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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 69-74

The knowledge and awareness on research methodology among dentists in Telangana region, India


Department of Oral Pathology, Panineeya Institute of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Date of Web Publication15-Mar-2016

Correspondence Address:
Yashovardhan Naishadham
Plot No: 126, H. No: 3-10-26/30/1, R. T. C. Colony, Ramanthapur, Hyderabad - 500 013, Telangana,
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2319-5932.178722

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  Abstract 

Introduction: In this era of scientific advancement, research is vital and forms the heart of the knowledge expansion. Dentistry is one the fastest evolving branches of science in today's world and needless to say, it is centered on research. In India, research is a part of postgraduate curriculum. Many research works are conducted by postgraduates as a necessity, but very few do it with actual interest. Hence, in this study, we plan to conduct a survey on the awareness of dentists toward research in Telangana region. Aim: To assess the knowledge and highlight the need to learn research methodology for dentists in Telangana region. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted with 15 close-ended questions to know different ideologies among dentists for planning a research and to correlate opinions from dentists of various regions of Telangana state. A total of 115 participants took part in the study. They gave their consent for the study and gave their opinions with their free will. We categorized our results according to the designation of the participants and the answers that were given for each question. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 22. Results: A statistically significant difference (P < 0.05) of opinions was obtained with regards to the type of study that was preferred, type of analysis that was done, and obtaining a statistically significant value for their results. Conclusion: There is considerable variation when it comes to planning minor steps of study with few basics being overlooked. There is a need for establishing a standardized protocol for planning a study.

Keywords: Awareness, knowledge, questionnaire, research


How to cite this article:
Kumar J V, Pacha VB, Naishadham Y. The knowledge and awareness on research methodology among dentists in Telangana region, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2016;14:69-74

How to cite this URL:
Kumar J V, Pacha VB, Naishadham Y. The knowledge and awareness on research methodology among dentists in Telangana region, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Oct 15];14:69-74. Available from: http://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2016/14/1/69/178722


  Introduction Top


Research forms the basis for scientific knowledge and learning. The word “research” is derived from French “recherche” meaning “to go about seeking.”[1] Research has been growing globally at an accelerating rate in the past century. In the 21st century, a discovery is being made every day. With the advent of internet over the turn of the millennium, an immense amount of information has become available for everyone across the globe leading to a “paradigm shift” toward research-oriented and self-directed learning.[2],[3]

Even in the field of dentistry, progress and expansion of knowledge through research are happening at an astronomical pace. Although in India, research is not given the highest importance in education curriculum as there is gross shortage of resources, both money and manpower.[3] However, the number of institutions offering courses which include research in their curriculum is on a rise. With an increasing number of students undertaking research, the number of projects has increased proportionately and a few basics are overlooked while focus is being put on more recent and advanced information. Although research methodology is taught at undergraduate level in theory, practical application under varied circumstances gives rise to different problems. Thorough awareness on research methodology helps in tackling these problems.

Our search through literature has led us to studies evaluating the awareness of research methodology among medical students in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.[4],[5],[6] Although Harsha Kumar et al. reported awareness on research methodology among medical students of coastal regions of South India, very few studies have been reported among dental students.[7] To our knowledge, these kind of studies among dentists have not been reported in Telangana region. As research is an irreplaceable component of our learning curve, we tried to assess the awareness on research methodology among dentists at a private institution in Hyderabad, Telangana. The aim of our study is to highlight the need for dentists in Telangana region to learn research methodology. The objectives of our study are to analyze the areas of research methodology where dentists from Telangana region require training to improve their research projects.


  Materials and Methods Top


The present study was a cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study conducted in a private dental postgraduate institution in Telangana region, India. Ethical clearance from the Institutional Ethical Committee was obtained.

A questionnaire containing 15 close-ended questions was designed in English as it was the most preferred medium of communication. The questionnaire was checked for its validity and reliability by a panel of staff members. Suggested changes to the questions and the options were done. A pretest was conducted with the help of postgraduate students from a different institution and suggested changes were done. After standardization, the questionnaire was administered to the participants. Standardization was performed following the WHO guidelines for questionnaire preparation.[8]

A total of 132 participants were approached, out of which only 114 were included in the study. The participants included were postgraduate students because they perform research as a part of their curriculum. Along with postgraduate students, staff members were also included as they are involved in research through their postgraduates. Undergraduate students and interns were excluded from the study as they do not conduct research regularly. Prior to administration, a brief interview was conducted where the purpose of the questionnaire and the instructions were explained. Multiple responses were discouraged. Verbal consent was obtained from the participants.

