Research & Critical Appraisal

Critical Appraisal 

As described in its mission statement, the Discipline of Psychiatry is committed to excellence in research. As well, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) identifies research and critical appraisal as essential components of a residency in psychiatry in its Objectives of Training in Psychiatry and Specialty Training Requirements in Psychiatry.

As outlined in its Objectives of Training in Psychiatry, the RCPSC expects psychiatrists will have working knowledge of research methodology. Working knowledge is defined by the RCPSC as, “Able to demonstrate core aspects of Psychiatry, such as basic interviewing, problem formulation and treatment. The resident can understand the scientific literature”.

Also, in its Objectives of Training in Psychiatry, the RCPSC recognizes these competencies as part of psychiatrists’ roles as Scholars. The RCPSC identifies 2 relevant key and enabling competencies within this role: “Psychiatrists are able to…”: “Critically evaluate medical information and its sources, and apply this appropriately to practice decisions” and “Contribute to the development, dissemination, and translation of new knowledge and practices”.

The Discipline of Psychiatry endeavours to meet these goals through a combination of longitudinal and horizontal educational opportunities. Residents will learn through multiple modalities, including lectures and practical experiences.

Didactic Teaching

Residents will complete relevant seminar series during their junior resident curriculum (post-graduate years 1–3), including Introduction to Research and Epidemiology & Statistics.

Critical Appraisal Sessions

As a part of their longitudinal education in research literacy and evidence-based medicine, residents attend regularly scheduled critical appraisal sessions. Faculty members are also encouraged to attend these sessions which are accredited for MOC Program Section 1: Accredited Group Learning credits with the Royal College


The Critical Appraisal Course Chair organizes a schedule with residents and supervising faculty who facilitate each session. Residents present a critical appraisal of a peer reviewed journal article approximately once a year. Residents should review their selected article with the Critical Appraisal Course Chair at least 2 weeks prior to their assigned date to ensure suitability. Occasionally, an article of interest may be chosen for the group to review. The Critical Appraisal Course Chair will then circulate the selected article in advance of the scheduled session to ensure adequate preparation time for all attendees. Sessions occur on Fridays at noon, when Grand Rounds are not scheduled to take place.


Director of Research

The Director of Research is responsible for supervising psychiatry resident research and coordinating the discipline’s annual Psychiatry Scholarship & Awards Day. The Director of Research must approve all resident research projects prior to initiation of any activity.

The Director is also available as a resource. Residents can contact the Director for assistance with their research activities, including selecting a research topic, finding a supervisor, designing and conducting a project, analyzing data and presenting results.

Research Requirement

Residents are required to complete one research project during their residency and disseminate the results of this work. They are expected to present their research initiatives at the Discipline’s Annual Psychiatry Scholarship & Awards Day.

Residents may choose the topic of their research and their mentor/supervisor. However, the Director of Research must approve these research projects prior to initiating any activity.

Suggested Timeline

Some research can take considerably longer than one year. Residents should begin thinking about their research project as early as possible to allow ample time to pursue their interests without the impediment of insufficient time.

Residents are required to consult with the Director of Research no later than PGY–2 to discuss available mentors and research ideas.

Prior to beginning their research project, residents are required to meet with the Director of Research to discuss their proposed project and obtain approval. Residents are required to submit a 1 page outline of their proposed project, including a tentative timeline, that will be signed by the resident and Director of Research.

Residents are required to begin their project no later than their third year of residency (PGY–3). They are required to present a short introduction to the research topic and their progress to date no later than PGY–3.

Residents are required to complete their research in time to present at the Discipline’s annual Psychiatry Scholarship & Awards Day no later than their fourth year of residency (PGY–4). 




Find research supervisor


Obtain project approval


Begin research project


Complete research project


Present introduction to project


Present completed project


Health Research Ethics Approval

Residents are required to consult the Health Research Ethics Board (HREB) regarding the need for review and approval prior to initiating any research activity, including quality initiatives. Residents must apply for and obtain full approval from the Health Research Ethics Board when required.

Research Proposals Approval Committee

The Research Proposals Approval Committee (RPAC) exists to approve and monitor research projects taking place throughout Eastern Health. All research taking place with Eastern Health is required to have both HREB and RPAC approval.

Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS) is the joint research ethics policy statement of the federal research agencies – Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Residents are required to complete the TCPS 2 Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE) before undertaking any research projects. Residents can complete this tutorial on-line and print a certificate of completion, which they are required to submit to the HREB and the Director of Research.

Research Elective

The Discipline offers a 3–6 month research elective during PGY5. The Electives Coordinator approves these electives contingent upon the resident’s performance in the core clinical rotations and the merit of the proposed research initiative. This research elective is intended for new research, rather than completion of the mandatory resident research requirement. Expansion of an existing project will also be considered.

Discipline Support

Residents are encouraged to present their projects at national and international meetings. The Discipline is committed to supporting residents, as much as possible, to attend these meetings.