Orthodontics Research Program

The Research Program

Orthodontics Research Program

One of the requirements for the successful completion of the orthodontic program in the Graduate Department of Orthodontics at the University of Detroit Mercy is that you initiate, conduct, and complete an original research project. For those who choose to get an MS degree they must also write article for submission to a professional journal and defend a thesis. The basis for the requirement stems from the conviction that a research experience can, perhaps better than any other learning experience, develop and/or refine habits of critical thinking and reading. More to the point, in conducting his or her own research a student learns how to ask and address hypothesis driven questions. We believe at Detroit Mercy that one of our roles of to prepare a graduate from orthodontics to continue life-long learning. A large portion of this learning is from scientific journals so practicing orthodontists must the skill to be able to read, comprehend and evaluate this body of literature throughout their life-time.

Topic Requirements

The research topic can be, for the most part, of your own choosing. However, the project must meet the generally accepted definition of "original research". In this sense, essays, reviews of the literature, and "state of the art" papers will not be acceptable as fulfilling the research project requirements. The research issue must be one that can be formulated in terms of a research hypothesis and one that is amenable to systematic and scientific investigation, including statistical evaluation of the data. Also, the project should be one that can be completed during your two-year program.

The Director of Research and the Research Committee at the outset must approve all research topics.

Within the limitations mentioned above, it should be obvious that the topic areas available to you are virtually unlimited. You are not required to pursue a research topic within the area of orthodontics, or even dentistry; nor must the topic necessarily be directly dentally-related. Thus, such diverse fields as acoustics, mechanical engineering, microbiology, neurology, nutrition, ophthalmology, pediatrics, physiology, and speech pathology would be entirely acceptable as areas within which you could perform your research.

The Research Process

The Department offers two courses whose primary goals are to provide you with sufficient understanding of the elements of the research process to enable you to satisfactorily conduct and complete a research project during your graduate program, to conduct independent research, both now and at any time in your professional life, and to enable you to more effectively analyze and evaluate material in both clinical and research dental literature. The beginning course places considerable emphasis on assisting you in the selection of a research topic, planning the design, and initiating the research. Research interactions are available with a number of divisions within the Dental School and selected private clinical practitioners.

The Research Paper

The University of Detroit Mercy the Orthodontic Program no longer requires the traditional thesis as the written report of your research. In place of the thesis, the Program requires that the written report take the form of an article in suitable form for submission to a professional journal. The journal to which you submit your research may be of your own choosing. If you select a target journal at the outset of your research project, the format and style of the written report will adhere to that employed by that particular journal.

If you do not have a particular journal in mind as you begin your research, the written report will simply follow the format utilized by most professional journals in reporting research results, that is: Introduction, Review of the Literature, Methods and Materials, Results, Discussion, Summary and Conclusions, and References. The Program Director, the Director of Research, and your Project Advisor will work closely with you during this phase of your project.