Improving Speed of Biological Research - How to Do It?
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Improving Speed of Biological Research – How to Do It?

Hello every one, here’s presenting the 3rd place winner of the Biotecnika Article Writing Contest – Tejal Waingankar! Read on and enjoy the winning article on the topic Ways To Improve The Speed of Biological Research Congratulations once again.

To carry out research in any field does need basic infrastructure, enough funds, and
basic facilities required for that specific research area. To improve the pace of the research,
special needs of that particular research area, concerning issues, and various factors
associated with the research topic, need to be focussed on for the better outcomes of that
specific research.

Does anyone wonder what biological research is? Even though ‘Biology’ represents
the “studying of all life forms”, biological research does not confine itself to studying these
life forms. It is also connected to other natural sciences like; chemistry, physics, and
mathematical principles that are associated with living beings, including different
interdisciplinary sciences like; microbiology, zoology, botany, oceanology, genetics, cell
and molecular biology, etc. So in simpler words, biological research encompasses creative
and systematic use of knowledge from different branches of sciences that are related to
all life forms and various factors affecting

life. In this research, from invisible life forms to
visible life forms, from the terrestrial life to the plausible extra-terrestrial life, from small
biomolecules and tiny cells to organs, organisms and metabolic processes, and benefits
or problems associated with different living beings and life processes, are studied.

Biological research can be of two types: basic and applied research. Basic research
involves; the study of different livings just for the knowledge of humans, while applied
research includes; focussing on a particular problem or an issue in the field of biology
(StudentScholarships.org, n.d.).

Biological research: different factors affecting the research

1. Availability of basic requirements and funds

Basic requirements and allotment of funds are essential factors in biological research. However, in biological sciences, the needs or requirements differ depending upon the area or subject of the particular research topic. Research topics related to microbiology will have different necessities than biochemistry-related topics and so for genetics-related research projects. Some biological research projects require fieldwork for doing biological surveys, collection of samples etc. Hence, the basic amenities for each research area differs, which cause the need for a specially assigned laboratory for that specific research area.

2. Designing of the research study

Designing the research study is one more important aspect of biological research. It helps to plan the requirements, costs, and duration of a certain study. It can help to find possible solutions for the issues or problems which might be faced by the researchers, during the study. Designing the study involves carrying out a literature survey based on the aims or objectives of the study, which can aid in deciding the requirements and duration of the study as well as can help in writing a well-structured grant proposal for the particular research topic.

3. Reproducibility

“Reproducibility” is a significant aspect in any biological research, mostly putting its impact specifically in applied research. “Lack of reproducibility” is a majorly discussed issue in the scientific community, as it adversely affects health, reduces scientific efficiency (since it negatively affects aims or objectives of the research), slows down the pace of the research work, and causes wastage of time and money. Several categories contribute to the failure of reproducibility in researches. Some important categories are discussed below.

Availability of the literature

Lack of access to previously published research becomes a major hindrance for the ongoing research topic, especially if research is concerned with the reproduction of similar work or if there is a need for any methodology from the previous research for the research topics. It can cause a researcher to start their work from scratch and go through trial and error, which can negatively hamper the pre-decided timeframe of the research.

Misidentified, cross-contaminated cell lines or microorganisms

The authenticity of the cell lines or microorganisms used in biological research is much needed. If cell lines or microorganisms to be used in the ongoing research, are misidentified, then it creates false data during the research. Similarly, if there is cross-contamination in the cell lines or microorganisms used during the research study it gives erroneous datasets of results, which in turn causes wrongly drawn conclusions from the obtained results.

Poor research practices

Correct research practice during particular research is a requisite. Poor research practices can badly affect the reporting of research results due to wrong operations.

Managing the complex dataset of the research

Some of the studies in biological sciences like; vaccine trials or drug assessment studies, cohort group studies in healthcare generate extensive, complex data sets. So managing such complex and large data needs proper planning and strictly noting down all parameters connected to that data, is essential. After managing the data, the data needs to be properly analysed to conclude the study results. Hence, researchers should know the correct statistical methods for the proper analysis of such large and complex data.

Biases in research results

Cognitive biases in the assessment or interpretation of the results can adversely affect reporting of the research study and its objectives. Reporting biases can cause underreporting of undesirable or negative study results, which might cause any factor or
parameter in the study to go unnoticed. So it gives incomplete results of the study.

Avoidance of the publishing of negative results of the study

Sometimes researchers or scientists, do not report or undervalue the negative study results, which might be drawing a contradictory conclusion, to the objectives of the study and hence, label the research study as a failure. It might cause ignoring of the issues or factors observed in the study, which are causing negative effects in the study. This might impact the planning of future studies on the same research topics.

Hence factors affecting the reproducibility in the research, need to be considered for the proper planning and execution of correct research methods. (Six factors affecting reproducibility in life science research and how to handle them, n.d.).

