Q: What are my career options in medical research and where should I begin?

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I am all-new to medical research and its community. Whenever I look for research opportunities, I find that they require one to be an expert in the field or, at least, to have strong history of publication or research work. I unfortunately do not have either yet, but definitely want to work on that. Even writing a Perspective article requires one to be an expert. Can you please help me understand how to direct myself in the right path to get started? Thank you.

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Answer:

First of all, to start off research in any field, you have to have substantial knowledge of the field. Initially, you should just read medical literature. Go to Google Scholar or MEDLINE and run a search using any relevant keyword, and you'll come up with a host of scholarly articles. Read these articles on a regular basis. Look up the reference list of an article that you are reading and see if you would like to read some of those as well. As you read, you will, over a period of time, develop a deep understanding of the field. This will form the base for conducting research or writing articles. To begin with, you can write literature reviews or perspective articles, as conducting original research will take time. Additionally, find out which journals and publishers publish medical literature. Publishers like Wiley, JAMA, BMJ, etc. mostly cater to the field of medicine. These publishing houses might have blogs that you can subscribe to. This will help you keep abreast of the developments in the industry. You should also explore the websites of these journals: go through the guidelines for authors, understand the peer review they process follow, the article types they publish.Go to some of the journals and read articles from their previous issues. All this will give you an in-depth understanding of the field. Apart from knowledge of your field, you will also need to have an understanding of the academic publishing industry. Go through the Editage Insights articles and read our newsletter on a regular basis. Spend a few months doing all this. Once you are equipped with knowledge of your field and of the academic publishing industry, you can consider writing articles.

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