School of Medicine

Student Educational Resources


The SOAR office, in support of aiding medical student research opportunities at BCM, provides informational resources aimed at helping medical students develop research skills. This page contains presentations designed to aid with the acquisition of research skills in areas that medical students are likely to encounter. Each topic is presented by BCM faculty or staff with experience in the subject area.

Poster Preparation Guidelines
Good poster presentation is essential to highlighting your research and serves to foster communication at conferences. This narrated PowerPoint presentation, prepared by the SOAR office, details the basics of good scientific poster design. Topics covered include poster layout, section content guidelines, poster dos and don’ts, presentation basics, and poster audience.

Writing Abstracts for Scientific Conferences and Beyond
Attending conferences provides opportunities for scientists, including student researchers to generate interest in their work. This online seminar, prepared and presented by Dr. Cliona Rooney, supplies an excellent set of guidelines on how to focus your message and what pitfalls to avoid in abstract preparation. Reviewers’ perspectives are covered as well as important points on how to structure your presentation. Tips to improve written (poster) and oral (platform) skills to deliver concise, effective presentations are given throughout the session.

Institutional Review Board 101
An Institutional Review Board is a committee that determines whether a research study that involves human subject participants follows ethical guidelines and that the rights of study participants are protected. This presentation, provided by Amarachukwu Azobu and Dr. Ruth Ann Luna, outlines the types of IRB review, criteria for review, and requirements for protocol submission at BCM. Student researchers will find information concerning human subjects’ protection, biological specimen collection, participant intervention/interaction, and identifiable information. The rules for when case reports require an IRB review are outlined in this presentation. Additionally, rules of informed consent are covered.

Introduction of Survey Design Administration and Analysis
Designing a survey to solicit informative results from study participants is essential to gaining perspective for healthcare researchers. Strategies for excellent health care survey design, including factors influencing completion, survey questions, and audience focus are among the many topics covered by Dr. Joel Purkiss in this video presentation. Dr. Purkiss also discusses methods for analyzing survey results including proactive design to ease analyses. Writing good questions including type, wording, and importantly focus form a substantial portion of the presentation.

Writing and Selling Your Case Report Video 
This presentation, created by Dr. Allision Bertuch, gives the student the how and why of writing case reports. It alerts students to the things to consider such as potential audience, journal, and editors’ perspective. Strategies to effectively engage your readers are also covered. There are several examples of case reports that are presented to five the student walkthroughs of writing a case report.

How to Write a Research Paper for Peer Reviewed Publication
Dr. Nital Appelbaum shares the basic processes of drafting a paper for a peer reviewed publication in a condensed tutorial. She covers how to identify a journal, author guidelines for submission, and a breakdown of the sections of the article you wish to submit. Submission, how to determine authorship, writing approaches or style, along with the use of citations and citation software are also covered. How to handle review, revision, and resubmission are discussed.  There is also advice on what steps to take should the paper be rejected.

Additional Resources

JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) is a scientific video journal. Videos are arranged by subject area which students can search to find topics of interest. There are thousands of JoVE videos that enable self-directed learning about a variety of subjects including literature searches and data collection methods (e.g. Literature analysis, Survey Data, and Data Collection by Experiments), research topics (e.g. Medicine, Cancer Research) or education areas (Statistics, various science disciplines). A JoVE account can be created through TMC Library for full access using your @bcm email address here:

Do you have suggestions for topics of interest?

There are topics of interest to medical students involved in research that may not be covered on this page. You may make suggestion for topics that you would like to see covered. Email your questions and suggestions to the SOAR office