Students who completed a Cochrane UK elective have now published their research project

In October 2018, students Carlo Frassetto, Meisser Madera, Karen Megranahan and Max Siebert carried out an elective at Cochrane UK. During the four-week term they worked hard on a research project that has now delivered a published paper (Frassetto et al., 2020). In this blog, Karen Megranahan reflects on the experience.

Led by Emma Plugge, the elective team showed undoubted enthusiasm, working extended hours to complete this project in order to be delivered within the time frame. There were heated debates on study design, choice of risk factors, data collection methodology and analysis. Whilst the study itself became the main focus of the elective experience, the students were also able to attend weekly research dissemination meetings, and participate in advanced systematic review and analysis methods training. Other interesting sessions were organised with experts from Cochrane staff.

The offices of Cochrane UK are located in a lovely suburb called Summertown with easy access to local shops and a short bus ride away from the city centre of Oxford. The students were able to explore Oxford at the weekends and some organised mid-week social events. 

Once the intern period had concluded the rough draft of the results continued to be worked on by all the electives with a view to publication. The findings were considered a useful contribution to the global health research depository. Emma Plugge invited the assistance of David Roberts to further explore the analysis of the results which was incorporated into the manuscript. Initially the Public Health journal was targeted but it wasn’t successful.  Nevertheless, the first submission provided useful feedback which was assimilated before a further submission to Journal of Global Health in August 2019. Acceptance for peer review was received on the 16th September 2019 and feedback was received after a period of seven months. Acceptance after revision was informed on the 30th May 2020 and the production process enacted. The article was available online in the summer of 2020 with a journal inclusion date of the 1st December 2020.

All in all, this experience has brought a plethora of unexpected ups and downs. By keeping the team together in its objective, a respect for each other’s skill sets was built beyond the four-week experience. It has been a fascinating experience and one that is highly recommended by the electives as it has taught the challenges of publication that all researchers face when submitting their work, and the methods and rigor of the outstanding quality research that Cochrane Collaboration brings to the fore. 

Read the article here:

Frassetto, C., Madera, M., Siebert, M., Megranahan, K., Roberts, D., Plugge, E., 2020. The research output on interventions for the behavioural risk factors alcohol & drug use and dietary risk is not related to their respective burden of ill health in countries at differing World Bank income levels. Journal of Global Health. Vol. 10 No 2 020401