Ten Common Research Pitfalls

By Philip M. Hahn, MSc

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, compicated study that attempts to answer many questions, rather than an appropriately sized simple study focussed on one primary objective/question.

5. Not taking the tme 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.