Our Research Department is dedicated to advancing the knowledge base of our research fellows, faculty and the orthopedic community in general. Clinical practices and basic sciences of the musculoskeletal system have begun to be closely examined in the past several decades in formal research studies, making an understanding of scientific method, research practices and data analysis critical skills for today’s practitioner. Technical advances also require an ability to assimilate new information and evaluate different surgical techniques, new prosthetic devices, new drugs therapies and biomaterials.

In addition to providing administrative and regulatory support for Fellow projects, the research department is actively involved in development of intramural studies and participation in commercially-sponsored and NIH studies.

Each Fellow at CNHC is expected to complete at least one research project, with a faculty member as sponsor/mentor that will be suitable for presentation and/or publication.

Research projects may take the form of retrospective evaluation of data collected in clinical studies or a focused study of medical records, biomechanical evaluations of devices, anatomical studies or prospective studies of specific diagnoses or treatments.

The objectives of the research program are:

Objective 1: Identify appropriate research questions and design a well-controlled study, including understanding independent and dependent variables and potential sources of error.

Objective 2: Conduct a literature search, critically read the literature (understanding the difference between peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed literature), and interpret pertinent research to formulate scientific hypothesis.

Objective 3: Evaluate facility and equipment needs including staffing, time frame, and budget for the study.

Objective 4: Develop specific objectives to address the hypothesis, understanding of the statistical tests necessary to analyze the data, methodology to address each objective, and an understanding of basic technologies associated with the area of hand surgery/orthopedics being investigated.

Objective 5: Select sample size, design questionnaires and/or data collection sheets and conduct pilot studies, when applicable, to assess effectiveness of the procedures. In clinical trials, the Fellow/Resident will present a professional manner and show respect for the patient. In laboratory trials, the Fellow/Resident will work methodically, practice safety, clean up, and use research etiquette. In both cases, the Fellow/Resident should work in a repeatable manner and understand the importance of handling all patients, specimens, and data collection consistently.

Objective 6: Develop a basic understanding of statistical tests and why they are appropriate, including the relevance of a p value, alpha and beta error, standard deviation, standard error of the mean, and confidence intervals.

Objective 7: Interpret the data and results, apply findings to the original questions, determine if the results have answered the basic research question, evaluate whether the objectives have been met, and accept or reject the hypothesis based on these findings.

Objective 8: Discuss the results and conclusions, compare the methodology and findings to other papers, understand the contribution of the results to the general body of knowledge, and relationship to clinical applications and implications for future studies.

Objective 9: Present at the Visiting Professor Lectureship, and/or regional or national meeting via a poster or podium presentation. For written publication, obtain the advice of the editor in the selection of an appropriate journal based on the scope/results of study and the journal audience, follow the journal format for submission of articles, and gain an understanding of the publishing process including editing and creating effective figures and tables

Timetable for Completion of Research Projects


Research Orientation: Introduction to key personnel involved in research and introduction to the research requirements. Start developing ideas for potential studies. Select and meet with faculty advisor to formulate question and discuss scope of project.


Begin developing study design, conduct literature search, write protocol, calculate budget and complete IRB or IACUC forms. Complete submission for HCRC approval and funding request.


Submit completed IRB or IACUC application.


Revise protocol, budget or ICF in response to stipulations for IRB or IACUC approval. Obtain final approval.


Begin experiments/subject enrollment/data collection. Design database to record data. Begin drafting abstract, introduction, background, and methods sections of manuscript. Discuss potential journals to submit to with editorial staff to determine manuscript requirements.

January – May

Complete experiments/subject follow-up/data collection. Meet with statistician for data analysis. Begin preparation for presentation (oral or poster). Continue work on manuscript, moving on to results and conclusion.


Finalize presentation for Visiting Professor Weekend. Submit manuscript to Faculty Advisor for review and comment. Turn manuscript in to editorial staff. Turn in raw data files to Hand Center Research office.


Complete any manuscript revisions. File Study Termination forms with IRB or IACUC.