Improving Speed of Biological Research – How to Do It?

4. Limitations of the knowledge of some subjects

Restricting the knowledge for a research topic results in slowing down the
research. Limited knowledge of the mathematical principles, chemistry, and statistics can
obstruct the execution and interpretation of the study (Sciences, 1970).

Improving the pace of the biological research

To improve the speed of biological research different factors affecting the
biological research and correcting the drawbacks associated with these factors can help
to improve the speed of the researches.

1. Infrastructure and allocation of funds

Specially designed laboratories, management and maintenance of the necessary
equipment, availability of chemical and biological materials are essential factors in
specific research studies. Governments or private research institutes play an important
role in managing and handling this issue. Allocation of adequate funds is also
essential. For this reason, properly designing the study and writing of the well-structured
grant proposals are needed to sanction the required grants for the research projects.

2. Robust sharing of the previously published data

Since the raw data of any research study is associated with the published conclusions
it becomes important for the researchers who are planning for a new study to gain
knowledge about that data. Hence, proper interactions and collaboration of the scientists
and their published work can help to design the new research experiments. It can also
help to avoid biases in the study. Hence, sharing knowledge and data can help to
accelerate biological research.

3. To avoid the “lack of reproducibility”

Easy access to previously published papers, results, and methodologies, can help in
improving the methods. This helps to correct the errors in the previous studies while
designing the research experiment. Authentic materials can help to avoid
misidentification, cross-contamination in the cell lines or microorganisms. Correct
research practices can give accurate results in the study. Managing the complex and large
dataset is an essential factor because drawing a reasonable conclusion of the study
depends on the proper management of the data, and the accurate analysis of the data.

To avoid biases in the study, the correct management, interpretation, and reporting of
the results of the study, are important elements. Neglecting the negative results in the
study and avoidance of publishing such negative results should be avoided. Considering
all these factors can help to enhance the reproducibility of the research.

4. Expanding the knowledge

Limitations of certain connected subjects during the research can affect the pace of
the research since there might be a need to involve some professional person from the
respective field. Depending on the availability of such professionals, the speed of the
research can be affected. So expanding the knowledge, can help researchers in managing
the research study and can avoid the wastage of time and money.

5. Use of the latest technology

Nowadays, research in biological sciences uses advanced techniques, which can
help in increasing the accuracy of the study results. New technologies involve the use of
computational methods, protocols, advanced genetic and specially engineered technologies and approaches. They have helped in reducing the tedious techniques, and
also help in decreasing the manual errors, during the experiments. New technologies
have considerably helped in easing biological researches (Perspectives on Research
with H5N1 Avian Influenza, n.d.). But a need for skilled personnel for the management
of these technologies and the development of necessary infrastructure. Nowadays with
the help of advanced technology, the past, present, and future of the livings can be
studied and predicted.

6. Ethical issues

In some researches like those in healthcare sectors (e.g.–vaccination trials), there
is a need for ethical approval before the study. Fast-tracking or easing the procedure for
these ethical approvals can help in such types of biological researches.

Designing any biological research project, execution and conclusion of the research results, to publishing the research study in authentic journals need lots of effort. It involves lots of the above-discussed factors. So to improve the speed of biological research, there is a need to plan the restricting issues, correct the errors, and use the advanced approaches to bring accuracy and swiftness in the biological research studies. Therefore, governments and research institutes, organizations, and researchers need to work together, to address the negative issues and focus on positive approaches, in biological researches.

Improving Speed of Biological Research – How to Do It?

References

  1. Perspectives on Research with H5N1 Avian Influenza: Scientific Inquiry,
    Communication, Controversy: Summary of a Workshop” at NAP.edu. (n.d.). In:
    Chapter 2- The Quickening Pace of Biological Research and Current Challenges in
    Biosecurity, [Online] www.nap.edu. (Available:
    https://www.nap.edu/read/18255/chapter/3) [Accessed: November 10, 2021].
  2. Sciences, N.A. of S. (US) C. on R. in the L. (1970). THE WORLD OF BIOLOGICAL
    RESEARCH. [Online] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. National Academies Press (US). (Available:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK224367) [Accessed on: November 10,
    2021].
  3. Six factors affecting reproducibility in life science research and how to handle them.
    (n.d.). www.nature.com. [online] (Available: https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-
    019-00004-y [Accessed on: November 10, 2021].
  4. StudentScholarships.org. (n.d.). Biological Scientists – What do Biological Scientists
    do? [Online]. (Available:
    https://studentscholarships.org/salary/487/biological_scientists.php). [Accessed on: November 10, 2021].
About the Author - Tejal Waingankar
I have completed my post-graduation in Biotechnology. I like to read, research, and write on different topics from Biochemistry, Molecular biology, Microbiology, etc.

Improving Speed of Biological Research – How to Do It?

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