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10 Research Question Examples to Guide your Research Project

Published on October 30, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on October 19, 2023.

The research question is one of the most important parts of your research paper , thesis or dissertation . It’s important to spend some time assessing and refining your question before you get started.

The exact form of your question will depend on a few things, such as the length of your project, the type of research you’re conducting, the topic , and the research problem . However, all research questions should be focused, specific, and relevant to a timely social or scholarly issue.

Once you’ve read our guide on how to write a research question , you can use these examples to craft your own.

Note that the design of your research question can depend on what method you are pursuing. Here are a few options for qualitative, quantitative, and statistical research questions.

Other interesting articles

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

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HS 390W: Current Health Issues

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Current Health Issues, Topics and Trends

Choosing a topic:

There are many places to look for information about current health issues, from newspapers and news stories to scholarly articles, as well as government and non-profit organization websites. Try these websites to look at current health trends:

Government Websites

  • American Public Health Association: Topics & Issues
  • Health Topics (MedlinePlus)
  • Health Topics A to Z (Healthfinder.gov)
  • HHS Blog (Department of Health and Human Services) Be sure to look at the categories on the left hand side as well as the most recent tweets .
  • Minority Health Topics
  • Women's Health: Health Issues
  • New York Times: Health Topics

The Who and What of your Question

  • Health professionals, religious organization, news outlets
  • Who is the author’s desired audience?
  • Are they credible?
  • Does the author have a bias or agenda?
  • What is your topic?
  • Is it controversial?
  • Is it currently in the news?
  • Is there federal policy around it?
  • Best practices
  • What are the geographic parameters?

Formulating a question

Once you've decided on a topic, think about what questions you want to ask about that topic.  What would you like to know more about?  Thinking about this will help you develop a research question. 

Examples of research questions:

  • Does improved nutrition in children impact academic achievement?
  • Are teenage drivers more likely to be involved in automobile accidents? 
  • Do early intervention programs prevent smoking among teenagers who live in rural areas within the United States?
  • Do bicycle seats effect reproductive health in professional cyclists? 
  • Are pregnant women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds less likely to use prenatal vitamins?

After you have formulated a research question, you'll want to search a variety of health resource to make sure that there is enough information about your topic for you to complete the assignments. 

Factors to consider when formulating a research question:

  • What is the health issue (is it looking at the prevention of a health condition, is it about the treatment of a health condition, etc.?)
  • Who is your audience: is it a population, or is it an individual, such as a patient?
  • How is the information going to be used by a population or a patient?
  • What types of resources should be consulted to answer the complexity of your question? Evidence-based? Peer-reviewed?
  • How many resources might be necessary in order to adequately research the topic?
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Defining the Question: Foreground & Background Questions

In order to most appropriately choose an information resource and craft a search strategy, it is necessary to consider what  kind  of question you are asking: a specific, narrow "foreground" question, or a broader background question that will help give context to your research?

Foreground Questions

A "foreground" question in health research is one that is relatively specific, and is usually best addressed by locating primary research evidence. 

Using a structured question framework can help you clearly define the concepts or variables that make up the specific research question. 

 Across most frameworks, you’ll often be considering:

  • a who (who was studied - a population or sample)
  • a what (what was done or examined - an intervention, an exposure, a policy, a program, a phenomenon)
  • a how ([how] did the [what] affect the [who] - an outcome, an effect). 

PICO is the most common framework for developing a clinical research question, but multiple question frameworks exist.

PICO (Problem/Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome)

Appropriate for : clinical questions, often addressing the effect of an intervention/therapy/treatment

Example : For adolescents with type II diabetes (P) does the use of telehealth consultations (I) compared to in-person consultations  (C) improve blood sugar control  (O)?

Framing Different Types of Clinical Questions with PICO

Different types of clinical questions are suited to different syntaxes and phrasings, but all will clearly define the PICO elements.  The definitions and frames below may be helpful for organizing your question:

Intervention/Therapy

Questions addressing how a clinical issue, illness, or disability is treated.

"In__________________(P), how does__________________(I) compared to_________________(C) affect______________(O)?"

Questions that address the causes or origin of disease, the factors which produce or predispose toward a certain disease or disorder.

"Are_________________(P), who have_________________(I) compared with those without_________________(C) at_________________risk for/of_________________(O) over_________________(T)?" 

Questions addressing the act or process of identifying or determining the nature and cause of a disease or injury through evaluation.

In_________________(P) are/is_________________(I) compared with_________________(C) more accurate in diagnosing_________________(O)?

Prognosis/Prediction:

Questions addressing the prediction of the course of a disease.

In_________________(P), how does_________________(I) compared to_________________ (C) influence_________________(O)?

Questions addressing how one experiences a phenomenon or why we need to approach practice differently.

"How do_________________(P) with_________________(I) perceive_________________(O)?" 

Adapted from: Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2011). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Beyond PICO: Other Types of Question Frameworks

PICO is a useful framework for clinical research questions, but may not be appropriate for all kinds of reviews.  Also consider:

PEO (Population, Exposure, Outcome)

Appropriate for : describing association between particular exposures/risk factors and outcomes

Example : How do  preparation programs (E) influence the development of teaching competence  (O) among novice nurse educators  (P)?

SPIDER (Sample, Phenomenon of Interest, Design, Evaluation, Research Type)

Appropriate for : questions of experience or perspectives (questions that may be addressed by qualitative or mixed methods research)

Example : What are the experiences and perspectives (E) of  undergraduate nursing students  (S)  in clinical placements within prison healthcare settings (PI)?

