Peer-taught virtual research workshops for surgical residents: Protocol for a novel and sustainable solution to improving surgical research in Pakistan

Russell Seth Martins, Ronika Devi Ukrani, Mohummad Hassan Raza Raja, Maria Khan, Haissan Iftikhar, Syeda Sadia Fatima, Saulat Hasnain Fatimi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To generate a protocol describing the methodology for a study assessing the effectiveness of a comprehensive series of peer-taught online research workshops for surgical residents across Pakistan in terms of improving research-related knowledge and skills, and long-term research involvement and output. Methods: The quasi-experimental study will consist of a series of six online research workshops conducted over Zoom for surgical residents across Pakistan. An online sign-up form will be circulated on social media to current surgical residents throughout Pakistan. Curricular content covered in the workshops will be developed in collaboration with experienced research faculty at the Departments of Surgery and Community Health Sciences at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. Facilitators of the workshops will be current surgical residents with a solid track record of research involvement at the hospital. Improvement in research-related knowledge and skills will be assessed through pre- and post-tests for each workshop. A post-series feedback form will assess satisfaction with the organisation, content relevance, peer-teaching and online delivery of the workshops. Long-term research involvement and output will be assessed by follow-up surveys at 6 months and 1 year post-workshop. All data-collection will be done via Google Forms. For ethical purposes, informed consent will be taken from participants prior to enrolment; data will be collected using a unique identifier number to maintain anonymity; and the only incentive provided to participants will be a Certificate of Completion for the research workshop series. Result: We expect that surgical trainees participating in the series of six research workshops will demonstrate a highly significant percentage improvement (p<0.001) in the pre- and post-tests for each of the six core research competencies taught. On post-series feedback, we expect the majority of participants (>80%) to rate the overall organisation, effectiveness of online mode of instruction, and relevance to surgical training of the workshops as excellent/good. We also expect that most participants (>80%) would strongly agree/agree that peer-education is an effective model of teaching in research workshops. Finally, we expect statistically significant improvement (p<0.05) in research involvement and output in terms of publications as assessed in the 6 months and 1year post-workshop follow-up surveys. Conclusion: In light of the ever-growing need for academic surgeons in Pakistan, this research protocol details a comprehensive strategy for research capacity-building among surgical trainees across the country. By equipping trainees with the knowledge and skills to conduct high-quality research, virtual research workshops provide a novel, grassroots-level and sustainable solution for addressing the surgical research crisis in Pakistan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S130-S135
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Developing countries
  • Distance learning
  • Healthcare research
  • Medical research
  • Peer education
  • Surgery


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