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HealthWatch Student Prize for the critical appraisal of clinical trials protocols 2017

The aim of this competition is to test your research skills by asking you to evaluate four hypothetical research protocols and rank them in order of quality.

Entries are invited from undergraduate and taught post-graduate students:

  • Medical and dental students
  • Students of nursing, midwifery and professions allied to medicine

In each class there is a first prize of £500 and up to 5 runner-up prizes of £100.

Download the protocols here.

Read the protocols carefully, and rank them in order of quality — that is, give the rank of 1 to the protocol that you consider is most likely to provide a reliable answer to the stated aims of the trial and rank 4 to that least likely to do so.

Make sure you have ranked all four protocols.

All fields are required.

In no more than 600 words, explain your reasons for the ranking you have given, discussing each protocol in a separate paragraph. You should imagine that you are a member of a research funding body, and explain why you would award a grant to the protocol that you rank first, as well as explaining the strengths and weaknesses of each of the protocols. If a protocol is fatally flawed say so; if there are minor flaws, indicate how they could be improved. There is no need to comment on, or analyse, the statistical methods that are proposed. You are assessing the methodological quality of the protocol, not the desirability of the aim. Each protocol starts (as it should) with a "Scientific background" summarising previous relevant research. You should assume this is work correctly cited from reliable sources.

Your reasons should be in narrative form, not simply a table. Do not put any identification in your reasons; it will be separated from your personal information, so that the judges will have no means of identifying you.

Your entry must be submitted before midnight on 30th June 2017. Entries received after that date will not be considered.

By entering this competition you consent to your name and university being used in publicity for HealthWatch and the student prize competition.

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into, nor can any of the winning entries be published.

Please tick the box below and enter your year of graduation if you would like to have free Student Membership of HealthWatch. Your free subscription will end when you graduate and you will be given the opportunity to transfer to one of the other subscriptions.

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