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How to formulate a research question


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  • 1. How to Formulatea Research QuestionDr. Bassem S. Kurdi, MBBSDemonstratorDepartment of PediatricsFaculty of Medicine, KAU
  • 2. Objectivesl  What is a research question?l  Topic vs. RQ vs. Hypothesisl  Sources for the RQl  What makes a good RQ?l  Common problems in RQsl  What’s after the RQl  References
  • 3. ObjectivesINSPIRATION!
  • 4. What is a Research Question?l  The first methodological step to resolve ascientific uncertainty.l  It is an organized and more specificinquisitive statement of the topic under studythat can be translated into a research projectl  “The single most important component of astudy... It is the keystone of the entireexercise” (1)
  • 5. Topic vs. RQ vs. HypothesisInterest Topic RQ Hypothesis
  • 6. Topic vs. RQ vs. Hypothesisl  Interest: A general interest in a specific fieldl  Topic: A broad idea requiring further analysis–  Could include population, variables, etc.l  RQ: Brings a piece of the topic into focusl  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)
  • 7. 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!
  • 8. The Hypothesis!Terms of interest: (3)l  Null Hypothesis: Ho–  Innocent till proven guiltyl  Alternative Hypothesis: H1l  Directional vs. Non-directional HypothesisN.B. PICO Clinical Question in EBM
  • 9. It’s Only the Beginning!
  • 10. Sources for the RQl  Clinical Experiencel  Mentorl  Literature Overviewl  Conferencesl  Research Experience
  • 11. Clinical Experiencel  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.
  • 12. Mentorl  Discuss ideas with an experienced physicianin the area of your interest.l  Other benefits.l  Do your homework
  • 13. Literature Overviewl  Journals: Pediatrics, NEJM, JAMA, SaudiMedical Journal, etc.l  Online Databases: MedLine. PubMed,Google Schoolarl  Local university publications databasel  Don’t re-invent the wheel!
  • 14. Conferencesl  Latest updates in the fieldl  Abstracts bookl  Meeting the experts
  • 15. Research Experiencel  One’s previous research experiencel  Do one and it will lead you to another
  • 16. What Makes a Good RQ?FINER Criteria (4)l  Feasiblel  Interestingl  Novell  Ethicall  Relevant
  • 17. FINER: Feasiblel  Time. Can this be done in a reasonable timeframe for me?l  Money. Can sufficient funding be collected?Is it too expensive?l  Population. Can a large enough sample sizebe secured?l  Skills. Are any special skills required andavailable?l  Resources. Can I secure the requiredresources?
  • 18. FINER: Interestingl  Is it interesting to me?l  Is it interesting to others around me?l  Is it interesting to journal editors?
  • 19. FINER: Novell  Don’t reinvent the wheell  Am I addressing something new?l  Am I addressing something old in a newway?
  • 20. FINER: Ethicall  Are there any ethical issues?l  What are the risks vs. benefits?l  Will my Local Research Ethics Committeeaccept the proposal?
  • 21. FINER: Relevantl  What will it add to the existing body ofknowledge?l  Will the results be applicable?l  Will the results be generalizable?
  • 22. FINER is Fine!
  • 23. Common Problemsl  Reinventing the wheel: Review literaturethoroughly, give it a new spinl  Ethically questionable: Local researchcommitteel  Question too broad or too narrow: revise yourquestion. Discuss with a mentorl  Unavailable resources: patient records,money, investigations: Allah m3ak!l  Unsupportive faculty: find someone else!
  • 24. What’s Next?l  Extensive literature reviewl  Revise your RQ and Hypothesisl  Determine variables and confounding factorsl  Discuss your project with an expertl  Check local university & college policiesl  Proceed to study design
  • 25. 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 v1.1  Hulley SB, Cummings SR, eds. Designing clinicalresearch. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1998
  • 26. How to Formulate a Research QuestionThis presentation can be found at:www.bassemkurdi.comDisclaimer: All images used in this presentation are property of their respectiveowners unless otherwise stated. This presentation is for non-profit educationalpurposes only.