Suggested blog topics
Posted on 15th July 2020 by Emma Carter
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, and are unsure where to start, below are a list of suggested topics you might like to choose from.
- What does ‘no evidence of effect’/ ‘evidence of no effect’ mean and how do they differ? (a useful reference paper for this is: “Claims of ‘no difference’ or ‘no effect’ in Cochrane and other systematic reviews“.
- What is a ‘Living Systematic Review’?
- What is a ‘Rapid Review’?
- What is ‘grey literature’ and possible sources? (a useful reference paper is: Grey Matters: a practical tool for searching health-related grey literature)
- What is an ‘economic analysis’?
- What is ‘multivariate analysis’?
- An introduction to which databases to use for a literature search e.g PubMed, EMBASE, LILACS, CENTRAL
- How do patients values and beliefs get taken into account when practising evidence-based healthcare?
- What is ‘data dredging’ or a ‘fishing trip’?
- What do trialists do about participants who are ‘lost to follow-up’?
- What do we do when we can’t randomize?
- What are composite endpoints and their possible strengths and weaknesses?
- What is a cross-over trial and what are the strengths and weaknesses of this study design?
- What are ‘adverse events’ and why is it so important that they are recorded and reported in studies?
- What are ‘phase I, II, III and IV trials’?
- What are the different types of study designs?
- What is a case report and what are the strengths and weaknesses of this study design?
- What are ‘measures of effect’ and ‘measures of impact’?
- What is ‘prevalence’ and ‘incidence’?
- Why and how do we calculate ‘standardised mortality ratio’?
- What is ‘statistical interaction’ and biological interaction’?
- What are ‘sampling methods’?
- What are the principles of data management and presentation in health research? How to present data effectively?
- What are the principles for statistical reporting biomedical journals?
- Why was the ‘CONSORT Statement’ introduced?
- An introduction to probability
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: A good example to start with is bacon sandwiches. A major report estimated that there was a 20% increased risk of bowel cancer if you ate 50g of processed meat every day that’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 bad!).
- 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 this systematic review on: Patients’ Expectations of the Benefits and Harms of Treatments, Screening, and Tests)
- ‘Making people sick in the pursuit of medicine’. 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 this newspaper article looking at how health illiteracy could be the death of us.)
Health in the media series
We’re also looking for students to continue our ‘health in the media‘ series, looking at the claims made in the media about various interventions and evaluating whether these claims are true to the evidence.
Reviews of resources
You could also choose to write a short, informal review of a learning resource, giving feedback on how useful you find them. You can find more information on this ‘help us review resources‘ page or also on our ‘Library‘ page.