SPICE (Setting, Perspective, Intervention/phenomenon of Interest, Comparison, Evaluation)

Appropriate for : evaluating the outcomes of a service, project, or intervention

Example : What are the impacts and best practices for workplace (S) transition support programs (I) for the retention (E) of newly-hired, new graduate nurses (P)?

PCC (Problem/population, Concept, Context)

Appropriate for : broader (scoping) questions

Example : How do nursing schools  (Context) teach, measure, and maintain nursing students ' (P)  technological literacy  (Concept))throughout their educational programs?

Background Questions

To craft a strong and reasonable foreground research question, it is important to have a firm understanding of the concepts of interest.  As such, it is often necessary to ask background questions, which ask for more general, foundational knowledge about a disorder, disease, patient population, policy issue, etc. 

For example, consider the PICO question outlined above:

"For adolescents with type II diabetes does the use of telehealth consultations compared to in-person consultations  improve blood sugar control ?

To best make sense of the literature that might address this PICO question, you would also need a deep understanding of background questions like:

  • What are the unique barriers or challenges related to blood sugar management in adolescents with TII diabetes?
  • What are the measures of effective blood sugar control?
  • What kinds of interventions would fall under the umbrella of 'telehealth'?
  • What are the qualitative differences in patient experience in telehealth versus in-person interactions with healthcare providers?
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Examples of Research Questions

Phd in nursing science program, examples of broad clinical research questions include:.

  • Does the administration of pain medication at time of surgical incision reduce the need for pain medication twenty-four hours after surgery?
  • What maternal factors are associated with obesity in toddlers?
  • What elements of a peer support intervention prevent suicide in high school females?
  • What is the most accurate and comprehensive way to determine men’s experience of physical assault?
  • Is yoga as effective as traditional physical therapy in reducing lymphedema in patients who have had head and neck cancer treatment?
  • In the third stage of labor, what is the effect of cord cutting within the first three minutes on placenta separation?
  • Do teenagers with Type 1 diabetes who receive phone tweet reminders maintain lower blood sugars than those who do not?
  • Do the elderly diagnosed with dementia experience pain?
  •  How can siblings’ risk of depression be predicted after the death of a child?
  •  How can cachexia be prevented in cancer patients receiving aggressive protocols involving radiation and chemotherapy?

Examples of some general health services research questions are:

  • Does the organization of renal transplant nurse coordinators’ responsibilities influence live donor rates?
  • What activities of nurse managers are associated with nurse turnover?  30 day readmission rates?
  • What effect does the Nurse Faculty Loan program have on the nurse researcher workforce?  What effect would a 20% decrease in funds have?
  • How do psychiatric hospital unit designs influence the incidence of patients’ aggression?
  • What are Native American patient preferences regarding the timing, location and costs for weight management counseling and how will meeting these preferences influence participation?
  •  What predicts registered nurse retention in the US Army?
  • How, if at all, are the timing and location of suicide prevention appointments linked to veterans‘ suicide rates?
  • What predicts the sustainability of quality improvement programs in operating rooms?
  • Do integrated computerized nursing records across points of care improve patient outcomes?
  • How many nurse practitioners will the US need in 2020?

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Introduction

Identifying key concepts and search terms, frameworks for question formulation.

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Whether you are practicing evidence-informed decision making or conducting research (e.g. a systematic review), the first step of the process is to clearly define the question or problem in a searchable and answerable format. This step of the process helps you answer the questions:  

  • “Who is my target group?
  • What is the issue we are dealing with?
  • What specifically are we trying to change?”

Source: NCCMT .

Using a framework to develop your question can help to identify the main concepts of your review topic (see further down the page). Whether you use a framework or not, the goal is to identify the main concepts of your question and the synonyms / similar terms that might be used to describe each of those concepts:

health research questions examples

Combining search terms with AND or OR:

  • Use AND to combine different  main concepts of your search: childhood AND obesity. Narrows results
  • Use OR to include similar terms / synonyms (and sometimes antonyms) for a concept: childhood OR adolescence. Fertility OR infertility. Broadens results

health research questions examples

Considerations for searching:

It is not always necessary to include all of your main concepts in the search. In some PICO questions, the outcome (O) is implied and does not need to be included. In other cases, any and all outcomes might of interest and so the search strategy can leave this out to keep it open.

Example for the research question: In seniors with dementia, does a falls prevention program, compared to no falls prevention program, result in decreased falls?

  • In the following PICO question, the comparator (C) can be left out of the search strategy as there is no great way to search for "not" having the intervention (in contrast to when there is a placebo or an alternate intervention as a comparison)
  • Also, the intervention (I) somewhat implies the outcome (O), so the outcome (decreased falls) can be left out of the search strategy
  • The main concepts that should be included in this particular search are: seniors (P1), dementia (P2), and falls prevention (I). Keep in mind though that there are different ways of describing these three concepts and so synonyms / similar terms are important to include in the search as well

Applying a framework when developing a question can help to identify the key concepts and determine inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Example: PICO Question

Example: spice question.

Example from: Booth, A., Noyes, J., Flemming, K., Moore, G., Tunçalp, Ö., & Shakibazadeh, E. (2019).  Formulating questions to explore complex interventions within qualitative evidence synthesis . BMJ Global Health, 4(Suppl 1), e001107.

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Home » Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Questions – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Questions

Research Questions

Definition:

Research questions are the specific questions that guide a research study or inquiry. These questions help to define the scope of the research and provide a clear focus for the study. Research questions are usually developed at the beginning of a research project and are designed to address a particular research problem or objective.

Types of Research Questions

Types of Research Questions are as follows:

Descriptive Research Questions

These aim to describe a particular phenomenon, group, or situation. For example:

  • What are the characteristics of the target population?
  • What is the prevalence of a particular disease in a specific region?

