afm_050 - Blackwell Science, LtdOxford, UK AFMAsia Pacic...

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42 www.blackwellpublishing.com/journals/afm RESEARCH METHODOLGY Asia Pacifc Family Medicine 2003; 2 : 42–44 Blackwel Science, LtdOxford, UK AFMAsia Paci±c Family Medicine14 4-1683© 20 3 Blackwel Science Asia Pty Ltd 21March 20 3 050 Cho sing a research question R Jones 10.1046/j.14 4-1683.20 2.0 050.x Research MethodologyBEES SGML Correspondence: Professor Roger Jones MA DM FRCP F MedSci FFPHM, Wolfson Professor of General Practice, Department of General Practice & Primary Care, GKT School of Medicine, 5 Lambeth Walk, London SE11 6SP, United Kingdom. Email: roger.jones@kcl.ac.uk Choosing a research question Roger JONES Guy’s, King’s & St Thomas’ School o± Medicine, London, United Kingdom Introduction Deciding on an answerable and relevant research ques- tion lies at the heart of all good research projects. In this article, I will attempt to lay out the process of developing, re±ning and settling on a research ques- tion and assessing the quality of the question itself and the research that is likely to result from it. I will try to illustrate some of these points by reference to my own experiences, both as a researcher in primary care for the last 20 years and as editor of Family Practice, an international journal of primary medical care. The stimulus to ask a question The wish to choose a research question can arise at almost any stage in a medical career, from an under- graduate medical student embarking on a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc) or other project work, through postgraduate Masters degree students; to service gen- eral practitioners, and newly appointed or not so newly appointed clinical academics. Research runs in the bloodstream of a fortunate few in academic gen- eral practice, but others may not be so lucky. On the one hand, clinical practice can throw up so many uncertainties that endless questions can present themselves. These are not necessarily all researchable though, and choosing a tightly focused question can be a dif±cult and elusive goal. However, when con- fronted by the need to do a research project (for example as part of a Masters degree), some may ±nd it very dif±cult to think of anything that appears ‘worth’ researching. We have found in relation to our own Masters in General Practice program at King’s College London how important it is to provide con- structive support and encouragement for post- graduate students at this critical phase in their research careers. Getting started The origins of research questions are numerous, and include: personal clinical experience the recognition of research gaps when engaged in audit or guideline development reading the literature, where a stimulating editorial or a particularly arresting original paper immediately suggests further research involvement in policy development, when evaluation of new services or methods of working becomes particularly important.
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afm_050 - Blackwell Science, LtdOxford, UK AFMAsia Pacic...

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