Research-retreat-recovery: A potential model for organization and completion of research projects. Experience from a neurosurgery department in a developing country.

Saniya Siraj Godil, Aga Khan University
Syed Faraz Kazim, Aga Khan University
Muhammad Shahzad Shamim, Aga Khan University


Background:In the current era of biomedical research, it is imperative that every research study at an institution is properly organized, and frequently audited to streamline efforts and maintain standards. Recently, a research retreat was organized by the Section of Neurosurgery at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, and following that a recovery team was made with the aim of recovering "lost in translation" research projects. In the realm of our experience, the current model is being proposed as a means for organization of departmental research.


The "research" component of the model comprised compilation of an abstract book of all research work done within the section during the last five years. The "retreat" component of the model was intended with objectives of analysis of past research and generation of fresh ideas. The "recovery" component of the model was accomplished by formation of a research recovery team with the aim of recovering unfinished, and/or unpublished research projects.


The abstract book comprised 103 abstracts: 52.4% original research studies, 12.6% review articles, and 34.9% case report/series. Only 8.7% abstracts were of basic science research whereas the remaining 91.3% were clinical research papers. Only 34% had been published in an article form in a biomedical research journal (51.4% in international journals and 48.6% in national journals), remaining papers were either in submission/preparation process or had been abandoned. As part of research recovery, 29.4% projects were recovered within 12 weeks of the retreat component.


We conclude that the model of "research-retreat-recovery" is highly successful in the context of neurosurgery departments in developing countries without a proper research unit, and can result in better organization of departmental research, recovery of unfinished projects, and initiation of new research studies.