Exploratory Research Questions

These aim to explore a new area of research or generate new ideas or hypotheses. For example:

  • What are the potential causes of a particular phenomenon?
  • What are the possible outcomes of a specific intervention?

Explanatory Research Questions

These aim to understand the relationship between two or more variables or to explain why a particular phenomenon occurs. For example:

  • What is the effect of a specific drug on the symptoms of a particular disease?
  • What are the factors that contribute to employee turnover in a particular industry?

Predictive Research Questions

These aim to predict a future outcome or trend based on existing data or trends. For example :

  • What will be the future demand for a particular product or service?
  • What will be the future prevalence of a particular disease?

Evaluative Research Questions

These aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular intervention or program. For example:

  • What is the impact of a specific educational program on student learning outcomes?
  • What is the effectiveness of a particular policy or program in achieving its intended goals?

How to Choose Research Questions

Choosing research questions is an essential part of the research process and involves careful consideration of the research problem, objectives, and design. Here are some steps to consider when choosing research questions:

  • Identify the research problem: Start by identifying the problem or issue that you want to study. This could be a gap in the literature, a social or economic issue, or a practical problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Conduct a literature review: Conducting a literature review can help you identify existing research in your area of interest and can help you formulate research questions that address gaps or limitations in the existing literature.
  • Define the research objectives : Clearly define the objectives of your research. What do you want to achieve with your study? What specific questions do you want to answer?
  • Consider the research design : Consider the research design that you plan to use. This will help you determine the appropriate types of research questions to ask. For example, if you plan to use a qualitative approach, you may want to focus on exploratory or descriptive research questions.
  • Ensure that the research questions are clear and answerable: Your research questions should be clear and specific, and should be answerable with the data that you plan to collect. Avoid asking questions that are too broad or vague.
  • Get feedback : Get feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, or peers to ensure that your research questions are relevant, feasible, and meaningful.

How to Write Research Questions

Guide for Writing Research Questions:

  • Start with a clear statement of the research problem: Begin by stating the problem or issue that your research aims to address. This will help you to formulate focused research questions.
  • Use clear language : Write your research questions in clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to your readers.
  • Be specific: Your research questions should be specific and focused. Avoid broad questions that are difficult to answer. For example, instead of asking “What is the impact of climate change on the environment?” ask “What are the effects of rising sea levels on coastal ecosystems?”
  • Use appropriate question types: Choose the appropriate question types based on the research design and objectives. For example, if you are conducting a qualitative study, you may want to use open-ended questions that allow participants to provide detailed responses.
  • Consider the feasibility of your questions : Ensure that your research questions are feasible and can be answered with the resources available. Consider the data sources and methods of data collection when writing your questions.
  • Seek feedback: Get feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, or peers to ensure that your research questions are relevant, appropriate, and meaningful.

Examples of Research Questions

Some Examples of Research Questions with Research Titles:

Research Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

  • Research Question : What is the relationship between social media use and mental health, and how does this impact individuals’ well-being?

Research Title: Factors Influencing Academic Success in High School

  • Research Question: What are the primary factors that influence academic success in high school, and how do they contribute to student achievement?

Research Title: The Effects of Exercise on Physical and Mental Health

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between exercise and physical and mental health, and how can exercise be used as a tool to improve overall well-being?

Research Title: Understanding the Factors that Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

  • Research Question : What are the key factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions, and how do these factors vary across different demographics and products?

Research Title: The Impact of Technology on Communication

  • Research Question : How has technology impacted communication patterns, and what are the effects of these changes on interpersonal relationships and society as a whole?

Research Title: Investigating the Relationship between Parenting Styles and Child Development

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between different parenting styles and child development outcomes, and how do these outcomes vary across different ages and developmental stages?

Research Title: The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Treating Anxiety Disorders

  • Research Question: How effective is cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating anxiety disorders, and what factors contribute to its success or failure in different patients?

Research Title: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

  • Research Question : How is climate change affecting global biodiversity, and what can be done to mitigate the negative effects on natural ecosystems?

Research Title: Exploring the Relationship between Cultural Diversity and Workplace Productivity

  • Research Question : How does cultural diversity impact workplace productivity, and what strategies can be employed to maximize the benefits of a diverse workforce?

Research Title: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

  • Research Question: How can artificial intelligence be leveraged to improve healthcare outcomes, and what are the potential risks and ethical concerns associated with its use?

Applications of Research Questions

Here are some of the key applications of research questions:

  • Defining the scope of the study : Research questions help researchers to narrow down the scope of their study and identify the specific issues they want to investigate.
  • Developing hypotheses: Research questions often lead to the development of hypotheses, which are testable predictions about the relationship between variables. Hypotheses provide a clear and focused direction for the study.
  • Designing the study : Research questions guide the design of the study, including the selection of participants, the collection of data, and the analysis of results.
  • Collecting data : Research questions inform the selection of appropriate methods for collecting data, such as surveys, interviews, or experiments.
  • Analyzing data : Research questions guide the analysis of data, including the selection of appropriate statistical tests and the interpretation of results.
  • Communicating results : Research questions help researchers to communicate the results of their study in a clear and concise manner. The research questions provide a framework for discussing the findings and drawing conclusions.

Characteristics of Research Questions

Characteristics of Research Questions are as follows:

  • Clear and Specific : A good research question should be clear and specific. It should clearly state what the research is trying to investigate and what kind of data is required.
  • Relevant : The research question should be relevant to the study and should address a current issue or problem in the field of research.
  • Testable : The research question should be testable through empirical evidence. It should be possible to collect data to answer the research question.
  • Concise : The research question should be concise and focused. It should not be too broad or too narrow.
  • Feasible : The research question should be feasible to answer within the constraints of the research design, time frame, and available resources.
  • Original : The research question should be original and should contribute to the existing knowledge in the field of research.
  • Significant : The research question should have significance and importance to the field of research. It should have the potential to provide new insights and knowledge to the field.
  • Ethical : The research question should be ethical and should not cause harm to any individuals or groups involved in the study.

