Doctoral Journey Guide
“If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” - Albert Einstein
If you are reading this: congratulations! You are lucky to have been born at the best time in history.
A few centuries ago scientific method was developed, but it has been in the last few decades that the full power of scientific knowledge has been unleashed for the benefit of mankind. A century ago, half of all children died before puberty. But not you, you are alive! Just like many of your classmates! So, congratulations on being born in the best time in history to live: the era of science! Of course, it is not a perfect era. The fact that we have quality information has brought a problem that we did not foresee, and that is that we not only live in the information era, but in the era of disinformation.
So, congratulations on wanting to contribute your time, skills, and gifts to make the world a better place. Here I have compiled some materials that I hope will help you and give you a perspective on the current scientific knowledge.
A perspective to keep in mind (click on the image)
“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” ― Carl Sagan
Readings & Resources
Updated in the Books Section
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Sagan C and Druyan A
The Basic Laws Of Human Stupidity, Carlo Cipolla
How our brain works
The real world
Factfulness, Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Rosling
Dealing with data
The Art of Statistics, David Spiegelhalter
Advanced and Specific issues with Clinical Research
My educational philosophy
My research and educational philosophy
You discover things when you are learning
You never stop learning
The best work is work done
One should not get attached to knowledge, and should let it go without problems if there are new ones.
Is that an opinion or a fact?
The path to learning begins by recognizing that you don't know something.
The work-life balance issue is irrelevant. The important thing is to be happy.
What I expect from a doctoral student
These are the main attributes that I appreciate in a doctoral candidate:
Identifying gaps in knowledge
Willingness learn new things and to forgetting some things
Ability to change the perspective on an issue
Ability to change opinion when considering new information
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ― Stephen Hawking.
"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable! ― L. Beethoven.
“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” ― Richard Feynmann
"I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy." ― Marie Skłodowska Curie
Compulsory readings & videos
How to use GDocs here. It is particularly important not to add spaces between paragraphs. If you want to create a new page, add a page break. Learn how to use versions and add comments and actions items
How to use PubMed
Critical thinking Lecture, by Prof Michael Glick (video, 1hr)
Ellis SE, Leek JT. 2017. How to share data for collaboration. PeerJ Preprints 5:e3139v5
Broman KW, Woo KH. 2018. Data organization in spreadsheets. PeerJ Preprints 6:e3183v2
Converting data into information
Learning to use a statistical program: Ten simple rules for teaching yourself R
Book: Compulsory: Vu & Harrington 2020. Introductory statistics for the life and biomedical sciences (free book here, print version ISBN-10: 1943450129). Also recommended (optional):
Kirkwood, B., Sterne, J., 2003. Essential Medical Statistics ISBN-10: 0865428719
Norman GR, Streiner DL. Pdq Statistics 3rd Edition. ISBN-10: 1550092073
Wickham and Grolemund. R for Data Science free book https://r4ds.had.co.nz/ or ISBN-10: 1491910399
Research study design
The history of dental research: J Dent Res Centennial anniversary here
Waste research selected lectures here
How to read a paper, serie JADA here
Book: Browner, W.S., Newman, T.B., Cummings, S.R., Grady, D.G., 2022. Designing Clinical Research. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Book: Clinical: Schulz, K., Grimes, D.A., 2018. Essential concepts in clinical research: Randomised controlled trials and observational epidemiology, 2nd ed. Elsevier Health Sciences, London, England. (also available in The Lancet series)
Book: Fletcher, G.S., 2019. Clinical Epidemiology: The Essentials. Wolters Kluwer.
Book: Westreich, D., 2019. Epidemiology by Design: A Causal Approach to the Health Sciences. Oxford University Press.
Reference Book: Moher, D 2014. Guidelines for Reporting Health Research: A User’s Manual. Wiley.
Schwab S, Janiaud P, Dayan M, Amrhein V, Panczak R, Palagi PM, et al. Ten simple rules in good research practice for early career researchers. 2021.
Belleville G. Sit down and write your thesis! Practical and motivational tips for scientific writing. Can J Cardiol. 2019;35:945–7.
Assel M, Sjoberg D, Elders A, Wang X, Huo D, Botchway A, et al. Guidelines for reporting of statistics for clinical research in urology. BJU Int. 2019;123:401–10.
Vickers AJ, Assel MJ, Sjoberg DD, Qin R, Zhao Z, Koyama T, et al. Guidelines for Reporting of Figures and Tables for Clinical Research in Urology. Eur Urol. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2020.04.048.
Skills required for biomedical research
How to search: Internet search beyond the first page of results and how to write good questions
Understand the nature of research in dentistry serie JADA
How to read the medical literature serie JADA
Scientific writing: Scientific writing, this and you should buy this book: Moher, D 2014. Guidelines for Reporting Health Research: A User’s Manual. Wiley and how to write a grant application. Also how to use to use Google Docs here (yes, again!)
Presentations Oral presentations skills
Basic Data Analisis: self-paced course
Open science: course and paper 10 rules to implement open and reproducible research
Some quotes for inspiration
"I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy." ― Marie Curie, '
"There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery." ― E. Fermi (1901 - 1954)
“An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature’s answer.” ― Max Planck
“What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.” ― Isaac Newton
“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” ― Galileo Galilei
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ― Stephen Hawking
“What I love about science is that as you learn, you don’t really get answers. You just get better questions.” ― John Green
“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.” ― Claude Levi-Strauss
“Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer; art is everything else.” ― Donald E. Knuth
"If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off... no matter what they say." ― Barbara McClintock