Research essentials

Online education self-paced modules
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Are you interested in learning or revisiting the fundamental principles of scientific research? ARVO membership offers you the opportunity to learn from some of the top scientists in our field through the following self-paced modules, accessible on computers and tablets. Get started today:

  • The modules do not need to be completed in one sitting.
  • You may navigate through the content freely and check your knowledge with quiz questions.
  • Once you have reached a score of 80% or more on the final assessment, you may download a certificate of completion (which can be shown as evidence to a mentor for an individual development plan).

These modules are ideal for trainees and professionals interested in learning the fundamental principles of scientific research and for mentors looking for resources to help their mentees. 

Guide to scientific method and experimental design

Lead author: Subhabrata Chakrabarti, PhD

Overview: This module will provide you an overview of the scientific method and the basics of experimental design, including tips for formulating a testable hypothesis, determining the study aims and selecting the appropriate research study design. Also included is an introduction to basic statistics with an emphasis on determining study power, interpreting and reporting data. The module addresses ethical and regulatory issues, avenues for communicating the results and tips for budgeting and funding the research.

Estimated time to complete: 1.5 hours

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Guide to eye and vision research techniques

Lead author: Francine F. Behar-Cohen, MD, PhD

Overview: This module provides detailed information and video clips to help eye and vision researchers select the optimal methodology and perform established protocols associated with the model. You will be presented with a thorough review of in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo animal models, along with a discussion of the ethical and regulatory issues associated with these types of research. The module includes a primer on ocular pharmacology research and an overview of the documentation, analysis and presentation of ocular research data.

Estimated time to complete: 4 hours

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Guide to human subjects research

Lead author: M. Elizabeth Hartnett, MD, FACS, FARVO

Overview: This module offers you an introduction to the various kinds of human subject research and the ethical and regulatory considerations associated with this type of research. It explores the practical aspects of setting up clinical studies and clinical trial centers "” from setting up a governance plan, designing databases, managing the trial center or site and recruiting and retaining patients for the statistical analysis of the data. The module concludes with a focused discussion of clinical trials in ophthalmology.

Estimated time to complete: 2.5 hours

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Guide to scientific publishing

Lead author: Steven J. Fliesler, PhD, FARVO

Overview: This module will help you tell your story to the scientific community. It covers everything from knowing when you are ready to publish, selecting the best journal and writing the manuscript to understanding the peer-review and publication processes. The module also an emphasis on avoiding authorship issues and scientific misconduct.

Estimated time to complete: 3 hours

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Next Step Skills 

Guide to scientific peer review

Lead author: Jeffrey H. Boatright, PhD, FARVO

Overview: This module reviews the basics of the peer review process from the perspective of the peer reviewer. It will provide you with the basic steps of every scientific manuscript peer review and tips for writing a defensible review decision or request for revision. The module addresses the importance of ethical conduct in the peer review process.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour

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Guide to intellectual property and patenting

Authors: Barbara M. Wirostko, MD, Sharon Bakalash MD, PhD, CBA, Emmett T Cunningham, Jr., MPH, MD, PhD, Eugene De Juan, Jr., MD,  Ryo Kubota, MD, PhD, Stephen McLeod, MD, Mark Paulson, JD, Glenn D. Prestwich, PhD, Stephen M. Rose, PhD, Padmaja Sankaridurg, BOptom, MIPlaw, PhD, Michael B. Stewart, Esq, and Fiona Wills, PhD

Overview: The basics of intellectual property are not a traditional part of research training or medical curricula, yet it is of growing importance to scientists in the competitive environment for funding and the emphasis on translation of research. This module provides an overview of intellectual property, with a focus on patenting researchers' intellectual property in the United States and globally. This module does not include an assessment.

Estimated time to complete: 3 hours

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Strategies for effective grant writing

Authors: Daniel J.J. Carr, PhD, Che J. Connon, PhD, Patricia A. D'Amore, MBA, PhD, FARVO, Guy S. Eakin, PhD, Mark C. Gillies, MBBS, PhD, Linda D. Hazlett, PhD, FARVO, Takeshi Iwata, PhD, Ashwath Jayagopal, PhD, Andrius Kazlauskas, PhD, Michael A. Steinmetz, PhD, Deborah L. Stenkamp, PhD and Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD, FARVO 

Overview: This course introduces time-tested strategies to writing successful grant applications. You will learn how to locate funding opportunities, match your proposal to the appropriate funder, plan and write impactful proposals and respond to reviews. This module does not include an assessment.

Estimated time to complete: 3 hours

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