Purpose of Research Questions

Research questions are the foundation of any research study as they guide the research process and provide a clear direction to the researcher. The purpose of research questions is to identify the scope and boundaries of the study, and to establish the goals and objectives of the research.

The main purpose of research questions is to help the researcher to focus on the specific area or problem that needs to be investigated. They enable the researcher to develop a research design, select the appropriate methods and tools for data collection and analysis, and to organize the results in a meaningful way.

Research questions also help to establish the relevance and significance of the study. They define the research problem, and determine the research methodology that will be used to address the problem. Research questions also help to determine the type of data that will be collected, and how it will be analyzed and interpreted.

Finally, research questions provide a framework for evaluating the results of the research. They help to establish the validity and reliability of the data, and provide a basis for drawing conclusions and making recommendations based on the findings of the study.

Advantages of Research Questions

There are several advantages of research questions in the research process, including:

  • Focus : Research questions help to focus the research by providing a clear direction for the study. They define the specific area of investigation and provide a framework for the research design.
  • Clarity : Research questions help to clarify the purpose and objectives of the study, which can make it easier for the researcher to communicate the research aims to others.
  • Relevance : Research questions help to ensure that the study is relevant and meaningful. By asking relevant and important questions, the researcher can ensure that the study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge and address important issues.
  • Consistency : Research questions help to ensure consistency in the research process by providing a framework for the development of the research design, data collection, and analysis.
  • Measurability : Research questions help to ensure that the study is measurable by defining the specific variables and outcomes that will be measured.
  • Replication : Research questions help to ensure that the study can be replicated by providing a clear and detailed description of the research aims, methods, and outcomes. This makes it easier for other researchers to replicate the study and verify the results.

Limitations of Research Questions

Limitations of Research Questions are as follows:

  • Subjectivity : Research questions are often subjective and can be influenced by personal biases and perspectives of the researcher. This can lead to a limited understanding of the research problem and may affect the validity and reliability of the study.
  • Inadequate scope : Research questions that are too narrow in scope may limit the breadth of the study, while questions that are too broad may make it difficult to focus on specific research objectives.
  • Unanswerable questions : Some research questions may not be answerable due to the lack of available data or limitations in research methods. In such cases, the research question may need to be rephrased or modified to make it more answerable.
  • Lack of clarity : Research questions that are poorly worded or ambiguous can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. This can result in incomplete or inaccurate data, which may compromise the validity of the study.
  • Difficulty in measuring variables : Some research questions may involve variables that are difficult to measure or quantify, making it challenging to draw meaningful conclusions from the data.
  • Lack of generalizability: Research questions that are too specific or limited in scope may not be generalizable to other contexts or populations. This can limit the applicability of the study’s findings and restrict its broader implications.

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Qualitative Research Questions: Gain Powerful Insights + 25 Examples

We review the basics of qualitative research questions, including their key components, how to craft them effectively, & 25 example questions.

Einstein was many things—a physicist, a philosopher, and, undoubtedly, a mastermind. He also had an incredible way with words. His quote, "Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted," is particularly poignant when it comes to research. 

Some inquiries call for a quantitative approach, for counting and measuring data in order to arrive at general conclusions. Other investigations, like qualitative research, rely on deep exploration and understanding of individual cases in order to develop a greater understanding of the whole. That’s what we’re going to focus on today.

Qualitative research questions focus on the "how" and "why" of things, rather than the "what". They ask about people's experiences and perceptions , and can be used to explore a wide range of topics.

The following article will discuss the basics of qualitative research questions, including their key components, and how to craft them effectively. You'll also find 25 examples of effective qualitative research questions you can use as inspiration for your own studies.

Let’s get started!

What are qualitative research questions, and when are they used?

When researchers set out to conduct a study on a certain topic, their research is chiefly directed by an overarching question . This question provides focus for the study and helps determine what kind of data will be collected.

By starting with a question, we gain parameters and objectives for our line of research. What are we studying? For what purpose? How will we know when we’ve achieved our goals?

Of course, some of these questions can be described as quantitative in nature. When a research question is quantitative, it usually seeks to measure or calculate something in a systematic way.

For example:

  • How many people in our town use the library?
  • What is the average income of families in our city?
  • How much does the average person weigh?

Other research questions, however—and the ones we will be focusing on in this article—are qualitative in nature. Qualitative research questions are open-ended and seek to explore a given topic in-depth.

According to the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry , “Qualitative research aims to address questions concerned with developing an understanding of the meaning and experience dimensions of humans’ lives and social worlds.”

This type of research can be used to gain a better understanding of people’s thoughts, feelings and experiences by “addressing questions beyond ‘what works’, towards ‘what works for whom when, how and why, and focusing on intervention improvement rather than accreditation,” states one paper in Neurological Research and Practice .

Qualitative questions often produce rich data that can help researchers develop hypotheses for further quantitative study.

  • What are people’s thoughts on the new library?
  • How does it feel to be a first-generation student at our school?
  • How do people feel about the changes taking place in our town?

As stated by a paper in Human Reproduction , “...‘qualitative’ methods are used to answer questions about experience, meaning, and perspective, most often from the standpoint of the participant. These data are usually not amenable to counting or measuring.”

Both quantitative and qualitative questions have their uses; in fact, they often complement each other. A well-designed research study will include a mix of both types of questions in order to gain a fuller understanding of the topic at hand.