The responses given by the participants were coded as per their option numbers and if a question was skipped, it was given a distinct code. A data sheet was prepared by allotting a column for each question and row for each participant. A “flat” rectangular file of numbers was produced to facilitate ease of calculation.[9]

The data was analyzed using IBM statistical package for social sciences (SPSS v.22). Frequency distribution and response rate for each question were obtained. Chi-square test was performed. A P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


  Results Top


Participants were divided into four groups as follows: Among the 114 participants, 39 (34.21%) were the 1st year postgraduate students, 32 (28.07%) were the 2nd year postgraduates, 14 (12.28%) were the 3rd year postgraduate students, and 29 (25.43%) were staff. Our results for each question are mentioned in [Table 1].
Table 1: Comparison between staff and students in each item of awareness on research methodology

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Participants showed statistically significant (0.0035) variation for the question on the type of study. A Chi-square value of 29.3456 was obtained. The 1st year postgraduates gave almost similar response rate to all the types of studies in comparison to other groups which showed a tendency toward either a prospective study or a retrospective study [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Graph depicting results of question 2

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A number of variables considered as parameters by the participants also showed statistically significant (0.0369) variation with Chi-square value of 17.8594. All the groups preferred 4–6 variables as parameters. However, the 3rd year postgraduates preferred less number 1–3 variables as their parameters [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Graph depicting results of question 5

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Participants preferred to rely on a professional statistician for analyzing their results rather than doing it themselves. This preference was statistically significant (0.0268) with Chi-square value of 9.1972. This pattern was observed among all the groups [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Graph depicting results of question 10

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Both inferential and descriptive statistics were preferred by all the groups of participants instead of either one being performed singly. The variation showed Chi-square value of 17.2922 which was significant (0.0083) [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Graph depicting results of question 11

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Participants showed significant variation (0.0025) in their opinion when asked, “If your results are not statistically significant, is your study void?” Participants from all the groups felt that such interpretation is not necessary. A Chi-square value of 20.2940 was obtained [Figure 5]. About 91.23% of the participants felt that a dental researcher should have knowledge of statistics. Surprisingly, this observation was not statistically significant.
Figure 5: Graph depicting results of question 14

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Topic selection for research project yielded mixed responses. Although recent advances in the subject were the favored area, it yielded a Chi-square value of 6.5847 and was a statistically insignificant (0.8838) variation.

Among experimental studies, participants gave the least preference to animal studies with a Chi-square value of 7.8737 yielding an insignificant variation (0.2475).

Use of special stains and microscopes as their aid in the research projects was unpopular among participants with a Chi-square value of 12.6842 which was statistically insignificant (0.3924) variation.

Majority of the participants agreed to eliminate bias in their studies, but 7 participants felt it was unnecessary. This observation yielded a Chi-square value of 12.9547 and was statistically insignificant (0.1647) variation.

Knowledge of statistics was felt necessary by 9 out of 10 participants. A Chi-square value of 4.8420 was obtained for this observation with a statistically insignificant variation (0.1838).


  Discussion Top


Research and research methodologies remain an intriguing topic and a topic of great debate with each individual step of methodology undergoing numerous changes to fall in line with the ever changing trends of conducting a study.

Through our search of the literature, we could find documentation with respect to research methodology among medical students, but very little work has been conducted in dental community. Even among dentists, studies were conducted about inclination toward research, but we could not come across a questionnaire pertaining to various aspects of research methodology.

