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Ten Common Research Pitfalls

We gratefully acknowledge the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Queen’s University for allowing us to post this material, which appears on their website.

  1. Not establishing a focused, answerable question.
  2. Enlisting a research supervisor who doesn't make sufficient time to advise and help you throughout the stages of the project.
  3. Picking a topic about which you have little interest.
  4. Planning a small, complicated study that attempts to answer many questions, rather than an appropriately sized simple study focused on one primary objective/question.
  5. Not taking the time to draft a research outline to keep your research team coordinated and on schedule.
  6. Not being realistic about how much time and effort your project requires.
  7. Basing a prospective study on outcomes that are rare or take a long time to occur.
  8. Entering data into a spreadsheet using formats that are not compatible with analytical software. The only thing worse than entering data is having to enter it twice!
  9. Not meeting with a statistician to talk about the analysis before you begin collecting the data.
  10. Waiting too long to begin.