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Specific steps essential to helping students write clear and coherent research papers that follow a logical format, use effective communication, and develop scientific inquiry are described.
PMCID: PMC3528086  PMID: 23094692
18.  The Utility of Writing Assignments in Undergraduate Bioscience 
CBE Life Sciences Education  2012;11(1):39-46.
We tested the hypothesis that engagement in a few, brief writing assignments in a nonmajors science course can improve student ability to convey critical thought about science. A sample of three papers written by students (n = 30) was coded for presence and accuracy of elements related to scientific writing. Scores for different aspects of scientific writing were significantly correlated, suggesting that students recognized relationships between components of scientific thought. We found that students' ability to write about science topics and state conclusions based on data improved over the course of three writing assignments, while the abilities to state a hypothesis and draw clear connections between human activities and environmental impacts did not improve. Three writing assignments generated significant change in student ability to write scientifically, although our results suggest that three is an insufficient number to generate complete development of scientific writing skills.
PMCID: PMC3292072  PMID: 22383616
19.  Global health policies that support the use of banked donor human milk: a human rights issue 
This review examines the role of donor human milk banking in international human rights documents and global health policies. For countries looking to improve child health, promotion, protection and support of donor human milk banks has an important role to play for the most vulnerable of infants and children. This review is based on qualitative triangulation research conducted for a doctoral dissertation. The three methods used in triangulation were 1) writing as a method of inquiry, 2) an integrative research review, and 3) personal experience and knowledge of the topic. Discussion of the international human rights documents and global health policies shows that there is a wealth of documentation to support promotion, protection and support of donor milk banking as an integral part of child health and survival. By utilizing these policy documents, health ministries, professional associations, and donor milk banking associations can find rationales for establishing, increasing or continuing to provide milk banking services in any country, and thereby improve the health of children and future generations of adults.
PMCID: PMC1766344  PMID: 17164001
20.  A comprehensive bibliography database using a microcomputer. 
A system was implemented using a commercial database management program and a microcomputer for computerising references from journals and other sources. In addition to the citation, the user can enter the address of the institution where the study was carried out, a description of the article and of the work, key words, and an abstract. References are added, edited, searched for, displayed on screen, typed on paper, or sent to a text file, using selection criteria entered by the user. When a search is performed the printout will include the abstract of each paper, similar to that obtained from larger bibliographic services. The computer also writes requests for reprints. This program now holds over 30 000 references and has been in use for over three years. Such a system is beneficial for personal study, for writing books, articles, and theses, and for use by institutions, departments, and small libraries.
PMCID: PMC1340711  PMID: 3087557
21.  Digitizing Dissertations for an Institutional Repository: A Process and Cost Analysis* 
This paper describes the Lamar Soutter Library's process and costs associated with digitizing 300 doctoral dissertations for a newly implemented institutional repository at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Project tasks included identifying metadata elements, obtaining and tracking permissions, converting the dissertations to an electronic format, and coordinating workflow between library departments. Each dissertation was scanned, reviewed for quality control, enhanced with a table of contents, processed through an optical character recognition function, and added to the institutional repository.
Three hundred and twenty dissertations were digitized and added to the repository for a cost of $23,562, or $0.28 per page. Seventy-four percent of the authors who were contacted (n = 282) granted permission to digitize their dissertations. Processing time per title was 170 minutes, for a total processing time of 906 hours. In the first 17 months, full-text dissertations in the collection were downloaded 17,555 times.
Locally digitizing dissertations or other scholarly works for inclusion in institutional repositories can be cost effective, especially if small, defined projects are chosen. A successful project serves as an excellent recruitment strategy for the institutional repository and helps libraries build new relationships. Challenges include workflow, cost, policy development, and copyright permissions.
PMCID: PMC2479051  PMID: 18654648
22.  Mapping Postgraduate Research at the University of Zambia: a review of dissertations for the Master of Medicine Programme 
Medical journal of Zambia  2010;37(2):52-57.
The publication of a dissertation is an integral part of the four-year postgraduate degree of Master of Medicine (in clinical disciplines) within the School of Medicine at the University of Zambia. The governing research policy states that the subject matter of the dissertation is expected to cover a topic relevant to health care in the Zambian context, that it be conducted in a way that is consistent with international ethical guidelines for biomedical research involving human subjects, and that research outcomes should be maximally utilized. The aim of the study is to explore the characteristics of the Masters of Medicine research at the University of Zambia.
