What is a Research Question? The first methodological step to resolve ascientific uncertainty. It is an organized and more specificinquisitive statement of the topic under studythat can be translated into a research project “The single most important component of astudy... It is the keystone of the entireexercise” (1)
Topic vs. RQ vs. HypothesisInterest Topic RQ Hypothesis
Topic vs. RQ vs. Hypothesis Interest: A general interest in a specific field Topic: A broad idea requiring further analysis– Could include population, variables, etc. RQ: Brings a piece of the topic into focus Hypothesis: A tentative explanation thataccounts for a set of facts and can be tested.– Conjectural statement that identifies the predictedrelationship between two or more variables. (2)
Topic vs. RQ vs. HypothesisInterest: Endocrinology. Type II DM.Topic: Vit. D3 and its relationship to Type II DMRQ: Does administration of 4’000 IU of Vit. D3daily in addition to Metformin in adults withnewly diagnosed T2DM improve glycemiccontrol, compared to Metformin alone?Hypothesis: Our expected answer for the RQ!
The Hypothesis!Terms of interest: (3) Null Hypothesis: Ho– Innocent till proven guilty Alternative Hypothesis: H1 Directional vs. Non-directional HypothesisN.B. PICO Clinical Question in EBM
Sources for the RQ Clinical Experience Mentor Literature Overview Conferences Research Experience
Clinical Experience Parents of infants with colic use caraway tosooth their babies. A primipara mother asksyou if this home remedy a safe and effectivetreatment for her newborn child.
Mentor Discuss ideas with an experienced physicianin the area of your interest. Other benefits. Do your homework
Literature Overview Journals: Pediatrics, NEJM, JAMA, SaudiMedical Journal, etc. Online Databases: MedLine. PubMed,Google Schoolar Local university publications database Don’t re-invent the wheel!
Conferences Latest updates in the field Abstracts book Meeting the experts
Research Experience One’s previous research experience Do one and it will lead you to another
What Makes a Good RQ?FINER Criteria (4) Feasible Interesting Novel Ethical Relevant
FINER: Feasible Time. Can this be done in a reasonable timeframe for me? Money. Can sufficient funding be collected?Is it too expensive? Population. Can a large enough sample sizebe secured? Skills. Are any special skills required andavailable? Resources. Can I secure the requiredresources?
FINER: Interesting Is it interesting to me? Is it interesting to others around me? Is it interesting to journal editors?
FINER: Novel Don’t reinvent the wheel Am I addressing something new? Am I addressing something old in a newway?
FINER: Ethical Are there any ethical issues? What are the risks vs. benefits? Will my Local Research Ethics Committeeaccept the proposal?
FINER: Relevant What will it add to the existing body ofknowledge? Will the results be applicable? Will the results be generalizable?
Common Problems Reinventing the wheel: Review literaturethoroughly, give it a new spin Ethically questionable: Local researchcommittee Question too broad or too narrow: revise yourquestion. Discuss with a mentor Unavailable resources: patient records,money, investigations: Allah m3ak! Unsupportive faculty: find someone else!
What’s Next? Extensive literature review Revise your RQ and Hypothesis Determine variables and confounding factors Discuss your project with an expert Check local university & college policies Proceed to study design
References1. Bordage G, Dawson B. Experimental study designand grant writing in eight steps and 28 questions.Med Educ. 2003;37(4):376-852. Geri LoBiondo-Wood & Judith Haber. NursingResearch: Methods and Critical Appraisal forEvidence-Based Practice, 7th Edition3. Steps Statistical Glossary v1.1http://www.stats.gla.ac.uk/steps/glossary/index.html4. Hulley SB, Cummings SR, eds. Designing clinicalresearch. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1998
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