Synopsis writing CPSP

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Before starting to work on dissertation/Article, the FCPS trainee has to send a Synopsis to RTMC and get it approved. The synopsis is a brief outline of your future work. If you need any help; fill in the contact form given at the end of this post. We will respond you shortly.

A CPSP synopsis must have the following headings:


  • It should reflect the objectives of the study.
  • It should neither be too short nor too long to exceed fifty words.
  • Superfluous phrases or expressions such as ‘an investigation into’ must be avoided
  • It should be written after the whole synopsis has been written so that it is a true representative of the plan (i.e. the synopsis)


  • It should contain a brief background of the selected topic.
  • It must identify the importance of study, its relevance, and applicability of results.
  • It must clearly state the purpose of the study.
  • The introduction consists of well-written paragraphs to efficiently and meaningfully set the context of the proposed research. We usually suggest writing at least three paragraphs.
  • The first paragraph introduces the main area of research and relevant background in the subject area in a precise manner. The problem under study must be relevant to the community and national needs to improve the healthcare system.
  • The second paragraph introduces the project by describing the specific gap in the present knowledge or existing problem in the basic biomedical field/healthcare system, particularly in Pakistan. It should further describe the critical analysis of the problem being studied in precise and clear terms based on the review of recent scientific literature. It is important that in this paragraph, the research question for which the proposed investigation aims to find an answer is explicitly formulated.
  • The third paragraphs should highlight the proposed objectives and justification for the conduct of the study. An explanation of its significance should be used as an opportunity to demonstrate that research has
    not been conducted/performed before and that the proposed project will really add something new to the existing scientific literature


  • An objective is an intent of what the researcher wants to do stated in clear measurable terms.
  • The objectives should be clearly stated and logically presented.
  • All research projects should have ‘SMART’ objectives. i.e Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
  • They must be consistent with the problem and identify the variables involved in the research.
  •  Students are advised to resist any temptation to put too many objectives or over-ambitious objectives that cannot be adequately achieved under the protocol.
  • Objectives are written in ‘action verbs’ i.e. ‘to determine’, ‘to compare’…. etc.
  • After the statement of the primary objective, secondary objectives may be mentioned.

Operational Definitions:

    • It is the definition of the terms/variables used in your synopsis and specifically telling how it will be measured in this study.
    • For example anemia, efficacy, morbidity, PPH or wound healing.
      A. Let’s take an example of efficacy:  It can be measured as i. time taken in relieving of symptoms ii- number of side effects iii- time taken for complete recovery. In operational definition, you should mention on which basis he will measure efficacy.
      B. Let’s take another example of morbidity: It has a number of aspects i.e. prolonged hospital stay, severe pain, immediate complications etc. In operational definition, you should mention on which basis he will measure morbidity.


  • A hypothesis is a statement showing expected relation between two variables.
  • The researchers formulate a hypothesis as an expectation concerning the relationship between the variables in the research project.
  • A hypothesis is needed in the following study designs:
    i. All interventional studies
    ii. Cohort
    iii. Case-control
    iv. Comparative cross-sectional
  • However, it must be kept in mind that descriptive studies do not carry or involve any hypothesis

Material and Methods:

  • Study Design: Mention the name of the appropriate study design which should preferably relate to objectives.
  • Setting: Name and place where the research work is to be conducted.
  • Duration of study: How long will the study take with dates.
  • Sample size: How many patients will be included. If there are groups, how many per group?
    i. The sample size should be adequate to apply all relevant tests of statistical significance and has appropriate power.
    ii. The sample size depends on the study design.
    iii. The sample size must be justified scientifically as how it was calculated.
    iv. The parameters used for sample size calculations must be clearly mentioned and referenced.
  • Sampling Technique: Type of sampling technique employed.
    i. There are many methods for sampling like simple random, systemic and stratified sampling, cluster sampling, etc.
    ii. The sample should be representative of the population and should be reliable. This minimizes sampling errors.
    iii. Type of sampling employed for each category of subjects under study should be mentioned.
  • Sample selection:
    i. Inclusion criteria: On what bases will patients be inducted in the study. Background variables which are considered for inclusion must be stated. In case of special circumstances, the criteria must clearly state the inclusion strategy.
    ii. Exclusion criteria: On what bases will patients be excluded from the study.  How the variables mentioned in exclusion criteria are detected? Exclusion must also be justified as what pushed the researcher to exclude a particular subject from the study.
  • Data collection procedure: Complete details of the data collection procedure should be mentioned.
    i. The researcher will have to describe the method of data collection, which may be in the form of a questionnaire(s), interviews, screening procedures, medical examination, laboratory investigations/experiments/ instruments, and quality control to get reliable and valid data.
    ii. Clinical trials should have the proprietary names, chemical composition, dose, and frequency of administration of rugs in the trial protocol.
  • Data analysis procedure: Data analysis is an important part of a research project and must mention the statistical package use for data analysis like SPSS. A good analysis leads to good results. The plans for data analysis should be mentioned as follows:
    a. Type of variables along with analysis plan must be mentioned.
    b. Type of statistical test in case of analytical studies, corresponding to the type of comparing variables, correlation, regression, ANOVA must be mentioned.
    c. Level of significance for rejecting the null hypothesis must be mentioned (less than 0.05 is significant).
    d. Computer program/software used and data sorting method must be mentioned.
  • References: References must be given in Vancouver style. Click here to read about Vancouver style.

Data collection instrument:

  • The researcher must attach, as an annexure, the proforma or questionnaire with the help of which he/she intends to collect data. The proforma/questionnaire must match the objectives and must not contain irrelevant sections like inclusion and exclusion criteria etc.

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