A practical guide to research in the health sciences

Professor Shane Thomas
18 October 2019

Professor Shane Thomas, Honorary Professor from the ANU Research School of Population Health, recently had the seventh edition of his book "Introduction to Research in the Health Sciences" published. To mark the occasion, we sat down to talk about his work and the innovations in his field.

"There are many technical innovations and changes in practice that warrant regular updates to the text,” explains Thomas. “We have a greater focus on systematic reviews and the translation of research into clinical practice and policy in this edition. Traditional methods such as Randomised Controlled Trials have undergone recent significant innovation that requires explanation as well."

Part of the motivation for writing the new edition of the text stems from Thomas’ passion for patients and patient care.

"Health researchers and clinicians who receive high-quality training in health research techniques are enabled to make informed clinical decisions based on contemporary evidence," says Thomas.

When asked about the possibility of an eighth edition, Thomas is hopeful. 

"We work on a three to five year cycle and are honoured to be provided with an ongoing opportunity with Elsevier, and to have esteemed stablemates like Gray's Anatomy for which there are now 41 editions. I personally hope to make it to at least 10 editions, but we shall see."

Thomas is grateful for the many leading researchers and scientists that have inspired him and to the many students who have provided feedback about their research training experiences. 

“It is wonderful to receive feedback and to be able in our own small way to help the many talented individuals and groups to make a difference in society,” says Thomas.

Thomas also has some advice for new writers and academics alike, "write early and write often! Binge writing is too difficult," he says.

"However you decide to approach it, a lot of time is expended at your desk. Write a detailed content plan. You can then dive in and out of writing sections because you already know what goes where."

Introduction to Research in the Health Sciences is available for pre-order now.

*Professor Shane Thomas is a public health, psychology and health services expert. His research is in clinical and policy decision support, health services and behavioural addiction where he uses a wide range of research techniques including qualitative and quantitative methodologies. He is the author of an NHMRC clinical guideline. He also directs a research Institute in Primary Health care in China.