Principles of Research Methods for Ayurveda addresses the specific challenges faced by Ayurveda scholars and clinicians without formal training in conventional science or medicine. The aim of the book is to introduce the reader to core literary, observational, experimental and clinical methods commonly used to answer questions in health research. It also outlines their relative strengths and limitations in generating conclusive data and issues that demand new thought processes. It is a comprehensive textbook that gives baseline idea of various methods employed in different settings with the context of Ayurvedic principles.
This book will serve as a beginner’s guide to students of Ayurveda who undertake the subject of Research Methods in the fourth year of graduation. It will be a vital companion for postgraduate, doctoral students and clinicians in pursuit of their academic interests and in making an original contribution to their chosen field. It will enhance the development of tomorrow’s vaidya-scientists and future leaders in bringing Ayurveda to world platform.
Serves as a helpful guide for ayurveda scholars and researchers
Structured around research themes which elaborate key designs
Features protocols, techniques for troubleshooting common problems and an explanation of the advantages and limitations of a technique in generating meaningful data.
Appendices provide resources for practical research methodology, including various guidelines, checklists and documents which are necessary to keep a researcher updated.
Dr. Asmita Wele is the professor and chairperson of Ayurveda Chair, University of Debrecen, Hungary at present. She was professor and head of the department of Rasashastra and Bhaishajyakalpana Vigyan [Ayurveda pharmacology] at College of Ayurveda Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University in Pune, India. Her expertise lies in designing and execution of end to end research projects of Ayurvedic formulations. She has been Principle investigator of DST project, AYUSH projects, and member of AYUSH-International Co-operation committee, of scientific advisory committee of Gujarat Ayurveda University, Jamnagar and of Bos and Academic Council of BHU, Varanasi. She has delivered about 100 lectures as a resource person in several interdisciplinary workshops and conferences and on public platforms. She has published over 35 research papers and articles. She is a reviewer for some indexed journals from Elsevier, Scopus and Pubmed databases. Her areas of special interest are Asthma, Cancer and Neuropsychology and Nutrition apart from her expertise in Ayurveda drug development.
Consistent with her family legacy of 'Vaidya' tradition from Goa, Dr. Asmita has earned her B. A. M. S. and M. D. degrees from the University of Poona. She has completed GCP Training by CDSCO and EC-IRB training by DAIDS supported by NIH. She is an active member of many organizations. She has travelled to Europe, USA, Mexico, Africa, Nordic countries, Middle East, UK etc on professional assignments.
It is a matter of pleasure to write a foreword of the book entitled "Principles of Research for Ayurveda- Applied Research Methodology" written by Dr. Asmita Wele.
This book mainly focuses the CCIM 4th year syllabus for Research Methodology. This book can be helpful to provoke the analytical and logical skills among undergraduate and post graduate students. The book contains two sections viz; Section I includes three chapters which deal with general overview of research philosophy, approaches towards research and provide valuable insights to literature research; Section II consist eight chapters which briefly describe the various types of research and its utility in different areas. Each chapter is comprehended in a particular topic along with justified cross referencing, chapter-end exercises and different annexures related to the particular subject.
I have gone through the draft of this book and have found its contents to be informative, interesting and educational. I am sure it will serve as an important reference book for students, practitioners and researchers. I appreciate and convey my blessing to Dr. Asmita Wele for her sincere efforts in bringing this precious book.
Ayurveda is a very well known word to lay people and scientific fraternity across the globe. In recent years more and more professionals try to find out solutions to unresolved health problems of the society through Ayurveda. Either a therapy or a drug candidate is tested to find an answer to the problem at hand. Sometimes research is conducted to test the reliability of so called ayurvedic treatment. In the whole exercise, most of the Ayurvedic physicians and researchers find themselves at crossroads; partially due to ignorance regarding advanced methods of research and partially due to the inability to place the utility of such researches in context of ayurvedic domain. 'How to do a meaningful research that would contribute to the knowledge base of Ayurveda?' is the question asked by teaching faculty and students alike. The roots of this question even after 40-50 years of research have to be traced to the inadequate adaptation of the core concept of modern research for studying Ayurveda.
Over last decade, as a simile of 'Evidence Based Medicine' a new term 'Evidence Based Ayurveda' has become popular. Evidence demands rigorous conduct, meticulous documentation and rational analysis. Some noteworthy research in the field of Ayurveda has happened to sensitize faculty and policy makers, yet there are many grey areas. Also researchers and physicians trained in modern sciences and medicine who are enthusiastic to work in ayurvedic domain show their inability to comprehend basic principles and concepts of ayurveda. It creates hindrance to fit Ayurveda into the bracket of evidence in real sense. A book that shows the similarities and differences in both fields from the perspective of research is necessary to take the exchange to the next level.
