As of August 1 2011, Dr. Dave Walton BScPT, MSc, PhD, FCAMPT is available for consulting on clinical research projects of small to medium scale.
Where did this idea come from?
I have long believed that some of the best research questions come from front-line clinicians, those who see gaps in knowledge on a day-to-day basis. In fact, many of my research questions have been generated through observations made during my 10 years of clinical experience. However, I know how difficult it can be for clinicians do move their questions and ideas into reality. I also know how much potential data is moving in and out of clinics on a daily basis, and that if we could capture even 10% of that, we would have the opportunity to answer some very important clinical questions.
This idea was driven home to me during a Canadian Physiotherapy Association conference in July 2011, during which I participated in an 'ask-a-researcher' session. It was clear that the clinicians that came to ask questions were primarily asking about procedural questions: how to make links with academia, how to get ethics approval, access funding opportunities and the like. The idea for clinical research consulting was hatched shortly thereafter.
What kinds of services are you offering?
I am able to offer help and advice on all stages of research design, implementation, analysis and dissemination. This includes:
- Formulating a good question
- Searching, accessing and appraising the available literature on a topic
- Designing a study
- Getting ethics approval
- Accessing and applying for funding
- Implementing the actual study, including enrolling subjects, collecting data, adhering to protocol and assisting with follow-up and outcomes collection
- Analysing and interpreting the data
- Writing up a manuscript
- Creating a poster or podium presentation
How much does it cost?
I'm keeping this simple for the time being, until I see what kind of interest there is in the service. I'll offer the initial discussion (up to 30 minutes of my time, either by phone or email) for free. This will help us both decide whether I'm the right person to help you out, and roughly how much my guidance will cost. After that, I'll charge a flat rate of $100 per hour as an academic consultant. Ultimately, you can decide how much time you'd like me to commit to your project, which we can set out ahead of time so there are no surprises.
Do you only deal with research pertaining to whiplash or physiotherapy?
Not at all. While I don't pretend to be an expert in every field of clinical inquiry, the fundamentals of research design, interpretation and dissemination are consistent across fields. I will assume that you or your project coordinator will bring the expertise in the field to the table, and I'll bring the expertise in matters of research, such that together we've at least got the intellectual resources necessary to complete your project.
Would you ever become involved in a project as a collaborator, and if so, how does that factor into cost?
It is conceivable that, from time to time, someone might come along and pitch a research idea that appeals to me either personally or professionally, and in which I may want to get involved. These would be projects that are aligned with my general scope of academic interest. If that should ever be the case, I would chat with you and your team independently, and my role would shift from consultant to collaborator/co-investigator, in which case I don't get charge for my services. That would be a conflict of interest.
Can you guarantee a good outcome?
Nope. If I could guarantee success in a funding competition or that there would be no problems at all during the data collection process, I'd be a much more successful researcher than I already am. What I can guarantee are only those things of which I've got direct control - for example, I will guarantee that I will be fully devoted to your project while I'm working on it, that I won't overcharge you for my services, that I will be up front with you regarding potential pitfalls in your plan, and that I will present you with results that are honest and unbiased. Should your design require an analytical technique that I'm not adequately comfortable with, I will outsource that component to another researcher (ie. a statistician) and will provide that person with fair and adequate compensation. Those are the kinds of things I can guarantee.
What kind of research designs are you most comfortable with?
In short, several. But if I had to list my designs of most proficiency, from highest to lowest (although some of these orderings are adimttedly arbitrary), I would probably list them as:
- Clinimetrics (development of new measurement tools and/or evaluation of the measurement properties of existing tools, including reliability, validity, and Rasch analysis)
- Knowledge synthesis and translation (including narrative or systematic reviews and meta-analyses)
- Diagnosis and screening (including diagnostic validity of single clinical tools or the development of clinical prediction rules)
- Clinical trials (including randomized controlled trials, as well as quasi-experimental designs)
What are your qualifications?
I have had the good fortune of ammassing several positive research-related experiences in my career. Below are some of the highlights that should help you decide whether I've got the tools necessary to aid in your project:
- Reviewer for Health Sciences Research Ethics Board at the University of Western Ontario
- Associate Editor of Health and Quality of Life Outcomes journal
- Peer reviewer for several journals, including Physical Therapy, the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Physiotherapy Canada, American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine, Spine, Pain, Disability and Rehabilitation, and others that I'm probably forgetting.
- Author or co-author of over 20 peer-reviewed publications, 2 book chapters and several technical reports
- Good track record of research funding, including a prestigious Doctoral Research Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- I've successfully mentored nearly 50 graduate-level students through research projects, either group projects or individual thesis-based projects
- A network of physiotherapy clinics across Canada that can potentially be accessed if needed for data collection purposes
My CV is available upon request if you would like to see a copy of it.
How do I contact you?
Your best bet is probably through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you're welcome to call my office phone at: 519-661-2111 ext. 80145 (Canada).
Again, there is no charge until we've both agreed on whether or not I'm the right person to help you, in what capacity and to what extent. Feel free to drop me a line or a message. I'll do my best to get back to you within 1 business day, but that might change depending on what kind of response this generates.