The aim of the Psychiatry Research Week was to empower and sharpen individual researchers with key knowledge and skills to advance their careers in the field of research, to improve the quality of research publications, and to grow the institution’s profile for research. The research week consisted of two separate workshops: the first workshop focused on systematic reviews, and the second focused on statistics and best practices for academic writing.

Dr. Dickens Akena from Makerere University College of Health Sciences was a guest lecturer and presented on systematic reviews and their importance for research. His presentation covered different topics including: what is systematic review, research topic and the introduction of a systematic review; writing an abstract and screening of full articles; critical appraisal of published literature review; introduction to data analysis; and using search terms in a database.

Dr. Christina Borba from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM)/Boston Medical Center (BMC) presented on statistics and writing with ease, with a focus on quantitative studies. Dr. Borba introduced statistics by highlighting the crucial elements of statistics and introduced the data analysis software SPSS, which can assist researchers in capturing, manipulating, assessing, and interpreting data accurately. MMed and PhD students had the opportunity to meet individually with Dr. Borba, where she provided guidance on their research topics. There were also group sessions where the participants talked about their research project and status, approach they are using to answer their research questions, and challenges they are encountering throughout the process.

Feedback received from the participants indicate that the workshop was very important to them as they advance their studies at the postgraduate level. The training also introduced new tools that are appropriate and useful for conducting different types of research and how researchers can minimize the challenges they face while gathering data, compiling literature reviews, and using databases to extract relevant information. Overall, the training gave current and future researchers the opportunity to breakdown their research projects into clear steps: 1) simplify the research problem; 2) identify the gap in a literature; 3) polish your data analysis skills; and 4) data presentation. Participants suggested that future workshops should include tools for and training in qualitative research methods as some students are conducting qualitative or mixed-methods research studies.

The UKZN Dept. of Psychiatry thanks all those who participated in this year’s Psychiatry Research Week and looks forward to expanding future iterations of the training!