Prac. Research Methods for Surgeons I (SURG5001)


Evidence-based Surgery: How to find, assess, interpret and PRODUCE the evidence

Evidence-based Medicine involves the application of current best evidence when making decisions about the care of patients, but where is the evidence in Surgery and how strong is it? Should patients receive prophylactic antibiotics when undergoing hernia repair? How does laparoscopic compare to open surgery? Stent or surgery in vascular disease? Which patients need adjuvant therapy after oncological surgery? This course will provide direct instruction on how to read, understand and fully evaluate surgical publications to enable you to apply the findings to your own clinical practice.

As every surgeon knows, there is no better way of learning a procedure than doing it yourself. Similarly, the best way to understand surgical research is to perform it. Therefore, the course will provide students with a step-by-step guide that will demystify and guide students through the process of surgical research. The focus is to provide students with the knowledge, tools and skills to undertake their own research study both within the Masters of Surgery and beyond. It will cover key aspects from identifying study question, searching and appraising the literature, selecting appropriate study design, to designing a study, outcome measures and methods for data collection. It will also cover issues affecting study quality, such as bias and confounding.
By the end of the course you will be able to (i) read, understand and fully evaluate surgical publications and (ii) develop a research protocol of your own and undertake a comprehensive literature review in your selected clinical area of interest with a view to subsequent peer-review publication. The course will involve interactive lectures and practical exercises and opportunities to interact with key experts in the field. Assessment will be based on attendance and participation in workshops and submission of a written assignment.

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Further unit of study information


4x 5 hr workshops. Participants will be able to achieve each module's objectives by completing the provided essential reading, working through the set questions and taking part in the workshops. For each module, additional reading and resources will be provided for those who wish to pursue the topic in more detail.


Participation (40%). Participation marks are awarded for the submission of set exercises and attendance at workshops. Written assignment (60%).

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.