If you would like to recruit unlimited participants for qualitative research for free and only pay for the interview you conduct, try using Respondent  today. 

Crafting qualitative research questions for powerful insights

Now that we have a basic understanding of what qualitative research questions are and when they are used, let’s take a look at how you can begin crafting your own.

According to a study in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, there is a certain process researchers should follow when crafting their questions, which we’ll explore in more depth.

1. Beginning the process 

Start with a point of interest or curiosity, and pose a draft question or ‘self-question’. What do you want to know about the topic at hand? What is your specific curiosity? You may find it helpful to begin by writing several questions.

For example, if you’re interested in understanding how your customer base feels about a recent change to your product, you might ask: 

  • What made you decide to try the new product?
  • How do you feel about the change?
  • What do you think of the new design/functionality?
  • What benefits do you see in the change?

2. Create one overarching, guiding question 

At this point, narrow down the draft questions into one specific question. “Sometimes, these broader research questions are not stated as questions, but rather as goals for the study.”

As an example of this, you might narrow down these three questions: 

into the following question: 

  • What are our customers’ thoughts on the recent change to our product?

3. Theoretical framing 

As you read the relevant literature and apply theory to your research, the question should be altered to achieve better outcomes. Experts agree that pursuing a qualitative line of inquiry should open up the possibility for questioning your original theories and altering the conceptual framework with which the research began.

If we continue with the current example, it’s possible you may uncover new data that informs your research and changes your question. For instance, you may discover that customers’ feelings about the change are not just a reaction to the change itself, but also to how it was implemented. In this case, your question would need to reflect this new information: 

  • How did customers react to the process of the change, as well as the change itself?

4. Ethical considerations 

A study in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education stresses that ethics are “a central issue when a researcher proposes to study the lives of others, especially marginalized populations.” Consider how your question or inquiry will affect the people it relates to—their lives and their safety. Shape your question to avoid physical, emotional, or mental upset for the focus group.

In analyzing your question from this perspective, if you feel that it may cause harm, you should consider changing the question or ending your research project. Perhaps you’ve discovered that your question encourages harmful or invasive questioning, in which case you should reformulate it.

5. Writing the question 

The actual process of writing the question comes only after considering the above points. The purpose of crafting your research questions is to delve into what your study is specifically about” Remember that qualitative research questions are not trying to find the cause of an effect, but rather to explore the effect itself.

Your questions should be clear, concise, and understandable to those outside of your field. In addition, they should generate rich data. The questions you choose will also depend on the type of research you are conducting: 

  • If you’re doing a phenomenological study, your questions might be open-ended, in order to allow participants to share their experiences in their own words.
  • If you’re doing a grounded-theory study, your questions might be focused on generating a list of categories or themes.
  • If you’re doing ethnography, your questions might be about understanding the culture you’re studying.

Whenyou have well-written questions, it is much easier to develop your research design and collect data that accurately reflects your inquiry.

In writing your questions, it may help you to refer to this simple flowchart process for constructing questions:

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25 examples of expertly crafted qualitative research questions

It's easy enough to cover the theory of writing a qualitative research question, but sometimes it's best if you can see the process in practice. In this section, we'll list 25 examples of B2B and B2C-related qualitative questions.

Let's begin with five questions. We'll show you the question, explain why it's considered qualitative, and then give you an example of how it can be used in research.

1. What is the customer's perception of our company's brand?

Qualitative research questions are often open-ended and invite respondents to share their thoughts and feelings on a subject. This question is qualitative because it seeks customer feedback on the company's brand. 

This question can be used in research to understand how customers feel about the company's branding, what they like and don't like about it, and whether they would recommend it to others.

2. Why do customers buy our product?

This question is also qualitative because it seeks to understand the customer's motivations for purchasing a product. It can be used in research to identify the reasons  customers buy a certain product, what needs or desires the product fulfills for them, and how they feel about the purchase after using the product.

3. How do our customers interact with our products?

Again, this question is qualitative because it seeks to understand customer behavior. In this case, it can be used in research to see how customers use the product, how they interact with it, and what emotions or thoughts the product evokes in them.

4. What are our customers' biggest frustrations with our products?

By seeking to understand customer frustrations, this question is qualitative and can provide valuable insights. It can be used in research to help identify areas in which the company needs to make improvements with its products.

5. How do our customers feel about our customer service?

Rather than asking why customers like or dislike something, this question asks how they feel. This qualitative question can provide insights into customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a company. 

This type of question can be used in research to understand what customers think of the company's customer service and whether they feel it meets their needs.

20 more examples to refer to when writing your question

Now that you’re aware of what makes certain questions qualitative, let's move into 20 more examples of qualitative research questions:

  • How do your customers react when updates are made to your app interface?
  • How do customers feel when they complete their purchase through your ecommerce site?
  • What are your customers' main frustrations with your service?
  • How do people feel about the quality of your products compared to those of your competitors?
  • What motivates customers to refer their friends and family members to your product or service?
  • What are the main benefits your customers receive from using your product or service?
  • How do people feel when they finish a purchase on your website?
  • What are the main motivations behind customer loyalty to your brand?
  • How does your app make people feel emotionally?
  • For younger generations using your app, how does it make them feel about themselves?
  • What reputation do people associate with your brand?
  • How inclusive do people find your app?
  • In what ways are your customers' experiences unique to them?
  • What are the main areas of improvement your customers would like to see in your product or service?
  • How do people feel about their interactions with your tech team?
  • What are the top five reasons people use your online marketplace?
  • How does using your app make people feel in terms of connectedness?
  • What emotions do people experience when they're using your product or service?
  • Aside from the features of your product, what else about it attracts customers?
  • How does your company culture make people feel?

