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)
Topic vs. RQ vs. HypothesisInterest Topic RQ Hypothesis
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)
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)l Null Hypothesis: Ho– Innocent till proven guiltyl Alternative Hypothesis: H1l Directional vs. Non-directional HypothesisN.B. PICO Clinical Question in EBM
Sources for the RQl Clinical Experiencel Mentorl Literature Overviewl Conferencesl Research Experience
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.
Mentorl Discuss ideas with an experienced physicianin the area of your interest.l Other benefits.l Do your homework
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!
Conferencesl Latest updates in the fieldl Abstracts bookl Meeting the experts
Research Experiencel One’s previous research experiencel Do one and it will lead you to another
What Makes a Good RQ?FINER Criteria (4)l Feasiblel Interestingl Novell Ethicall Relevant
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?
FINER: Interestingl Is it interesting to me?l Is it interesting to others around me?l Is it interesting to journal editors?
FINER: Novell Don’t reinvent the wheell Am I addressing something new?l Am I addressing something old in a newway?
FINER: Ethicall Are there any ethical issues?l What are the risks vs. benefits?l Will my Local Research Ethics Committeeaccept the proposal?
FINER: Relevantl What will it add to the existing body ofknowledge?l Will the results be applicable?l Will the results be generalizable?
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!
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
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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