Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Supporting RCSI research

The DSC seeks to enhance the quality of quantitative and qualitative research at RCSI by providing advice on study design, analysis and reporting of health research studies. In so doing, we aim to build the capacity of research teams and become an integral part of the research development plan.

Accessing DSC support

RCSI-affiliated staff can access methodological support from the DSC through two routes:

  • Smaller queries can be addressed at a shorter scheduled clinic appointment
  • More substantial queries can be addressed at a longer consulting appointment, arranged according to availability

Suitable queries for a shorter scheduled clinic appointment might include:

  • Advice on using statistical software (Stata, R, GraphPad Prism)
  • Advice on preparing data to share with the DSC, as outlined in the DSC Data Preparation Policy
  • Advice on specific quantitative or qualitative research methods
  • Advice on presentation of results
  • Advice on interpretation of results

Suitable queries for a longer consulting appointment might include:

  • Design of a new research study, including sample size calculation
  • Grant application preparation

Unsure what type of appointment would be more appropriate?

The DSC administrator can advise prior to booking an appointment – please email data@rcsi.ie.

Where a query cannot be fully addressed during a scheduled clinic appointment, the DSC staff member shall direct the researcher to book a longer consulting appointment at their earliest convenience

Scheduled clinic appointments

The DSC runs a programme of regular scheduled clinics at a number of RCSI research sites.

These clinics consist of short, 20-25 minute appointments with a DSC staff member at which smaller research queries can be addressed. Suitable queries for a scheduled clinic appointment might include:

  • Advice on using statistical software (Stata, R, GraphPad Prism)
  • Advice on preparing data to share with the DSC, as outlined in the DSC Data Preparation Policy
  • Advice on specific quantitative or qualitative research methods
  • Advice on presentation of results
  • Advice on interpretation of results

More substantial queries can be addressed at a longer consulting appointment.

Scheduled clinic locations

Scheduled clinics will run fortnightly at St Stephen’s Green, monthly at Beaumont Hospital and quarterly at Connolly Hospital.

Booking a scheduled clinic appointment

Scheduled clinic appointments operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Researchers will shortly be able book scheduled clinic appointments using the links below:

Each online form will contain details of the time, date and location of the next clinic at that site.

Cancelling your scheduled clinic appointment

Please email data@rcsi.ie if you can no longer attend your scheduled clinic appointment. This will allow us to offer your appointment to another researcher.

Consulting appointments

The DSC also offers individual consulting appointments for discussion of more substantial queries. These are typically one-hour appointments taking place at our offices in Beaux Lane House on the RCSI St Stephen’s Green campus.

Consulting appointments are suitable for the planning and discussion of large-scale research projects at the design, implementation or analysis stages. This includes sample size calculation and grant preparation. Smaller queries can be addressed at a shorter scheduled clinic appointment.

When to book your consulting appointment with the DSC

The DSC recommends that you seek advice at the earliest possible stage and allow a realistic amount of time – at least two months – before deadlines that may require substantive input, e.g. proposals or important deliverables.

How to book your consulting appointment with the DSC

The DSC will shortly launch an online portal for booking consulting appointments and capturing key information about your project. In the meantime, please email data@rcsi.ie with a broad overview of your project and a concise summary of your specific needs. Separate appointments should be booked for each particular research project you wish to discuss with us.

How your consulting appointment request will be processed

All appointment requests will be collated for discussion at the next fortnightly DSC staff meeting, during which an appropriate staff member will be assigned to your project. A meeting will then be scheduled by the appointed staff member for some time over the following two weeks, depending on availability. In general, one-to-one meetings are most effective; however, some queries can addressed by email or phone.

What you should bring to your appointment

The information you provide through the online portal or in your initial email will be the starting point of our conversation. Please bring any additional material that will help you to explain your research to us.

Sharing data with the DSC

In order to maximise the number of RCSI research projects to which we can provide timely and high-quality support, the DSC will only accept datasets formatted according to the DSC Data Preparation Policy. Datasets not in this form will be returned for additional formatting and/or cleaning.

DSC policies

Data Preparation Policy

The purpose of the DSC Data Preparation Policy is to facilitate the efficient management of DSC resources, thus maximising the number of RCSI research projects to which timely and high-quality support can be provided.

DSC Data Preparation Policy - October 2017 (v.1.0)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last updated: 31 October 2017

Who can access support from the DSC?

All RCSI-affiliated academic and research staff can access support from the DSC. The online booking portal will require input of an RCSI email address. Where a researcher does not have an RCSI email address, please contact data@rcsi.ie outlining the nature of your affiliation to RCSI and alternative arrangements will be made.

How can the DSC support grant applications and studies not yet in progress?

DSC staff members can provide advice and assistance in identifying the statistical, bioinformatics and broader methodological requirements of your grant application.

We can help you to refine your research questions; choose the best study design to answer these questions; define analysis methods most suited to the selected design; and determine the sample size needed to ensure reasonable power of finding the postulated effect(s), if present.

How can the DSC support studies already in progress?

DSC staff can provide advice for studies already underway. Support is provided in drafting data management and statistical analysis plans, conducting analyses, interpreting and reporting the results. We can also collaborate on drafting of the statistical and methodological sections of manuscripts and responses to reviewers’ comments.

What statistical software support can the DSC provide?

We can provide support for Stata, R and GraphPad Prism statistical packages.

In what format should datasets be provided?

In order to maximise the number of projects to which we can provide timely and high-quality support, the DSC will only accept datasets formatted according to the DSC Data Preparation Policy.

Why is good data management so important?

The quality of your data will affect any claims you are going to make on your research and robust evidence-based claims are based on fully audited data.

We can provide advice on good data management practices including the development of data audit trails, data quality and cleaning processes, management of datasets and the adoption of the FAIR data principles – a scheduled clinic appointment will typically be sufficient to discuss these issues.

How do we plan each project?

At the beginning of each collaboration we will require a full and open review of the plan of work for the overall study. This should include a schedule of events and timelines for conferences and journal articles. This will allow for a realistic analysis of the level of methodological support required.

How should support from the DSC be acknowledged in publications?

We view each of our collaborations with researchers, PIs and departments as partnerships and strive to provide the highest quality of support. Where one or more DSC researchers bear responsibility for the integrity of a significant part of a research paper, this should be reflected in authorship.

The guidelines on authorship and acknowledgement by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors will be used as reference and can be viewed here. Please do not list a DSC researcher as a co-author or acknowledge his/her inputs to your project without his/her express agreement.