Our results show a significant variation with regard to the question on the type of study. Type of study design is dictated by the hypotheses, aims, and objectives of the study. According to Peinemann and Kleijnen, a researcher should consider different forms of research such as descriptive, analytical, and experimental models before finalizing the outline of their project.[10] Prospective studies are preferable when the sample is readily available, but they are usually expensive. Retrospective studies are preferable when the sample is rare, but they are usually inexpensive. Moreover, prospective studies have a follow-up period which is absent in retrospective studies. In prospective and retrospective studies, there are no variables under researcher's control but in case of experimental studies, the number and the manner of influence on the variable reside with the researcher.[11]

The number of variables considered while building a research design also varies according to the topic of interest. It is impossible and impractical to design a study which considers all the variables affecting result. Although the design becomes complicated with increasing number of variables, it is advisable to consider all the variables which have a direct impact on the result. Considering very few variable might not produce a reliable result.[12] Numerous methods have been proposed to determine the number of variables required for selection. A variable has to be checked for its predictability before considering it as a parameter for the study using logistic regression.[13]

All the participants in our study preferred a professional statistician for the analysis of their results. Although the reason for this preference cannot be determined, basic knowledge of mathematics is required for statistical analysis; however, special training in the area could go a long way in increasing the validity of the study.[14]

Majority of the participants preferred recent advances as they offer scope for framing new studies readily. Similarly most of the participants were not interested in animal studies as they are highly technique sensitive, expensive and need ethical clearance which is difficult to obtain. Similarly, most of the participants chose to avoid the use special stains and microscopes as the equipment is costly and not readily available. Bias cannot be eliminated completely, but an attempt has to be made to minimize it as it affects the validity of the study. Though majority of the participant agree to this, very few felt that it was unnecessary. Interpretation of results acts as proof for the validity of the study and also the proper implementation of the planning. Almost 9 out of 10 participants agreed that knowledge of statistics is important of a researcher but surprisingly.


  Conclusion Top


The dental researchers need to be trained in areas of research methodology such as type of study, variable determination, and type of statistics to be used for a particular set of variables.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Jamuna R, Priya M. Knowledge, attitude and practice on medical research: The perspective of medical students. Biosci Biotechnol Res Asia 2014;11:115-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Iqbal A, Glenny AM. General dental practitioners' knowledge of and attitudes towards evidence based practice. Br Dent J 2002;193:587-91.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Gupta M, Kasulkar A. Awareness of research among dental students in Central India. J Evol Med Dent Sci 2014;3:6923-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Alghamdi KM, Moussa NA, Alessa DS, Alothimeen N, Al-Saud AS. Perceptions, attitudes and practices toward research among senior medical students. Saudi Pharm J 2014;22:113-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Amin T, Kaliyadan F, Qattan E, Majed M, Khanjaf H, Mirza M. Knowledge, attitudes and barriers related to participation of medical students in research in three Arab Universities. Educ Med J 2012;4:e47-55. Available from: http://www.eduimed.com/index.php/eimj/rt/printerFriendly/7/0. [Last accessed on 2015 Dec 03].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Khan H, Khawaja MR, Waheed A, Rauf MA, Fatmi Z. Knowledge and attitudes about health research amongst a group of Pakistani medical students. BMC Med Educ 2006;6:54.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Harsha Kumar H, Jayaram S, Kumar GS, Vinita J, Rohit S, Satish M, et al. Perception, practices towards research and predictors of research career among UG medical students from coastal South India: A cross-sectional study. Indian J Community Med 2009;34:306-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Omi S. Health Research Methodology: A Guide for Training in Research Methods. 2nd ed. Manila: World Health Organization; 2001.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Available from: http://www.reading.ac.uk/ssc/resources/ApproachesToTheAnalysisOfSurveyData.pdf. [Last accessed on 2015 Mar 11].  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Peinemann F, Kleijnen J. Development of an algorithm to provide awareness in choosing study designs for inclusion in systematic reviews of healthcare interventions: A method study. BMJ Open 2015;5:e007540.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Peter S. Essentials of Preventive and Community Dentistry. 4th ed. New Delhi: Arya (Medi) Publishing House; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Sauerbrei W, Royston P, Binder H. Selection of important variables and determination of functional form for continuous predictors in multivariable model building. Stat Med 2007;26:5512-28.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Beyene J, Atenafu EG, Hamid JS, To T, Sung L. Determining relative importance of variables in developing and validating predictive models. BMC Med Res Methodol 2009;9:64.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Kim J, Dialey R. Biostatistics for Oral Health Care. Australia: Blackwell Publishing Asia Pvt. Ltd.; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 14
    


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