As you can see, these kinds of questions are completely open-ended. In a way, they allow the research and discoveries made along the way to direct the research. The questions are merely a starting point from which to explore.

This video offers tips on how to write good qualitative research questions, produced by Qualitative Research Expert, Kimberly Baker.

Wrap-up: crafting your own qualitative research questions.

Over the course of this article, we've explored what qualitative research questions are, why they matter, and how they should be written. Hopefully you now have a clear understanding of how to craft your own.

Remember, qualitative research questions should always be designed to explore a certain experience or phenomena in-depth, in order to generate powerful insights. As you write your questions, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Are you being inclusive of all relevant perspectives?
  • Are your questions specific enough to generate clear answers?
  • Will your questions allow for an in-depth exploration of the topic at hand?
  • Do the questions reflect your research goals and objectives?

If you can answer "yes" to all of the questions above, and you've followed the tips for writing qualitative research questions we shared in this article, then you're well on your way to crafting powerful queries that will yield valuable insights.

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Asking the right questions in the right way is the key to research success. That’s true for not just the discussion guide but for every step of a research project. Following are 100+ questions that will take you from defining your research objective through  screening and participant discussions.

Fill out the form below to access free e-book! 

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  • A Research Guide
  • Research Paper Topics
  • 40 Health & Healthcare Research Paper Topics

40 Health & Healthcare Research Paper Topics

Read also: Learn how to organize a research paper .

40 Best Medical Research Topic

  • The history of health. What was considered healthy in the ancient times and what is healthy now?
  • The beauty standards and their impact on overall health throughout the history of humanity
  • Going vegan: when, why and how it can improve your health?
  • Bodypositive: the ignorance of the body problem or the new standard of health?
  • Is the excessive weight the new bane of human civilisation?
  • Bodybuilding: when it is healthy?
  • Professional sports: the impact on health. Professional traumas
  • What shall we really consider while choosing healthy food?
  • What is healthy lifestyles in different ages? How should it change?
  • Psychological health. The importance of its maintaining in modern society
  • The health of newborns and infants. How shall their healthcare differ from the adult one?
  • Is health fashionable now? How the trend for health can benefit society?
  • Ancient health practices that are still useful in modern life
  • Depression and anxiety: shall they be treated as a real threat to health?
  • Healthcare in different countries: what is considered a minimal one?
  • Pregnancy and healthcare: do pregnant women need extra attention?
  • Are all the pills we usually take really needed?
  • Vaccination: why people start to be afraid of it again?
  • Experimental treatment: when and why people agree to undergo it?
  • The most dangerous illnesses of 21 century
  • Living with chronic diseases: how can the health of such people be improved?
  • Plastic surgery: is it safe for health?
  • The basics of the healthcare: how to make people aware of them?
  • Palliative care: the decent rest of life
  • Bioethic: what is this and why it emerged?
  • Chemotherapy: when the cure is doing harm
  • Alternative medicine: does it work?
  • Organ harvesting and transplantation. Can it be soon replaced with organ growth?
  • Chronic pain management: the quality of life
  • Puberty and health issues connected with it
  • Menopause and the health issues during the process of climax
  • Reproductive health: why people become so concerned about it in the last decade?
  • The world’s greatest epidemics. The rise of epidemiology. The prevention of spreading diseases
  • Euthanasia and assisted suicide: the moral aspects. Is it still healthcare?
  • Healthcare in prisons and asylums: does the government maintains the same quality of it?
  • The differences between public and private healthcare
  • Can ban of tobacco and alcohol improve the overall health condition?
  • Sexual education as the way of preventing of spreading of STDs
  • Homeopathy and Homeopathic medicine: why is it suspended in some countries?
  • History of surgery and its role in gathering the knowledge about human health

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213 Best Health Research Topics For Thesis Writing

health research topics

Are you stuck with your university health assignment because getting a good topic is challenging? We know it can be tough, but there is no need to worry because we are here to help. In this post, we have compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best health research paper topics for top grades. So, whether you are looking for top-rated nursing topics , public health topics, or mental health argumentative essay topics, check them out to identify the best option for your work.

Interesting Health Topics to Research

If you want to enjoy doing your assignments in health, it is advisable to always go with interesting topics. So, here are some of the best health topics for research paper for you assignment.

  • The history of health: Comparing what was considered healthy in ancient times? How does it compare? What is considered healthy today?
  • Does the media in the 21 st century encourage child abuse?
  • Beauty standards in the society: How do they impact people’s health?
  • When is body building considered healthy?
  • Can bullying in school impact a student’s achievements especially in the early years of development?
  • Comparing healthy lifestyles of the 20 th century and 21 st
  • What ancient health practices are still important today?
  • How do speech disorders affect the development of a child?
  • What is the difference between mental disorders and mood disorders?
  • COVID-19 vaccination: What is driving the fear in people about it?
  • A closer look at the most dangerous diseases in the 21 st
  • Plastic surgery for beauty: Is it healthy? Should be it be encouraged?
  • What role do therapists play in the treatment of the mental disorder?
  • Sleep deprivation: A closer look at its implications on memory.
  • What are the effectiveness of programs used to manage stress in cancer patients?
  • A closer look at alternative medication: Does it work?
  • Inmate rehabilitation programs in the US: Are they effective?
  • What are the main causes of cancer in the US?
  • How long can a human being live when provided with the best care?
  • Cannabis legalization in the US: Analyzing the Farm Bill Amendments of 2018.
  • The effectiveness of medical cannabis use in managing different conditions.
  • Comparing the pros and cons of cannabis legalization in the US.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder among adults in the US: What are the main causes?
  • Comparing the public and private health facilities in the UK.
  • Using physical exercises in maintaining the right body posture.
  • Seizures in Young Adolescents: What are the main causes?
  • Analyzing the main side effects of Blood Transfusion

Easy Health Related Topics for Research Paper

The following easy health research topics will make you develop better attachment to your work, enjoy more, and rake impressive grades.

