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Developing competence in biostatistics and research methodology during medical specialty training

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Do we equip junior specialists with the skills to conduct research throughout their careers?

The application of an evidence-based approach to patient care underpins modern clinical practice for all medical disciplines. In many specialty training programs, there has been emphasis in recent years on ensuring that trainees develop the skills needed to interpret medical literature and conduct research, as a part of overall training. In turn, it is hoped that these abilities will instil in trainees the capacity and enthusiasm to continue taking an active part in clinical research over their careers. In addition, specialist doctors are ideally placed to direct efforts towards medical education research and research on translation of evidence to practice. In this article, we focus on the need to assist trainees in attaining foundation skills required for participation in research activities, ideally as a stepping stone to leadership in research. This is distinct from looking at tools and strategies (such as journal clubs and critically appraised topic instruments) used to teach critical appraisal of published evidence, although all these concepts are closely linked.1

The case for supporting trainees in learning research skills

It may be no surprise that, when it comes to the knowledge and skills required for junior doctors to undertake clinical research, the evidence suggests that these have…