Center for Research Excellence, Advancement, Training, and Education

Research Resources

With the support of our Research Committee and affiliate institutions, Western Reserve Hospital offers resources to help you succeed at any stage of the research process. 

Choosing a Topic
Finding a Mentor
CITI Training
Literature Review and Publication
Protocol Builder
Scholarly Activity Repository
Study Design and Biostatistics
Funding and Submissions
Abstract Submission Opportunities
Quality Improvement Activities
Research Learning


Choosing a Topic

Choosing a research topic can be overwhelming. One of the best methods for topic selection is to complete a literature review in your area of interest. This review could reveal significant gaps in knowledge. You may find that additional research is necessary to improve methodology or address inconsistencies and limitations from previous work.

Once you select a topic of interest, the next step is to formulate your research question. A well-structured research question must identify the following elements: Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome. For details and examples, please review the PICO form provided by EBSCO. 

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Finding a Mentor

Whether this is your first research project or you have several years of experience, finding a mentor who can answer your questions, collaborate with you, and help guide you through the research process during your residency is essential. Before beginning any scholarly activity, residents must have a signed Faculty/Department Sponsor Approval form. If you have an idea for a project, start by reaching out to the attending or faculty member. 

Once you have a signed approval form, you can begin the research and scholarly activity process. All projects must first be submitted to the Scholarly Activity - Initial Proposal sheet. This includes book chapters, proposed research studies, quality improvement projects, participation in sponsored studies, presentations, and any other approved scholarly activities. Please provide as much detail about your scholarly activity as possible. Scholarly Activity Planning sheets are available for Research Studies, Quality Improvement Projects, and Case Reports

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CITI Training

LECOMWestern Reserve Hospital and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine are affiliated institutions. WRH and LECOM share resources through this affiliation, including CITI training, IRB access, research funding, and more.

  • All Western Reserve Hospital staff members, residents, and students must complete the Human Subjects Research (HSR) course through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative CITI(CITI) website before conducting research. Those conducting clinical research trials involving drugs and/or devices must also complete the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) course. CITI training certificates are valid for three years. 
  • Western Reserve Hospital staff members new to the CITI program may use their employee email address to register as an affiliate of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Valid completion reports must be submitted with all repository entries.
  • Residents and students are REQUIRED to affiliate with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (regardless of prior affiliations). Residents are REQUIRED to complete the following three courses: Human Subjects Research (HSR), Good Clinical Practice (GCP), and Research Study Design (RSD). Pharmacy Residents must complete the courses by July 31. For all other first-year residents, these courses must be uploaded here by September 30. Residents must also complete the associated HealthStream assignment.
  • Resident Registration and Affiliation Guide

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Literature Review and Publication

Virtual Library

Western Reserve Hospital has a virtual library and librarian to assist with all literature reviews and publication needs. Please visit the virtual library for more information.

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Protocol Builder

Writing a protocol can be simple with this helpful and secure online platform. Protocol Builder provides structured templates and wording assistance for several study designs. A well-written protocol makes for faster IRB approval and an easy transition to a manuscript. All research protocols seeking IRB approval at Western Reserve Hospital must first be entered into Protocol Builder. 

  • Residents at Western Reserve Hospital have already been set up with a Protocol Builder account. You can access your account at the link below.
  • Protocol Builder sign-in
  • Western Reserve Hospital staff members and rotating medical students may request access to Protocol Builder by emailing Aimee DeWitt at [email protected]. Please include your name as it appears on your license, department, medical school (if applicable), email address, and reference title for the project. The project MUST be entered into the Scholarly Activity Repository before access will be granted. Your request will be processed in 1-3 business days. 
  • Please review the Protocol Builder User Guide for information about protocol builder features. Protocol Builder also provides introductory user training on the website homepage under Features and Tips. 
  • For chart review, please use the Chart Review Template. This guide will provide protocol language assistance. 

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Scholarly Activity Repository

The Scholarly Activity Repository is a central location to track research done by any Western Reserve Hospital staff member, resident, or medical student. This includes research done by Western Reserve Hospital residents at partnering or affiliate institutions. Projects can be entered into the database through the Scholarly Activity – Initial Proposal (SAIP) form. You can also use the SAIP form to submit completed projects and vendor/sponsored research. 

When completing the form, please expect to see follow-up emails regarding your submission. These follow-up emails will be sent through Smartsheet. Watch the video tutorial for more information. 

For questions regarding the Scholarly Activity Repository, please email Aimee DeWitt at [email protected]

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Study Design and Biostatistics

Study design selection is one of the most critical steps in the research process. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute is a great resource to help you determine the best study design for your project. 

Western Reserve Hospital is contracted with an experienced biostatistician who is available to help with the study design and data analysis aspects of your research project. A biostatistician may be consulted to assist you with the following elements of your research study: 

  • Evaluating and refining your research question for feasibility 
  • Determining the appropriateness of your study design
  • Advising on sample size considerations
  • Review inclusion and exclusion criteria and available data elements
  • Advising on data formatting in Excel © for analytical purposes
  • Writing your statistical analysis plan
  • Analyzing collected data
  • Providing a report of the analytical methods used with comprehensive results

To Request A Consultation:

  1. Complete a comprehensive literature review of your topic.
  2. Draft a detailed research question.
  3. Submit your project using the Scholarly Activity – Initial Proposal (SAIP) form and check the appropriate box for biostatistician consultation.  
  4. Review the Collaborating with a Statistician Tip Sheet

Your submission will be reviewed for completeness within five business days. Any queries will be sent to you via Smartsheet. Once your submission is marked as complete, you will be contacted by the biostatistician to arrange a meeting.