This descriptive study explores the subject matter and research methodology by type of clinical specialty of all dissertations from 1986 to 2009.
The 132 dissertations included 36 (27.3%) in Surgery, 35 (26.5%) in Paediatrics, 32 (24.2%) in Internal Medicine, 24 (18.2%) in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and 5 (3.8%) in Orthopaedic Surgery. Only 7 (5.3%) were interventional/experimental studies (4 of which were randomized controlled trials). Cross-sectional studies were the predominant type of the 125 observational studies (n=112, 84.8%). Thirty-three dissertations (25.0%) predominantly addressed HIV (16 Internal Medicine, 10 Paediatrics, 6 Surgery and 1 Obstetrics and Gynaecology); and 18 (13.6%) predominantly addressed infections, excluding TB (11 in Paediatrics). Other subjects included malignancy (n=6), TB (n=5), and diabetes mellitus (n=4). Over half of the dissertations (76, 57.6%) addressed the determinants of the cause, risk and development of diseases; and a third dealt with management and evaluation of diseases (26 and 18, respectively).
Few dissertations were based on experimental designs and most addressed determinants of the cause of diseases through cross-sectional studies. HIV and infections predominate as diseases reflecting the prevailing disease patterns in Lusaka in particular, and Zambia in general.
PMCID: PMC3604980  PMID: 23526859
23.  How to Write Your First Research Paper 
Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences. One of the stumbling blocks is the beginning of the process and creating the first draft. This paper presents guidelines on how to initiate the writing process and draft each section of a research manuscript. The paper discusses seven rules that allow the writer to prepare a well-structured and comprehensive manuscript for a publication submission. In addition, the author lists different strategies for successful revision. Each of those strategies represents a step in the revision process and should help the writer improve the quality of the manuscript. The paper could be considered a brief manual for publication.
PMCID: PMC3178846  PMID: 21966034
scientific paper; writing process; revision
24.  Antonovsky's sense of coherence scale and the relation with health: a systematic review 
Study objective
The aim of this paper is to synthesise empirical findings on the salutogenic concept sense of coherence (SOC) and examine its capacity to explain health and its dimensions.
The study is descriptive and analytical with a systematic integration of the contemporary knowledge base on the salutogenic research published 1992–2003. The review includes 458 scientific publications and 13 doctoral theses.
Worldwide, based on postgraduate scientific publications in eight authorised databases, doctoral theses, and available books.
Main results
SOC is strongly related to perceived health, especially mental health. The stronger the SOC the better the perceived health in general, at least for those with an initial high SOC. This relation is manifested in study populations regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, nationality, and study design. SOC seems to have a main, moderating or mediating role in the explanation of health. Furthermore, the SOC seems to be able to predict health. SOC is an important contributor for the development and maintenance of people's health but does not alone explain the overall health.
SOC seems to be a health promoting resource, which strengthens resilience and develops a positive subjective state of health. Salutogenesis is a valuable approach for health promotion and would be worth to implement in practice much more than to date.
PMCID: PMC2563977  PMID: 16614325
Antonovsky; salutogenesis; sense of coherence; health promotion
25.  ChemicalTagger: A tool for semantic text-mining in chemistry 
The primary method for scientific communication is in the form of published scientific articles and theses which use natural language combined with domain-specific terminology. As such, they contain free owing unstructured text. Given the usefulness of data extraction from unstructured literature, we aim to show how this can be achieved for the discipline of chemistry. The highly formulaic style of writing most chemists adopt make their contributions well suited to high-throughput Natural Language Processing (NLP) approaches.
We have developed the ChemicalTagger parser as a medium-depth, phrase-based semantic NLP tool for the language of chemical experiments. Tagging is based on a modular architecture and uses a combination of OSCAR, domain-specific regex and English taggers to identify parts-of-speech. The ANTLR grammar is used to structure this into tree-based phrases. Using a metric that allows for overlapping annotations, we achieved machine-annotator agreements of 88.9% for phrase recognition and 91.9% for phrase-type identification (Action names).
It is possible parse to chemical experimental text using rule-based techniques in conjunction with a formal grammar parser. ChemicalTagger has been deployed for over 10,000 patents and has identified solvents from their linguistic context with >99.5% precision.
PMCID: PMC3117806  PMID: 21575201

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