The ability to consume and produce research is an inherent element of graduate education. Lecture and laboratory work in this program is designed to foster the development of the necessary skills to both consume and produce research. PT5370, Research Methods I (first semester) and PT5371, Research Methods II (third semester) consist of material covering critical analysis, research design, and statistics. In addition, students complete a literature review summary table, and assist with the conduct of a faculty-directed, clinically relevant research project.
The research project is developed by an individual faculty member or a Faculty Research Advisory Committee. The research proposal will have already received approval from the Clinical Investigations Committee, Institutional Review Board, and the Commander of Brooke Army Medical Center. After having an opportunity to review and discuss the research proposals, students are responsible for organizing research groups of four students each. A Faculty Research Advisory Committee (FRAC) for each project will be appointed by the Director of Research. The FRAC will consist of at least three individuals: two Physical Therapy Branch faculty members and a third member who has expertise in the area selected for study. The third member is not required to be a core faculty member. A Physical Therapy Branch faculty member will serve as the chair of the FRAC, and will be responsible for approval of changes in the research protocol throughout the duration of the project.
During the first semester, students complete a literature review summary table which highlights the literature relevant to the research project and begin data collection. Upon completion of data collection in the second semester, the students will prepare a research manuscript. This manuscript is in the format required of a journal that has been selected by the faculty-directed, student-assisted research group.
The research requirement is graded as both an individual and a group effort. Research is usually a trial and error process that evolves over time. The grading of the research requirement reflects the process involved in research, as well as the product. The grading is designed such that all students must demonstrate an understanding of their faculty-directed project, as well as adherence to sound scientific principles.
An inherent component of the research process is the dissemination of the findings to as large an audience as possible. The ideal methods for this are the presentation of the research at a regional, national, or international conference, as well as publication in a peer-reviewed, national or international journal.
The critical analysis element of the program consists of student reviews of published research. Working in small groups (two or three), manuscripts selected by the Research Director are reviewed in detail by students, and the analyses are presented to the entire class and faculty. These reviews are graded, and are an element of Research Methods II.