  • Genetic engineering: Should the government pass legislation to allow it?
  • A closer look at instances when medical research can pose threat to people.
  • Should we replace doctors with computers?
  • Medical research: Are we doing enough to motivate medical professionals?
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the homeless in the US.
  • Comparing the impact of COVID-19 in children and adults in the US.
  • Comparing mortality rates of medical professionals in the US and China: What should have been done differently?
  • Providing spiritual care: Does it make any logic?
  • The most effective methods of addressing stress for nursing professionals.
  • Psychological approaches to help people conform to healthy diets in their lives.
  • Childhood obesity and parental negligence: Are they related?
  • Does violent music have any implications on young children?
  • Social media and relationships: Does it build or break relationships?
  • Imagining the world without social media.
  • Analyzing how social media has transformed psychological education in college.
  • Analyzing the main types of depression.
  • Autism in early stages: How can it be diagnosed and treated?
  • Addressing depression in students: What role can the teacher play?
  • Depression in the society: Is it impossible to solve?
  • Analyzing the common signs that indicate a person is suffering from depression.
  • A closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of being autistic.
  • Evaluating the education programs used for treating autistic persons.
  • What is the relationship between autism and environmental pressure?
  • Financial instability can easily cause depression: Discuss.

Women’s Health Research Paper Topics

If you want to stand out with your papers on women health, here are some excellent healthcare research paper topics to consider for your work.

  • The impact of using high-heel shoes on women heath.
  • A closer look at the main rules for pregnant women with obesities.
  • A closer look at the main causes of gestational weight gain.
  • Analyzing the role of women in promoting better family health.
  • Endometriosis: Is it related to genetics?
  • Infertility in women: What are the main causes?
  • Using advanced technologies to address the problem of infertility in the UK.
  • Bonding with a baby before birth.
  • The implications of new technology on teens’ health.
  • Comparing teen pregnancy rates in New York to California.
  • Comparing homebirth with hospital birth.
  • Ethical Issues of Surrogate Pregnancy.
  • What are the main symptoms of heart attack in women?
  • Comparing the rates of PTSD in women and men in the state of New York.
  • Is it possible to cure HIV/AIDS?
  • Causes of miscarriage in pregnant women during the first trimester.
  • Episiotomy: What are the pros and cons?
  • Do pregnant women require special care: Justify.
  • What are the main issues associated with puberty?
  • Exploring the ethics of mandatory HIV testing for pregnant mothers.
  • The impact of poverty on children and women.
  • Comparing normal delivery to CS delivery.
  • What are the five main challenges facing women after menopause?

Interesting Health Project Topics for Your Paper

Doing a project can be pretty tough, but you will find the paper very enjoyable to prepare by selecting the right topics. Here are some impressive health topics to write about.

  • What are the causes of the growing surge in diabetes in the UK?
  • What is the health risk of terminating pregnancy?
  • Anorexia Nervosa: What is the effectiveness of the main treatment options?
  • Comparing maternal practices and effectiveness in urban and rural areas.
  • A closer look at contemporary neonatal practices.
  • The use of pet therapy in kids with autism: Is it effective?
  • Self-instruction kits: Are they Effective?
  • Can a kid’s habits be used as a signal for autism?
  • Health insurance: Should it be used to cover infertility technologies?
  • Genetic diseases: What are the best strategies to solve them?
  • Funding medical research: Should more money be directed to genetic engineering?
  • Comparing the pros and cons of telemedicine.
  • Ethics and legal aspects in pediatric care.
  • A closer look at the psychological issues of breast cancer.
  • Virtual reality application in medicine: What are the main benefits?
  • Ethics of surrogacy: Should a woman carry another woman’s child?
  • Informatics approach to developing sustainable health systems: A closer look at Canada.
  • Evidence-based public health informatics: Exploring the pros and cons.
  • Using animal tissues on human beings: Is it a good idea?
  • What is the future of public health informatics?
  • Antibiotics resistance in small kids: What are the main causes?
  • Using GMO to fight hunger: Is it a good idea?
  • Preventing teenage pregnancies: What are the best strategies?
  • The main health challenges facing teenagers today.
  • Human rights issues and their impact on public health.
  • Healthy housing standards in the UK.
  • Opioid Crisis: Are the doctors to blame?
  • Are people too much dependent on antibiotics?
  • Common mental disorders in the US.
  • Comparing the rates of top three mental disorders in London and Manchester.

Mental Health Research Paper Topics

The following health related research topics can help you to dig deeper into mental issues and get top grades.

