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What are the good

research question ?
good research questions need to
be specific, so that you may
Choose the appropriate methods
Identify the required resources
Plan your work realistically
define useful objectives

What are the good research


question ?

A good research question


Relevant [theoretically or practically
significant]
Feasible/realistic in terms of research ]
researchable] and your academic abilities
[suits you]
Original { but replications may be needed]
Interesting
Clear/specific and simple

Relevant
The question is of interest to sports
medicine
Question is raised through your reading of
the literature or through your practice
Filling a gap in knowledge
Analyzing assumptions in your
practice/training
Monitoring a development in practice
Comparing different approaches
Testing theories within a specific population

Feasible/realistic
Are you able to access what you
need

People ( recruitment)
Statistics
Documents from which to collect the
data and address the question fully?
Can this data be accessed within the
limited time and resources you have
available to you?

Original
Try to not simply copy questions
asked in by others
It shows your own imagination and
your ability to construct and develop
research issues.
If not wholly original at least
substantial: it needs to have sufficient
scope to develop into a project.

Interesting
This is key !

The question needs to be one that


interests
YOU
AND

Is likely to remain interesting for the


duration of
the project.

Interesting
You need to
Have real, grounded interest in your
research question.
Be able to explore this and back it up
by academic and intellectual debate
It is your interest that will motivate you
To keep working
To produce good scholarly work

Clear / specific and simple


A good research question will be
clear specific and simple
This allows you to define the
resources
Needs to answer it satisfactorily
Clear on the: who, what & why?
Clear on the : where, when & how?

Who, what & why


Who (study population)?
General: sportsmen
Specific; rugby players aged 20 30 who
have had a knee injury within the last 6
months
What (is the intervention)?
General: footwear
Specific: provide ergonomically designed
footwear
Why (are we trying to do this)?
General : to minimize injuries
Specific : to minimize knee injuries

Where , when & how

Where (within which setting?)


General : primary care
Specific : play ground
When (time frame)?
General : rugby season
Specific : second month of the rugby season
How (can we implement)?
General : monitor that players wear the new
footware.
Specific have an observer observe that players
wear the new footwear when the go on to the
field to practice or play a game.

Clear / specific and simple


Once you have a clear question, review it
to see if really requires research
The "so what" test
What is the benefit of answering your
research question?
Who will it help ( and how)?
If you cannot make a definite statement
about the purpose of your research, think
again.

The structured approach

Write up the project before you start data collection


Introduction
Scientific literature review
Formulate the research question/hypothesis
methods
Be specific about all aspects of the research
Results
Leave gaps to be filled in when you have collected
the data
This makes you think about data analysis and
presentation

Question Vs Hypothesis

question
What is the average height of
volleyball players?

Hypothesis

We hypothesise that ankle injuries in


football players are caused by bad
footwear.
A tentative explanation for certain
behaviors or events that will occur or
have occurred.

hypothesis

Based on sound rationale


Consistent with previous research
Provides a reasonable explanation
testable

Types of hypothesis
Directional
States a relationship between the variables
Studied or difference between
experimental conditions/interventions
planned.
Eg. There is a positive relationship
between the number of times ankle
injuries occur and the number of defects
found in footwear of rugby players"

Types of hypothesis
Null
State that there is no relationship
between the variables studied or
difference between experimental
conditions/;interventions planned.
Eg. "There is no difference between
the number of times ankle injuries
occur and the number of defects
found in footwear of rugby players"

The Structured Approach


Write up the project before you start data
collection!
Introduction
Scientific literature review
Formulate the research question/hypothesis
Methods
Be specific about all aspects of the research
Results
Leave gaps to be filled in when you have
collected the data
This makes you think about data analysis and
presentation

How to begin ?

action
Do lots of reading on your topic
Note (computer or elsewhere)anything
relevant to your study
Map out the contemporary debates
and critiques in the area
Any recent legal or policy changes of
significance
Any main practice issues to consider

Action
Where ? In what settings will you recruit
your population?
What access do you have to it?
Will there be ethical issues? [ Think of
an Ethical Review Application].
How might you be able to negotiate
access?
What obstacles are there?
Do you need funding?

Action
Are there sources of secondary data
that you could access?
Are there possibilities for
documentary analysis?
Can you access these?

Action
Any skills and knowledge?
Do you like interviewing?
Will you be able to get interviews
transcribed?
Are you keen to do surveys?
Are you keen to measurements?
Are you interested in lab work?

Action
What sort of time frame are you
going to need to do the sort of
research you are planning?
How much time have you got?
Are your plans unrealistic?

Don't forget
Start with a problem that uses your current
knowledge and matches your interests.
You can learn research methods, data
analysis, writing, and presenting skills as
you choose to expand your abilities [ the
emphasis is on research training].
Most importantly, find a person who can
guide your interests and support your
work. [You MUST NOT work on your own]
Find a mentor!