aIdentifying a topic
Research topics usually come from the work environment, the professional literature or a conference presentation. When choosing a topic select an area of study that excites you, keep it simple (reasonable/doable), and if possible do a pilot study to see if there are any problems with the design. The following questions should help you identify your research topic.
- Jot down at least 5 questions that have arisen from your practice or discussions with your colleagues. Choose questions about which you are very curious and to which you would love to know the answer. ( “I wonder why/ what/ which/how…?”)
- Look over your list and decide which questions interest you the most. Rank your questions in order of interest.
- Answer the following questions for your top 3 choices
- Why does it interest you?
- Why do you know to know the answer?
- Is it a simple question or it has several parts?
- is it possible to do a mini pilot study on this question, or part of it, to see if it is feasible?
- Is there an obvious theory base for this question? If so, name it here:
- Write a paragraph on the major point of the theory
- In your opinion does this question answer a significant problem? if so, answer the question “so what”? here
- what variable will you be studying? List them here
- at the first glance, does it appear to you that you will be able to find a way to identify and measure those variables?
- Take a stab at identifying types of measuring instruments for as many variables as possible
- Guess what resources you might need to study this question:
- What type of subjects (humans, clinical specimens, collected data) will you need to study this question
- Are these available to you?
Modified from the book “Research for the Health Professional, a Practical guide” by Diana M. Bailey