Research is ever changing dynamically growing field of new knowledge. However, concept of methodology of research to suit Ayurveda which percolates to the colleges and students is in bits and pieces rather than entirety. By and large the research happening at institutes or at post graduate level is restricted to `chemical analysis of drugs' or `manuscriptology' or testing a known formula on hundred patients to show some evidence. This does not develop the students to face the challenge of innovative thinking and development of new knowledge. Academically brilliant students do not opt for research as a career due to their preconceived notions of futility of any research in classical Ayurveda. Additionally, unlike the students of modern medicine, students of Ayurveda have to deal with some different aspects of research like literary research, socio-economic research, behavioural research other than clinical research. Today each of the above mentioned branches is separate and well developed. New strategies, instruments, tests etc. have been developed and validated. Ayurveda students must be aware of the theories and foundations specific to each of these areas. Thus a comprehensive book that gives sufficient idea to initiate the student into the specific area is needed.
Many senior and learned scholars of ayurveda acknowledge Padarthvigyan, in particular Tarkasamgraha, as basis of development of new knowledge. It is challenging to translate the essence of principles into practical application due to a considerable gap in knowledge transfer process. Change of language of knowledge from Sanskrit to English is additional difficulty. Though Ayurvedic and modern research method both are based on the same initial foundation of logic; inductive and deductive analyses; the modern research method has succeeded by making best use of both, depending on the situation under consideration. Hence there is a hard felt need for a book which would comprehensively bridge the gap between conceptual levels of Ayurvedic science and modern sciences in terms of research methods.
This preface would be incomplete if I do not write about statistics. There is one more wrong presumption that since 'statistics' is completely a modern science, it can not be coupled with Ayurvedic principles and hence Ayurveda research can not take place employing statistical methods. Truly speaking, 'Statistics' has no such limitation. It is an ancillary branch that can be best utilised according to the requirement of the main scientific branch like Ayurveda. The book consists one chapter on statistics contributed by Dr. Supriya Bhalerao with examples of application of statistical methods to Ayurvedic studies.
The Present book is written with this background. It is an effort to give a minimum basic information or a bird's eye view of research process. It covers the syllabus of Research Methodology. It will serve good to those who have basic and applied understanding of Ayurveda; but others may have to learn Ayurveda from good sources to get a clear picture. There are many limitations to this book. Topics like meta analysis of clinical trials, therapy research advances are mentioned very briefly. I wish to deal with those in the next edition of the book.
How to use the book:
Sections: The book is divided into 2 sections. First section gives a general overview of research philosophy. Second section talks about method of each research type in detail and student friendly fashion.
Chapters: Each chapter is organised in a specific sequence to maintain consistency. Cross referencing is mentioned at places where an overlap of thought is necessary.
Exercises: At the end of each chapter limited exercises are provided to offer the students some tool to test what s/he has learned.
Annexures: the annexes comprise of formats of research outline of different types and links to important guidelines like GMP, GCP and others.
Glossary of specific terminology used in research is provided at the end of the chapter where necessary.
I wish that a student should use this book as a handbook with notes. Hence two blank pages after each chapter are provided for notes.
It is my hope that this textbook will be useful to the students of Ayurveda and also to Siddha and Unani to learn basics of research methodology though I could not quote examples from the two streams.
I have tried to make the book as simple and as accurate as 1 could. However, you may find some mistakes. The fault lies with me. If you kindly point out the mistakes and communicate the same to me. I will be able to correct those in further editions.
The term research is coined by adding the prefix 're' to the word 'search'.
Search is of truth. Truth is true knowledge. Search is always for finding out the relationship between cause and it's effect [Karyakaranbhav].' Not a single effect (karya) is without cause (karana). Many cause effect relationships have been established in Ayurveda and modern science both. There are different types of causes which are responsible for different types of effects. It is possible that a single cause is responsible for many effects and one effect is achieved from many causes. The theories regarding characteristics of cause and effect are discussed in detail in the treatise of the Tarksarngraha. Author Annambhatta propounds that the basic principles [Siddhanta] evolve through search; hence search should be continued to gain pure knowledge.
Re-search is to find out once again the truth; rather confirm it in new setting, new era, changed socio-cultural and economical atmosphere and with changed perspective. It is also an exploration of different approaches to uncover truth or to discover new things. Truth never changes so are the siddhantas (principles) and thus they are Shashvat (eternal).However; understanding, method, approach and examples based on the truth do change. The saying goes 'Only one thing is permanent in this world and it is CHANGE'. So research must lead one to the truth which is reproducible.
In simple words research is defined as 'a systematic and methodical activity to find out solution to an unresolved question.' More specific definitions of research pertaining to specific field of inquiry are stated at appropriate places.
Next question is 'How to do re-search?' The answer is, by adopting 'method of science' or scientific methodology'. Scientific method can be summarised into five simple questions and respective actions. The questions, their reflection in thought process, culmination into research proposal and into report of completed work is tabulated below. Howsoever big or small the problem may be, if addressed with this set of questions it ends into a successful research project. It not only adds to the existing knowledge base but also helps to solve the problem.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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