Suggested blog topics
Posted on 8th March 2017 by Selena Ryan-Vig
Our student bloggers are welcome to blog about any topic or issue related to evidence-based healthcare that interests them. However, if you’re thinking of blogging for Students 4 Best Evidence, andÂ are unsure where to start, below are a list of suggested topics you might like to choose from.
- What is performance bias?
- What is an â€œeconomic analysisâ€?
- What does â€œno evidence of effectâ€/â€evidence of no effectâ€ mean and how do they differ?
- Prioritisation â€“ how are research topics prioritised?
- How might patients be involved in prioritising research? (An example is the James Lind Alliance)
- What databases are there? PubMed, EMBASE, LILACS, CENTRAL
- What is a â€œcomposite outcomeâ€? Why are they reported? What is the significance?
- What are â€œcut-off pointsâ€?
- How do patients values and beliefs get taken into account when practising evidence-based healthcare?
- What is â€œunwarranted variation in practiceâ€?
- What is a â€œROCâ€ curve (receiver operator characteristics)?
- What is a â€œpost hoc analysisâ€? How do we interpret these results?
- What is â€œdata dredgingâ€ or a â€œfishing tripâ€?
- What is statistical power and how do you calculate it?
- What is â€œpreference-sensitive careâ€?
- What is an â€œas treatedâ€ analysis?
- What is a â€œper protocolâ€ analysis?
- What do trialists do about participants who are â€œlost to follow-upâ€?
- What is a cross-over trial?
- What are ‘adverse events’ and why is it so important that they are recorded and reported in studies?
Issues and debates within evidence-based healthcare
- The seamier side of academia; lying, cheating and occasionally stealing. Retractions (withdrawals) of journal articles are increasing (more than the publication rate of articles is increasing). Moreover, misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. But how do some researchers get away with malpractice for so long and what is being done to tackle the issue? (See retractionwatch.com – a website keeping track of the authors who have had the highest number of retractions (e.g. for falsifying data)).
- What evidence-based healthcare currently is vs. what it should be (in an ideal, but not necessarily unrealistic, world).
- Communicating risk: how figures can be (mis)used and the difference between absolute and relative risk. (Have a look at understandinguncertainty.org from which the following is taken: â€œA good example to start with is â€˜bacon sandwichesâ€™. A major report estimated that there was a 20% increased risk of bowel cancer if you ate 50g of processed meat every day â€“ thatâ€™s a large bacon sandwich. This was reported in the Sun with the headline: “Careless pork costs lives!“. This is a relative risk, and can sound quite frightening. But for an average person, the chance of getting bowel cancer at some point in their life is around 5%. A 20% relative increase on this translates to a lifetime risk of 6%, or an increase of 1% in absolute risk, which now does not sound so badâ€).
- The role (and responsibility of!) the media for disseminating research to policy-makers, practitioners and patients.
- The perverse incentives (publication, funding, promotion) in academia to produce positive results.
- Patients and the public tend to have unrealistic expectations about interventions, overestimating the benefits and underestimating potential harms. This may be contributing to the problem of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. (See http://bit.ly/1rvoOkj)
- â€˜The medicalization of normal?â€™ Allen Francis, the chair of DSM-IV has been vocal concerns about over-diagnosis in psychiatry. Are we witnessing the medicalization of â€˜ordinaryâ€™ issues? And what are the implications â€“ stigma; exposure to potentially harmful (unnecessary) medications; misallocation of resources etc.
- â€œMaking people sick in the pursuit of medicineâ€. The problems and harms associated with over-treatment (from over-detection, to over-diagnosis, to over-treatment).
- Poor health literacy among the general population and the implications of this (see http://bit.ly/29lU0Ny)
Health in the media series
We’re also looking for students to start up ourÂ ‘health in the media’ series again, looking at the claims made in the media about various interventions and evaluating whether these claims are true to the evidence.
Reviews of resources
We’re also looking for students to write short, informal reviews of learning resources, giving feedback on how useful they find them. You can find more information here.Â
Evidently Cochrane, our sister blogging website, are also looking for bloggers and have a list of suggested blog topics on their website.