Writing a Good Research Question Writing a Good Research Question The following unit will discuss the basics of how to develop a good research questions and will provide examples of well-designed questions. Identify the process for writing meaningful research questions. Developing a good research question is one of the first critical steps in the research process. The research question, when appropriately written, will guide the research project and assist in the construction of a logical argument.
Open in a separate window A poorly devised research question may affect the choice of study design, potentially lead to futile situations and, thus, hamper the chance of determining anything of clinical significance, which will then affect the potential for publication.
Without devoting appropriate resources to developing the research question, the quality of the study and subsequent results may be compromised. During the initial stages of any research study, it is therefore imperative to formulate a research question that is both clinically relevant and answerable.
Research hypothesis The primary research question should be driven by the hypothesis rather than the data. This sounds intuitive; however, if we take, for example, a database of information, it is potentially possible to perform multiple statistical comparisons of groups within the database to find a statistically significant association.
Multiple statistical testing of associations from data previously collected could potentially lead to spuriously positive findings of association through chance alone. The research or clinical hypothesis is developed from the research question and then the main elements of the study — sampling strategy, intervention if applicablecomparison and outcome variables — are summarized in a form that establishes the basis for testing, statistical and ultimately clinical significance.
The investigative team would first state a research hypothesis. This could be expressed as a single outcome e. The null hypothesis for the preceding research hypothesis then would be that there is no difference in mean functional outcome between the computer-assisted insertion and free-hand placement techniques.
After forming the null hypothesis, the researchers would form an alternate hypothesis stating the nature of the difference, if it should appear. The alternate hypothesis would be that there is a difference in mean functional outcome between these techniques. At the end of the study, the null hypothesis is then tested statistically.
If the findings of the study are not statistically significant i. In other words, hypothesis testing confirms or refutes the statement that the observed findings did not occur by chance alone but rather occurred because there was a true difference in outcomes between these surgical procedures.
The concept of statistical hypothesis testing is complex, and the details are beyond the scope of this article.
Another important concept inherent in hypothesis testing is whether the hypotheses will be 1-sided or 2-sided. A 2-sided hypothesis states that there is a difference between the experimental group and the control group, but it does not specify in advance the expected direction of the difference.
For example, we asked whether there is there an improvement in outcomes with computer-assisted surgery or whether the outcomes worse with computer-assisted surgery. We presented a 2-sided test in the above example because we did not specify the direction of the difference. A 1-sided hypothesis states a specific direction e.
A 2-sided hypothesis should be used unless there is a good justification for using a 1-sided hypothesis. Whereas the investigators may state the hypothesis as being 1-sided there is an improvement with treatmentthe study and investigators must adhere to the concept of clinical equipoise.
According to this principle, a clinical or surgical trial is ethical only if the expert community is uncertain about the relative therapeutic merits of the experimental and control groups being evaluated. Acting on the principles of appropriate hypothesis development, the study can then confidently proceed to the development of the research objective.
Research objective The primary objective should be coupled with the hypothesis of the study.
Study objectives define the specific aims of the study and should be clearly stated in the introduction of the research protocol. Note that the study objective is an active statement about how the study is going to answer the specific research question.
Objectives can and often do state exactly which outcome measures are going to be used within their statements.
They are important because they not only help guide the development of the protocol and design of study but also play a role in sample size calculations and determining the power of the study.
For example, the most methodologically sound randomized controlled trial comparing 2 techniques of distal radial fixation would have little or no clinical impact if the primary objective was to determine the effect of treatment A as compared to treatment B on intraoperative fluoroscopy time.
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|Recent Posts||This is because, in each module that you study, you are expected to do a research to prompt your thinking and reasoning. It is therefore important to have the required skills as you draft your paper for proper understanding to the readers.|
However, if the objective was to determine the effect of treatment A as compared to treatment B on patient functional outcome at 1 year, this would have a much more significant impact on clinical decision-making. Second, more meaningful surgeon—patient discussions could ensue, incorporating patient values and preferences with the results from this study.
The following is an example from the literature about the relation between the research question, hypothesis and study objectives:Jun 28, · Use the following list of research paper topics as a starting point for your paper. As you begin learning and writing about your topic, you should revise or amend your research question or thesis statement to better match the information that you are interpreting, analyzing, and expressing.
All Rights Reserved. The 10 Questions You Should Know. A simple question can help you feel better, let you take better care of yourself, or save your life. The questions below can get you started.
Writing research papers has become inevitable while in college. This is because, in each module that you study, you are expected to do a research to prompt your thinking and reasoning.
What is a Research Paper? "Research paper." What image comes into mind as you hear those words: working with stacks of articles and books, hunting the "treasure" of others' thoughts?
Floyd J. Fowler, Jr.
is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received a PhD from the University of Michigan in A Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston since , he was Director of the Center for 14 years.