Conducting Research

Below and in Tools you will find information and resources to guide you through the research process outlined below.

Research Stages

Research takes time, be sure you pick a topic that is important to you and will keep your interest.

Visit our Research by Divisions page to see the broad areas of research interest in our department or visit the UBC Find an Expert page.

A strong question is the key to success; consider the following steps to help you:

      1. Complete a literature search. What is already known about your topic? Has there been previous research? How was the research conducted?
      2. Get methodological and statistical advice. The following institutes, health authorities and schools offer methodological and statistical consultation services

What is the patient population, what are the space needs, what are the funding needs? Can the question be answered in the time that you have with the resources that are available to you? Consider: how data will be analysed (i.e. consider power calculations and sample size estimates) if the data already exists in a research data base/network or with hospital decision support or if primary data collection will be required.

A research protocol has the following sections

          • Research Question
          • Purpose and Hypothesis
          • Description of significance of research question – this section is referred to as the “Background/Justification” section and should come from your literature review)
          • Objectives and specific aims
          • Study design – include here your proposed method(s) of research
          • Subjects
          • Variables
          • Statistical analysis

You can start with a one-page plan as your first step to assessing study feasibility, and developing a full research proposal/protocol and then flesh out the sections outlined in your one-page research plan to develop your protocol.

Prepare other related study documents

          • Consent forms
          • Letters of initial contact
          • Letters for doctors
          • Study brochures and posters
          • Data collection forms/case report forms

Templates for these study documents are available

Most research proposals will require institutional ethics board approval before you can begin. UBC faculty and students should request research ethics board approval (REB) through UBC and the through the associated health authority if applicable. All UBC ethics applications are submitted via Researcher Information Services (RISe). To use RISe

Once you have ethical approval you can begin your project.

The final step of the research process is share your research finding at local and international conferences, in academic publications, and also with your colleagues and the public.

If you need assistance at any of these stages, please contact the Research Program Office.


Visit the Research Tools  and Funding sections of our website to find the support that you need for your research.

The annual Fred Bryans Faculty Research Forum is an opportunity for faculty members to share success stories in research.


The Faculty of Medicine has some useful resources for undergraduates wishing to engage in health research.

Visit the Faculty of Medicine's Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website for information for prospective and current graduate students and postdocs.

The department offers a MSc and PhD graduate program - Reproductive & Developmental Sciences Graduate Program.

New knowledge and innovation are crucial to successfully identifying, addressing and overcoming the increasingly complex health-related challenges that influence the lives of all of us. Research is key to improving patient care. The Royal College requires all trainees to have an understanding of research, so that it can be applied to their future practice and the ideals of evidence based medicine. In adherence to Royal College Guidelines the UBC Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology requires that each resident complete one research project by the end of their residency.

Resident Research Timeline

The following timeline is proposed to ensure the Royal College research requirement is met.

Transition to Discipline

  • Project Fair (winter)
  • Meet the mentor (winter)
  • Consult List of Projects
  • Pick a mentor
  • Write a draft proposal
  • Grant Opportunities (e.g. DA Boyes)

Bootcamp (early Spring)

  • Protected time for proposal development
  • Research design course with Jennifer Hutcheon
  • Individual meetings with Arianne Albert (WHRI Biostatistician)
  • Finalize plan; Submit to Ethics if required
  • Program report #1


  • Mentor meetings
  • Progress review with advisory committee
  • Data collection
  • Core
  • Mentor meetings
  • Data analysis
  • Knowledge translation plan
  • Academic Day presentation
  • Progress review with advisory committee
  • Progress report #2 due

Transition to Discipline

  • Project completion
  • Manuscript
  • Selected (inter)national meeting presentations

Resident Research Expectations

The Department expectations are as follows:

  1. Complete training in research design
  2. Complete one research project by the end of Residency
  3. Submit two progress reports to the Chair of the Resident Research Advisory
  4. Present (at least once) at the Annual Department Academic Day or at a national or international conference
  5. Submit a written manuscript for publication.

The Resident Research Advisory Committee are available to help you and have developed resident research tips.