The Scholarly Project

Overview

Ophthalmic clinical practice is based on research and other scholarly work. Therefore, all ophthalmology residents should have training in the fundamentals of research and critical review of literature.

The ACGME recognizes this need as outlined in the Common Program Requirements (Section IV, Subsection B)

Residents’ Scholarly Activities
  1. The curriculum must advance residents’ knowledge of the basic principles of research, including how research is conducted, evaluated, explained to patients, and applied to patient care.
  2. Residents should participate in scholarly activity.
  3. The sponsoring institution and program should allocate adequate educational resources to facilitate resident involvement in scholarly activities.

All housestaff are required to complete a scholarly project as part of the requirements for graduation. The project must be original and must be mentored by one of the department’s faculty. The resident is expected to take part in all phases of the project including design, protocol preparation, data collection, analysis and interpretation and manuscript preparation. The Scholarly Project Committee will review the study proposal providing comments that should be appropriately addressed by the time of the presentation of the project in the Methods in Logic and Ophthalmology block.

A publication quality manuscript is required for graduation.  

Scholarly projects that show negative results for a study are legitimate forms of investigation for the scholarly project.  In the event that this occurs, the negative results should be compiled into a publication quality manuscript.   For studies that need institutional review board (IRB) approval, the resident should complete the process on time to prevent a delay in the initiation of the study. The project is to be completed within the three years of residency.  Progress reports outlining the development of the scholarly project will be submitted every 6 months.  Each resident will have two months of time in the PGY-3 year largely free of clinical responsibilities to devote to their project. In many cases scholarly projects will take the form of a research study.

Acceptable research types include:

  • basic science
  • case control study
  • cohort study
  • survey
  • secondary data analysis
  • randomized controlled trials

Case presentations are not an acceptable substitute for the requirement. Case series may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. A systematic literature review of the depth and quality of a Cochrane review may be acceptable in some cases. The Scholarly Project Committee will also consider non-traditional, non-research projects on a case by case basis. The guiding principal in these cases is that the work is equivalent in breadth and depth to a research-study based project and that it will result in a publication quality scholarly project.

Timeline/Requirements

PGY 2

  • Prior to September 30 - Identify project and mentor. Initial report due (see format below)
  • October through December - Develop project concept, prepare progress report 
  • Prior to December 31 - Progress meeting with mentor. Progress report must be handed in at least 24 hours before this meeting. In addition, the meeting must be scheduled in advance.
  • January through March - Continue project development, conduct thorough literature search, develop methods.
  • March 31 -  Project proposal must be turned in to mentor. Both an electronic copy via email and a hard copy signed by the project mentor are required. (see format and example below)
  • Methods and Logic in Ophthalmology Conference (May) - Workshop proposal with peers
  • Prior to June 30 - Progress meeting with mentor. Progress report must be handed in at least 24 hours before this meeting. In addition, the meeting must be scheduled in advance.

PGY 3

  • September 30 - Progress report emailed to mentor
  • Prior to December 31 - Progress meeting with mentor. Progress report must be handed in at least 24 hours before this meeting. In addition, the meeting must be scheduled in advance.
  • March 31 - Progress report emailed to mentor
  • Methods and Logic in Ophthalmology Conference (May) - Workshop project with peers
  • Prior to June 30 - Progress meeting with mentor. Progress report must be handed in at least 24 hours before this meeting. In addition, the meeting must be scheduled in advance.
  • Sometime during PGY 3 - Scholarly Project Rotation
    • Each resident will have two months of time free of substantial clinical responsibilities to devote to their scholarly project. Residents are encouraged, but not required to schedule this time as two consecutive months. It is expected that the resident will have adequately prepared in advance to make the best use of this time. As an example IRB approvals and acquisition of needed materials should be completed prior to starting the rotation.
    • In circumstances when the resident has made sufficient progress with their project, one of the two months may be used as a clinical elective. Approval for this must be obtained from Dr Waxman.

PGY 4

  • September 30 - Progress report emailed to mentor
  • Prior to December 31 - Manuscript due.
    • A copy of the manuscript should be emailed to mentor. A printed copy, signed by the project mentor must be handed in to Residency Program Office. The manuscript should be formatted according to Ophthalmology or IOVS style guidelines.
    • The Scholarly Project Committee may choose to accept the manuscript as submitted or may require revisions prior to accepting. A delay in the submission of the manuscript to the committee can result in a delay in what can be a several month long process of iterative review and revision.  The manuscript requirement is considered  complete when final revisions are accepted by the committee.
  • Vision Research Day (June) - Presentation

Research Proposal Format

  • Name of Resident and mentor.
  • Title: Descriptive and reflect the essence of the project.
  • Hypothesis: Working hypothesis that will be tested.
  • Background: Pertinent information regarding the current knowledge in the area of the proposed research that would assist a general ophthalmologist in understanding the importance of the project. Include all relevant references but it is not suppose to be an exhaustive review of the literature.
  • Methods: Give detailed information on the experiment including inclusion/exclusion criteria and experimental procedure for clinical studies and step-by-step information for basic science experiments. In both cases you should provide the main outcome measures. This section should also include a sample size justification (where applicable) and tentative statistical approach for the analysis.
  • Resident role in the project: Clearly indicate the what will be the role of the resident in each part of the project.
  • IRB/IACUC/CORID status: Identify if an approval by the relevant entity is in place/required/not applicable. If an approval already exists, provide the title of the approved project and protocol.

An example of a well received research proposal is attached below.


Progress Report Format

Progress reports are due every 3 months. They are to be submitted by email to your mentor
Progress reports should be formatted as follows:

  • Resident Name
  • Title of project
  • Hypothesis
  • Dates of meetings with project mentor since last report
  • Update on Progress since last report

 


Evaluation

Evaluation of the Proposal
As outlined above, the Scholarly Project Committee will review each proposal in the PGY-2 year. The purpose of this review is to ensure that the project is appropriate and is highly likely to allow the resident to produce the publication quality manuscript required for graduation. Constructive feedback will be provided to the resident within one month of submission. The Scholarly Project Committee members will review the proposals focusing on the following questions

  • What is the resident proposing to do?
  • Is there a clearly stated hypothesis?
  • Is the project of sufficient importance?
  • Does the resident appear to understand the project?
  • What is the role of the resident in the project? Is it sufficient?
  • Does the resident play a creative role in the project?
  • Is the project able to be completed in the time available?
  • Do the methods seem appropriate?


Evalution of the Manuscript

The Scholarly Project Committee will review each manuscript in the PGY-4 year. The purpose of this review is to ensure that the manuscript is of publication quality and meets the requirement for graduation. The Scholarly Project Committee may choose to accept the manuscript as submitted or may require revisions prior to accepting. A delay in the submission of the manuscript to the committee can result in a delay in what can be a several month long process of iterative review and revision.  The manuscript requirement is considered  complete when final revisions are accepted by the committee.

Scholarly Project Committee members will review the manuscripts focusing on the following questions:

  • Is the background for the project clearly stated and relevant to the project?
  • Is the project of sufficient importance?
  • Is there a clearly stated hypothesis?
  • Does the resident appear to understand the project?
  • What was the role of the resident in the project? Was it sufficient?
  • Did the resident play a creative role in the project?
  • Were the methods used appropriate to test the hypothesis?
  • Was the data analyzed and interpreted appropriately?
  • Were appropriate conclusions reached?
  • Were the limitations of the project recognized and discussed?

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