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Research 101 – Mind The Gap

Research, despite being an essential for all in the field of medicine, can be intimidating to anyone looking to get started in it. To help the students of KMC, Manipal ease into it, the Student Research Forum took it upon themselves to organise a novel series of workshops that break down the complicated concepts of research in easy-to-understand ways.

Research 101: Mind the Gap, held on 9th November, 2023, was the first of this series, and proved to be a truly great start with nearly 60 registrations. The event kicked off with a warm welcome extended to the participants and speakers of the event, Dr. Shankar M. Bakkanavvar and Dr. Revathi Shenoy, by Lalit Ritwik Pullela, Vanshita Kapoor and Shivam Thaker. 

Dr. Shankar then discussed knowledge gaps, one of seven different kinds of research gaps, and despite this being a completely new concept to the majority of the participants, his simplified and thorough explanations helped everyone understand what knowledge gaps are and how to find them. His discussions helped emphasise the sharp eye and creativity required to do research, all while maintaining a steady flow of logical thought. 

Once the applause to conclude his talk died down, Dr. Revathi proceeded to discuss literature reviews in a uniquely interactive way. Her discussion drew the participants in and had everyone get involved, adding to the liveliness of the room. With her tips and tricks on how best to go about literature reviews, it’s no wonder that everyone was paying close attention to her words. 

Then came the highlight of the event—the interactive part where participants were expected to apply the knowledge they had just acquired and find their own knowledge gaps. 

This hands-on part of the workshop was met with great excitement from all the participants as it was their first exposure to the process of doing research. Once everyone had been split into 5 groups, a brief writeup on obesity was provided, as well as a link with several research articles that delved into the various aspects mentioned in the writeup. 

Participants were then asked to discuss and find knowledge gaps in these research papers, under the guidance of one appointed guide from SRF per group. The presence of a guide to supervise them on what would and wouldn’t be a good knowledge gap to explore, and how to improve upon their ideas for knowledge gaps, was what truly made this research simulation a valuable learning experience. 

With the freedom to discuss their wildest ideas and the help of the guides in taming these ideas into something practical, it came as no surprise that each of the groups came up with brilliant ideas. From wanting to establish a solid link between psychology, obesity and glucose metabolism to exploring the Obesity Paradox and its implications, the ideas that were put forth by everyone created a perpetual fountain of knowledge. 

As the participants explored their ideas, regardless of how random or outlandish they may have seemed, and learned to refine them into something more feasible, howls of laughter resounded in the hall. The lack of restrictions in brainstorming ideas was what truly helped the environment become one that was interactive and lively, thus painting research in the participants’ minds as a truly fun rather than intimidating aspect of the medical career. 

With the direction of their guide, several groups decided to use the knowledge gaps they’d proposed as the basis for their first research project, thus proving the workshop to be a truly helpful and productive one that helped make research far more approachable to all those who attended. 

Photographs by: Pranav Venugopal, The Editorial Board KMC
Authored by: Rohita Mahesh, The Editorial Board KMC
Coverage by: Sourabh Singh, The Editorial Board KMC