Research Guides & Tools

PHASE 1: PLANNING YOUR RESEARCH

FORMULATE THE RESEARCH QUESTION:

Where do Ideas for Research come from?

Your interests and experience! Research is time consuming so it is best to begin with a topic that fascinates you. Think of your clinical experience and ask yourself:

  1. Why are things done this way?
  2. What is the process from which this situation arose?
  3. What would happen if…?
Literature: JEMS articles can be helpful in alerting researchers to clinical trends or issues of clinical importance. Published research reports may suggest problem areas, identify limitations and recommend future research topics. 
A research question should address the FINER criteria:

  1. Feasible (in terms of time, money, expertise, scope, etc.)
  2. Interesting
  3. Novel (confirms, refutes or extends previous research)
  4. Ethical
  5. Relevant
A research question should address the PICO criteria:

  • Population of interest (what specific patient population are you interested in?)
  • Intervention being studied (if applicable)
  • Comparison group
  • Outcome of interest (what do you intend to measure, accomplish, improve or effect?)
PICO criteria are useful to use in the development of a specific research question. Quite often, timing is added to denote the period of time over which a study is conducted. For more information on well-built clinical questions using PICO, click on the following link: https://healthlinks.washington.edu/ebp/pico.html

Example of a Research Question:

"What is the effect of an information and emotional support intervention (I) on the anxiety levels (O) of spouses of ICU patients (P) in the first 72 hours post admission? [C: spouses of ICU patients that do not receive support intervention]"
A research question should contain a stem word (what, when, where, how, why).

PERFORM A LITERATURE REVIEW

It’s necessary to learn as much as possible about the status quo of current procedures relating to the research topic and to review existing practice guidelines or protocols.

  1. Literature Searching in 10 Steps
  2. How to perform a literature search

DESIGN THE STUDY METHODS

  1. Select the design
  2. Determine the sample
  3. Select the measures
  4. Plan statistical analyses
  5. Design procedures
  6. Get feedback from your colleagues!
  7. Research Methods – Knowledge Base is a comprehensive web-based textbook that covers the entire research process including: sampling, measurement, research design and data analysis.

OBTAIN ETHICS APPROVAL

When humans are used as study participants, care must be exercised in ensuring that the rights of those humans are protected. Research Ethics Boards (REBs) ensure that ethical guidelines are met and followed in research activities.

  1. Ottawa Hospital Research Ethics Board (OHREB)
  2. OHREB sample consent & information sheet

APPLY FOR FUNDING

Guidebook for New Principal Investigators – CIHR
PHASE 2: CONDUCTING THE RESEARCH
  • Collect the Data
  • Analyze the Data
PHASE 3: DISSEMINATING THE RESEARCH

Prepare Manuscript for Publication

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