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Research question


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Published in: Health & Medicine, Technology

Research question

  1. 1. Research question Dr Tarek Tawfik Amin Professor of Public Health Cairo University
  2. 2. Research?  More than a set of skills, it is away of thinking: examining critically the various aspects of day to day professional work;  Understanding and formulating guiding principles that govern a particular procedures;  Developing and testing new theories for the enhancement of your practice. 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  3. 3. Working Definition • It is the habit of questioning with systematic examination of the observed information to find answers which may results in more effective professional services. Kumar R 2005.
  4. 4. Definition: Research is a structured inquiry that utilizes acceptable scientific methodology to solve problems and creates new knowledge that is generally applicable. Grinnell 1993 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  5. 5. Types of research Application Pure research Applied research Objectives Descriptive research Correlational research Inquiry mode Exploratory research Explanatory research Quantitative research Qualitative research
  6. 6. Research process “The 8 steps model” Research design: functions FINER Literature review Formulating a research question Methods and tools of data collection Instruments for data collection Research design Sampling theory and designs Selecting a sample Research protocol writing Methods of data Processing: computing and statistics Data collection Editing Study designs Variables and hypotheses: definition and typology What How Data processing Research report Coding Code book Field test of the tools Validity and reliability of the research tool Principles of Scientific writing Contents of research proposal Conducting of the study
  7. 7. I- Conceiving the Research Question. The research question is the uncertainty about something in the population that the investigator wants to resolve by making measurements on his study subjects. No shortage of questions as one leads to another. 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  8. 8. Tamoxifen and Cancer Breast. Tamoxifen reduces the risk of cancer breast during 4 years of use by women at high risk of breast cancer. Many other questions evolved: o Does tamoxifen reduce the risk of death due to breast cancer? o How long should treatment be continued? o Might other drugs with the same action are beneficial without the risk of tamoxifen-induced thromboembolism? o Does the use of such drug increases the risk for other cancer (ovarian)? The difficulty in question lies in finding one that can be transformed into a feasible and valid study plan. 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  9. 9. Origins of a research question.  For established investigator: The best research questions usually emerge from findings and problems faced and observed in prior studies, and in those of other workers in the field “Major Players”.  For new and other investigators: ☼ Mastering of the literature. ☼ Being alert to new ideas and techniques. ☼ Keeping the imagination roaming. ☼ Attending seminar, workshops and conferences. 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  10. 10. Reviewing of the existing literature Essential at all steps of your journey Time consuming Frustrating Inappropriate keywords Searching methods (strategies) The initial paradox Provides the background/rationale for your research (clarity and focus) Refine your research methodology (links/associations/new approaches) How your work will contribute to the body of knowledge (compared to others’) Broaden your knowledge base (writing) How to integrate your work (writing)
  11. 11. Paradox of literature review Lack of idea about the problem to be investigated The literature search shape your research problem
  12. 12. Formulating research problem Potential research questions may occur to us on a regular basis, but the process of formulating them in a meaningful way is not at all an easy task. (Meenaghan & Twoomey 1985)
  13. 13. Research problem “Garbage in, garbage out” Research problem is the input into the study which influence the quality of your research (output). Problem formulation will govern the design, sampling, instruments used, and analysis used.
  14. 14. Research problems (the 4Ps) Aspect of study about Study of Study population People Individuals, organizations, groups, communities Subject areas Problem Issues, situations, associations, needs, profiles etc., Program Phenomenon Content structure, outcomes, attributes, etc., Cause-effect, relationships, etc., Provide you with required information or you collect information from them Information that you need to collect to find answers to your research question
  15. 15. Considerations in selecting a research problem (topic) Interest Magnitude Personal interest, motivation How much is required Measurement Availability of indicators and measurement of concepts and variables Expertise Know your limitations, ask for help Relevance Relevant to your profession, bridging gap, and add new knowledge Data availability In case of using secondary sources Ethical considerations
  16. 16. Steps in formulation of a research problem Indentify broad field or subject area of your interest Dissect the broad area into subareas Assess your objectives and double check for sufficient interest Formulate the objectives Select what is of most interest to you Raise the research question
  17. 17. Review of literature at all steps Physical activity Am I interested in doing that Tools, sample, resources etc., Steps in formulation of a research problem Prevalence Barriers Profile Genders Sedenatrism Attitudes Knowledge Objective: assessing the population knowledge about the role of PA in cancer prevention. Knowledge of the role of PA and cancer prevention How much is the population knowledge gap about PA and cancer prevention?
  18. 18. Characteristics of a good research question “FINER Criteria”. Feasible Interesting Novel Ethical Relevant Adequate number of subjects. Adequate technical expertise Affordable in time and money Manageable in scope To the investigator Confirms or refuses previous findings Extends previous findings Provides new findings To scientific knowledge To clinical and health policy To future research directions
  19. 19. The research question should specifies! Predictor Exposure Smoking Confounders Confounders Occupational hazards Outcome Disease Cancer lung
  20. 20. The research question and study plan: problems and solutions Potential problem The research question is not FINER 1- Not feasible too broad not enough subjects available methods beyond the skills of the investigator too expensive 2- Not interesting, novel, or relevant 3- Uncertain ethical suitability The study plan is vague Solutions Specify a smaller set of variables Narrow the question. Expand the inclusion criteria Eliminate or modify exclusion criteria Add other sources of subjects Lengthen the time frame for entry into study Use strategies to decrease sample size Collaborate with those who have skills Consult and review the literature for alternative methods Consult and modify the research question
  21. 21. The structure of a research project is set out in its protocol, the written plan of the study. The functions of the protocol are:  Seeking grant funds.  Helping the investigator to organize his research in a logical, focused, and efficient way. 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  22. 22. Elements of protocol Research questions Significance (background) Design time frame epidemiologic approach Subjects selection criteria sampling design Variables predictor variables confounding outcome variables Statistical issues hypotheses sample size analytic approach Purpose What questions will the study address? Why are these questions important? How is the study structured? Who are the subjects and how will they be selected? What measurements will be made? How large is the study and how will it be analyzed?
  23. 23. Exercise: Consider the following research questions. First, write each question in a single sentence that specifies a predictor, outcome, and population. Then discuss whether it meets the FINER criteria. Rewrite the question in a form that overcomes any problems in meeting their criteria. 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  24. 24. Exercise: A. What is the relationship between depression and health? B. Does eating red meat cause cancer? C. Does lowering serum cholesterol prevent heart disease? D. Can a relaxation exercise decrease the anxiety associated with mammography? E. Do contraceptive vaginal sponges prevent HIV infection? F. Does dietary pattern among school children affect their health? 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik
  25. 25. Assignment: Formulate a research questions regarding health and health-related problems that may be encountered in: A. Rural community and the available health facilities. B. Urban primary health care facility. C. Primary schools. 11/26/2013 Dr. Tarek Tawfik