|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 230-232
Ground realities regarding systematic review as library dissertation for postgraduate students in dentistry – A perspective
Pradnya V Kakodkar1, K Pushpanjali2
1 Department of Research, DR D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Faculty of Dental Sciences, M S Ramaiah University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
|Date of Submission||13-Dec-2020|
|Date of Decision||27-May-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||09-Jun-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||15-Oct-2021|
Pradnya V Kakodkar
Department of Research, Dr D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kakodkar PV, Pushpanjali K. Ground realities regarding systematic review as library dissertation for postgraduate students in dentistry – A perspective. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2021;19:230-2
|How to cite this URL:|
Kakodkar PV, Pushpanjali K. Ground realities regarding systematic review as library dissertation for postgraduate students in dentistry – A perspective. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 6];19:230-2. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2021/19/3/230/328277
| Introduction|| |
The undergraduate program leading to the BDS degree has the ultimate aim of producing graduates who are competent of practicing general dentistry with necessary skills such as patient care, operating dental practice, communication, and few other general skills which are not taught with great emphasis. Going forward, a fortunate few get admitted for postgraduation course in dentistry. The MDS curriculum prescribed by the Dental Council of India is structured to facilitate learning skills in clinical aspects, research and as the future academician. Precisely, speaking about the research skills, the structured training schedule for MDS, indicates that the student has to submit synopsis in the first 6 months, undertake library assignments (in the first year), short-term projects (in the second year), submit completed dissertation (in the third year) and also accomplish seminars, journal clubs and critical evaluation of scientific articles during the 3 years. It is unfortunate that the undergraduate training for research skills is a bare minimum; mostly as “learning to pass.” However, during postgraduation students, are exposed to various trainings to facilitate their honing of research acumen.
In the MDS curriculum there is no narrative about what is meant by Library assignment. In our opinion, we call it Library dissertation (LD) and it is mainly assigned to provide students with an experience to use library resources (manually and digitally) on a focused topic, learn the skill of reading the literature, critically appraise, understand the nuances of conducting research and assess methodological issues. Thus, through this activity, the student achieves advanced learning competency. Further, these skills prepare them to step into conducting research for the dissertation, presenting the scientific paper, compiling report, and submission of manuscript as per standards. In fact, LD is an organized and structured narrative review with scientific rigor.
At present, there is this new wave of undertaking Systematic review (SR) as LD. No doubt it is a progressive step toward growing academically, but there are some ground realities which we should not turn a blind eye. Therefore, the focus of this paper is to put forth our perspective regarding the present scenario around SR as LD.
| Systematic Review|| |
Evidence-based dentistry can be said to be the current best approach to provide interventions as it improves dentist's skills and knowledge as well as the quality of treatment provided to the patients. SR has been considered as the pillar on which evidence-based healthcare rests. It is the highest level of evidence in the pyramid of the evidence hierarchy. It is inevitable that, if a type of study method sits at the top of the pyramid, everybody will want to either conduct such a study or publish them. SR could be a good research method to be used for postgraduate education because it not only enhances problem-solving by using critical and analytical thinking and acquiring in-depth knowledge of a variety of research methods, but it can provide opportunities for networking by contacting different authors of publications nationally and globally. Doing an SR properly implies following a protocol (Decide the uncertainty; Deciding the topic and formulating the research question; Prepare the protocol; Making a list of keywords/search strategy/literature search; Selection of studies; Extraction of data; Assessment of the study quality; Analyze and interpret results and Prepare the report).
It is well known that the team for an SR should include at least one person with some experience in the performance of SR's, one person skilled in statistics (if meta-analysis is planned) and one person with content knowledge of the topic being addressed., Further, at least two persons will be needed to search and extract data independently and a third person to resolve any discussions arising due to disagreements. The crux of SR is in the extensive and comprehensive literature search. This is an exhaustive process and requires time and effort. However, data extraction may be relatively easy than the other steps but critical assessment of the included article using checklist and assessing the risk of bias/quality of the study isn't straightforward. Abstract thinking, critical appraisal skills, and knowledge of diverse research methods are mandatory skills for undertaking SR.
| Eye Opening Ground Realities|| |
- The Universities/Institutions are recommending SR to be undertaken as LD in their 1st year of postgraduation
- The awareness about SR among the dental faculty is low. The majority of the guides are not trained. The guides of the present age have completed their postgraduation education at least 5–35 years ago. The Dental Council of India DCI curriculum then or even today does not have training for Evidence-based dental practice and SR in the MDS curriculum
- SR is known to be a rigorous and transparent form of literature review. The rule of thumb for an SR literature search is that more than 2 databases should be used; articles in languages other than English should be included and there should be an attempt to find unpublished research (gray literature). At present, all the students may not have access to variety of paid literature databases like the SCOPUS/EMBASE/Web of Science/CINAHL, etc.,
- Ignoring the above two points, even if the postgraduate students continue to undertake an SR without a trained guide and no availability of complete literature resources than the SR produced will be of a poor quality and will not serve the purpose of been a high-quality SR which is described as the most reliable source of evidence to guide clinical practice
- Further, publication of such low-quality SR will be difficult.
| Recommendations|| |
”You must have a solid foundation if you're going to have a strong superstructure”. Gordon B. Hinckley
The SR process is extremely demanding, time-consuming and resource intensive. First, it is recommended that a pool of trained guides/experts should be created. Second, planning and procuring of access to variety of paid literature databases or provision for inter-library loan services of articles should be undertaken. Thirdly and most importantly, assess the capacity of the student [Table 1] and the willingness to undertake the SR and lastly, there should be a provision of choice to choose between narrative review or SR to be undertaken as LD.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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