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Tips for charting the course of a successful health research career

Authors Mbuagbaw L, Morfaw F, Kunda J, Mukonzo JK, Kastner J, Zhang S, Kokolo M, Thabane L

Received 3 March 2013

Accepted for publication 12 March 2013

Published 24 April 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 163—168

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S44738

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Lawrence Mbuagbaw,1–3 Frederick Morfaw,4 John-Eudes L Kunda,5 Jackson K Mukonzo,6 Jasmine Kastner,7 Shiyuan Zhang,2,3 Madzouka Kokolo,8 Lehana Thabane1,3,9–11

1Centre for Development of Best Practices in Health, Yaounde Central Hospital, Yaounde, Cameroon; 2Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 3Biostatistics Unit, Father Sean O'Sullivan Research Centre, St Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton, ON, Canada; 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicines and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde 1, Yaounde, Cameroon; 5Community Information and Epidemiological Technologies, Lusaka, Zambia; 6School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda; 7Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada; 8Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 9Departments of Pediatrics and Anaesthesia, McMaster University, 10Centre for Evaluation of Medicine, St Joseph's Healthcare, 11Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, ON, Canada

Abstract: Young health researchers all over the world often encounter difficulties in the early stages of their careers. Formal acquisition of research skills in academic settings does not always offer sufficient guidance to overcome these challenges. Based on the collective experiences of some young researchers and research mentors, we describe some tips for a successful health career and offer some useful resources. These tips include: institutional affiliation, early manuscript writing, early manuscript reviewing, finding a mentor, collaboration and networking, identifying sources of funding, establishing research interests, investing in research methods training, developing interpersonal and personal skills, providing mentorship, and balancing work with everyday life. The rationale behind these tips and how to achieve them is provided.

Keywords: health research career, young researcher, guidance

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