‘Research For All’ is a programme launched by ARCS in 2021 with the aim of supporting ARCS members to get involved in service development or individual research projects.
This meeting was the first hosting a variety of speakers sharing advice and experience to encourage Reproductive Scientists to explore how to use their own data in research projects. Individual mentoring is also available from the Scientific Advisory Committee of ARCS on request.
Joanne Carey is a post-registration Clinical Embryologist at Fertility Exeter
Like many post-registration embryologists, my attentions have been well and truly focussed on the day to day running of the lab, and while evidence-based research has always been at the forefront of my practice, the opportunity to contribute to the development of our field has never really arisen.
As I approach the end of my first year in the HSST programme however, my thoughts are already turning towards the dreaded research component. It has been many years since I undertook any kind of research so this online ARCS event couldn’t have come along at a better time!
The day began with insightful talks by Eloise Burt and Mollie McGrane who gave fantastic overviews of planning and presenting research pre-registration (STP study) and post-registration respectively. Both talks included some very useful tips and advice and highlighted important considerations such as the potential requirement for ethical approval and the length of time that this can take.
Dr Jack Wilkinson followed with a fascinating ‘how to’ guide on statistics (an area that terrifies many of us, including me). His explanation of ‘p hacking’ and the importance of the three P’s (prespecification, power and precision) in research was particularly enlightening and certainly gave me a much better appreciation of well-designed studies that fail to find significance. I heard the expression ‘every researcher needs a Jack in their lives’ on more than one occasion following this session and I couldn’t agree more!
Next was a fantastic overview of retrospective and prospective analyses from Dr Amy Barrie with some invaluable tips on study planning and design and great advice and resource recommendations for data handling and journal publications. Staying on the subject of publications, the morning drew to a close with Dr Peter Ruane’s brilliant explanation of the peer review process and some wonderful advice on abstract writing and poster composition. This was followed by a fascinating update on his own research on endometrial organoids.
the morning drew to a close with Dr Peter Ruane’s brilliant explanation of the peer review process and some wonderful advice on abstract writing and poster composition.
The afternoon focussed on critical analysis as we worked through a publication together with Prof Roger Sturmey, who helped us question much of the methodologies and analyses used in what seemed at first glance like a very robust paper. Roger then took us through ‘the good the bad and the ugly’ of published papers. This session certainly opened my eyes to the emergence of ‘pay to publish’ online journals and the ever-growing abundance of new journals (so-called ‘churnals’) and reinforced the consideration of the Impact Factor of a journal when planning a submission.
The day ended with breakout sessions, allowing participants to talk freely in small groups with all of the experts (including Prof Sheena Lewis, a member of the ARCS Scientific Advisory Committee, who had contributed her expertise throughout the day). These sessions were incredibly helpful, allowing me to quiz those in the know about my ideas and concerns regarding my own impending research and I came away from this with some great tips and a tonne of inspiration.
Well done ARCS for providing such a well-rounded and accessible event for those of us less experienced in research, and to Georgina Bartl for coordinating and chairing the event so professionally.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this event to any embryologist wishing to expand their knowledge in this area.