Getting started in research

Identify your special interest

Some people come into psychiatry with a very clear sense of the research questions they want to answer but the majority of trainees do not. A good way to start is to start thinking about what is of particular interest to you and use that as a starting block; for some people this can be a disease area for others a methodology. Once you have a sense of this you can start finding out about the area, and seeing if any meetings are taking place at which it is discussed so you can check if it really is the right choice for you.

The » BRC website provides a list of current researchers, their interests and research opportunities and is a good way to search for potential projects and supervisors.


Mentors and Supervisor

The next step in developing a research career is to identify a mentor and/or a supervisor:

A mentor is usually someone who is involved in research and can help you with decisions about finding supervisors and choosing a project, as well as helping with the day to day stresses of trying to develop a research career, complete a clinical training and pass exams!

A supervisor is someone who will steer you though all of the stages of your research project development from the initial idea, to grant writing, seeking funding, applying for ethical permission, undertaking the work, analysing the data and finally publishing it.


There is no “best time” to start doing research; if you have identified a question and a supervisor then you should discuss with them how best to take things forward, which is very often by undertaking a literature review or joining someone else research project rather than leading on your own project.

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