A Research Project in 4 Months: Writing a “Short Report” From a Cross Sectional Study on Domestic Violence and Self-Harm Using a Regional Dataset


As a would-be academic clinician at the start of your career, the blocks of time you have available to complete pieces of research will usually be limited and often fitted around your clinical commitments; particularly for instance on the Academic Foundation Program (AFP), where you are generally expected to complete an original piece of research in just 4 months. For this reason, it can be challenging to bring a project to completion and publication, and it is essential to choose a project and a methodology that can realistically be finished in the time available. This research methods case gives an account of a cross-sectional study completed during a 4-month AFP rotation and published shortly afterwards, which used existing registry data to describe the prevalence and correlates of domestic violence within a UK population of individuals presenting to the emergency department with self-harm (n = 1,142). This case study will focus on factors to be considered when choosing a project, the advantages and disadvantages of using existing data for a new study, some general considerations during the process of writing a paper, and some of the practical lessons learned from this first step on a pathway into academic medicine.

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