Additional Resources:

  • The following Introduction to Biostatistics and Epidemiological Data Analysis course is required for all first-year residents.
  • To receive credit, residents who have completed the course must sign the attestation in HealthStream

Biostats Video Image

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Funding and Submissions

Research Funding is available through the Research Committee or Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Research Grant Program.

LECOM/LCAE Research Grants are available to all residents. Grants of up to $5,000 may be awarded to cover direct costs for your research project. Phase 1 of the 2024 grant cycle will open on April 1st. LECOM/LCAE Funding Application 

  • Phase 1​​​​​​
    • Submission of Application: April 1, 2024 - July 31, 2024*
    • Approval: August 31, 2024
  • Phase 2
    • Submission of Application: September 1, 2024 - November 1, 2024*
    • Approval: December 1, 2024

*Completed applications MUST be submitted to the Research Committee at least two weeks prior to the application deadline. More information is available on the front page of the application. 

Additional funding opportunities may be available through the American Osteopathic Association.

IRB Submissions: Western Reserve Hospital partners with LECOM Consortium for Academic Excellence (LCAE) for Institutional Review Board (IRB) services. All WRH projects involving patients or their records must be submitted to the LCAE IRB for approval or a letter of exemption. Projects must be submitted using the Scholarly Activity – Initial Proposal (SAIP) form. Once the project submission is complete, you will receive an update request through Smartsheet. This link will allow you to submit your completed project for review. Please be aware of the general approval timeline:

  • After you complete the Update Request, it may take 1-2 business days for processing and assignment to a WRH Research Committee member. This Lead Reviewer will be your point of contact throughout the submission process. 
  • Each protocol will be reviewed by two members of the WRH Research Committee. These members will be selected and contacted by the Lead Reviewer. Each member will provide comments within 3-5 business days. 
  • The Principal Investigator will review the comments in Protocol Builder, make the necessary revisions, and return a final copy of the protocol to the Lead Reviewer for pre-submission approval. 
  • Once the Principal Investigator has received pre-submission approval, they must complete the Application for Exemption (if applicable) or  Protocol Cover Sheet. The completed cover sheet and the final protocol (PDF preferred) must be submitted to the following address: [email protected]
  •  The LCAE IRB meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Please keep the following in mind: 
    • LCAE IRB must receive final protocols before the third Tuesday of each month to be distributed within their committee. Late submissions are not guaranteed to be distributed for a same-month meeting. 
    • The resulting rulings from the IRB will typically be provided at the end of the month. However, you may receive a response sooner if your project is exempt. 
    • Please note that studies seeking a letter of exemption may be reviewed outside of committee meetings. Responses may be received as early as one week after submission. However, this timeline is not a guarantee.  
  • If your protocol is eligible for exemption or a HIPAA waiver, please visit the LECOM website for additional forms. 

Please direct all submission questions to [email protected] 

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Abstract Submission Opportunities



ACS Ohio Chapter - Timeline Coming Soon



OMED Call for Research Abstracts 

AMA Research Challenge 

OSU Hospital Medicine Poster Competition

ACOI Abstract Poster Contest 

Academic Surgical Congress 

NYU Langone Hospital Trauma Symposium

SAGES Annual Meeting Scientific Session

LECOM Research Day

SACME Annual Meeting

ACP National Abstract Competition


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Quality Improvement Activities

A quality improvement project is a data-driven and structured effort to achieve a better outcome for any given process. Both quality improvement and research are systematic investigations that may involve human participation. For this reason, it can often be challenging to differentiate between the two. The following chart outlines many important differences: Is it Research or QI?

For additional guidance, visit the Quality Improvement Activities FAQs on the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) website. 

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Research Learning 

Writing for Impact: How to Prepare a Journal Article (Andrew M. Ibrahim, MD, MSc; Justin B. Dimick, MD, MPH)

Helpful Outlines for Scholarly Work (WRH - abstract, manuscript, revisions. references, figures, etc.)

Effective Research Video Image

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Application for Exemption (LECOM IRB)

Case Report Consent Form

Chart Review Protocol Template

Collaborating with a Statistician

Elements of Informed Consent

LECOM/LCAE Grant Application 

Peer-Review Affidavit

PICO Form 

Protocol Cover Sheet

Protocol Reviewer Guide

SAIP Planning Sheet: Case Report, Quality Improvement, and Research Study

Scholarly Activity - Initial Proposal Form

Scholarly Activity Sponsor Approval Form 

Secondary Reviewer Form

Two-Week Research Rotation Form

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Medical Student Research Participation

Medical students from affiliate medical schools and those scheduled for rotations at Western Reserve Hospital may join in on research projects: 

Please fill out the Medical Student Research Form to tell us your areas of interest or to report research/scholarly activity you are already involved in alongside Western Reserve Hospital residents or faculty. We will review your entry and help match you accordingly. 


Aimee G. DeWitt, CCRP - Research Coordinator 
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