  • Psychological relaxation: Why is it so important to a person’s health?
  • What are the best treatment options for people with dementia?
  • Alzheimer’s disease: What are the main causes and treatment remedies?
  • What strategies can be used to reduce the problem of postpartum depression?
  • Analyzing the main stages of coping with grief.
  • Women empowerment as a method of reducing teenage pregnancies.
  • Physical illness and depression: How are they connected?
  • Phobias: How do they impact people’s personalities?
  • Modern feminism and women health.
  • Multiple personality disorders: What are the main causes?
  • Hate crimes: What are their implications on the community?
  • Terrorism: What are the implications on a child’s psychology?
  • Teenage suicide: Analyzing the causes and solutions.
  • Tolerance in the family and community: Demonstrating how it can help to improve mental health.
  • Dreaming is a healthy exercise for your body: Discuss.
  • Comparing literature on men and women dreams.
  • How do dreams impact people’s decisions.
  • Dreams and soul: How are they connected?
  • How do adolescents’ dreams differ from those of adults?
  • Transforming dreams into reality: Is it a good idea? Is it possible?
  • What are the best strategies for handling pressure by team members in sports?
  • A closer look at the main challenges faced by new team leaders in organizations.
  • Offender treatment programs: Are they effective?
  • Comparing teenage suicide rates of the 20 th and 21 st
  • Law and psychology: Are they related?
  • Psychology in the military: Why is it so important?
  • Applied behavioral analysis: What is it?
  • The implications of domestic abuse on children performance in school.
  • Is it possible to control panic pain using psychology?
  • What is the best strategy to treat agoraphobia?
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders in children: What are the main causes?
  • A closer look at the symptoms that show a child is suffering from ADHD.
  • Analyzing the main causes of ADHD in adults.
  • Comparing ADHD rates in the US and UK.
  • Is it possible to treat ADHD?

Health and Fitness Topics

Health and fitness papers can be pretty interesting to work on. So, health related topics for research paper in the fitness field. Go ahead and pick the one you consider most interesting:

  • Advantages of good behaviors in sports and competition.
  • Coaches in sports play physical and psychological roles: Discuss.
  • Drinking enough water: Demonstrate why it is so important.
  • Proper ergonomics: Why is it so crucial in preventing muscle strain?
  • Tai chi: Is it a good method of reducing stress and depression?
  • At what point should one consider seeking the help of a sports trainer?
  • The impact of Yoga in Physical fitness.
  • What is the role of fitness in maintaining healthy weight?
  • Regular exercises: How does it impact the nervous system?
  • Tracking personal fitness levels: Why is it so important?
  • Exploring the main principles of fitness training.
  • Multi-stage fitness test: How does it work?
  • What are the best strategies for optimizing cardiovascular fitness?
  • Common diet mistakes that you should avoid for mental and physical health.
  • Analyzing how human muscles adapt to different stress levels.
  • Diet and physical fitness: How are they related?
  • A closer look at the main activities that take place before and after a rigorous training session.
  • Physical fitness: How does it impact the performance of an athlete?
  • Fitness training: Can it be used to control diabetes and obesity?
  • Physical fitness: How does it impact the cognitive development of a child?
  • Analyzing the health benefits of taking whole-grain diets for preventing heart-related problems.
  • What is the effectiveness of outdoor physical activities in preventing heart diseases?
  • Physical activities and aggressive behavior in teenagers: Are they related?
  • A closer look at movement patterns related with higher risks of injury.
  • Alcohol consumption and its impacts on bone development.

Controversial Health Topics for Research Paper

Medical controversies that have happened in history provide you with an opportunity to explore them and even get answers to some of them. The following are some of the best medical controversies topics that you can consider for your paper.

  • The cost of healthcare in the US: Is it justified?
  • Health care for the homeless: Should the government provide free services for them?
  • Should unconventional medicine be incorporated into the national healthcare system?
  • Is there a link between people’s heath and poverty?
  • Using animals for research: Exploring the pros and cons.
  • Should the government provide healthcare for people who are uninsured?
  • Promoting medical products of a specific company: Should doctors be allowed?
  • Womb transplantation: Is it a good alternative for replacing surrogacy?
  • Vaccinations: Should they be made mandatory?
  • Should all doctors be mandated to report cases of organ trafficking?
  • Marijuana legalization: Is it a good idea?
  • The implications of TV shows on people’s diets.
  • Should all TV shows promoting drinking and smoking be banned?
  • Obesity problem: Should it be considered a personal or public issue?
  • Exercising: Are there instances when it can worsen a person’s health?
  • Placing elderly people in elderly centers: Should the elderly or their children make the big decision?
  • Pill controls for teens: Is it a good idea?
  • Should we limit the treatment of people with medical issues to facilities in their communities?
  • Should we pass legislation to regulate the use of social media to prevent the negative impact on people’s health?
  • Forest communities in the Amazon: Should the government be concerned about their health?
  • Learning from disasters: What are the impacts of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945?
  • The dangers of using atomic bombs to the public health: Should we ban the development of atomic bombs?
  • Space medicine: Is it a worthy undertaking?
  • Anticipating the next disaster: What should WHO do to make controlling of the next pandemic after COVID-19 easy?
  • Understanding the process of preparing pandemic during pandemics: Strategies for making the process shorter and more effective.

Awesome Public Health Research Topic Suggestions

If you are studying public health, it is a great idea to pick good ideas to help you not only rake good topics, but also learn more about the subject. Here are some great public health topics for research paper to consider.

  • Diabetes in children: What are the main causes?
  • Comparing measles resurgence in the developing countries in the 20 th
  • National drug problem: What are the main causes?
  • Using social media to enhance public health.
  • Bioterrorism: Comparing the US’s preparedness before and after the 9/11 attack.
  • HIV/AIDS prevention: Is it the best way to address the pandemic.
  • COVID-19 pandemic: Comparing the response of the developed and developing counties.
  • Oil spills in the sea: Analyzing the possible health implications on public health.
  • Smoking in teenagers: What risks does it pose to their adult lives?
  • Maternal mortality rates in numbers: Comparing the rates in the US and a developing country of choice.
  • Public health risks associated with lack of clean water and sanitation in developing counties.
  • Analyzing the efforts of the UK administration to help prevent cognitive decline in adults.
  • Comparing the cost of health care in the US and South America.
  • Should all hospitals in the UK be required to have translators for non-English speakers?
  • Parental care for children: Should doctors be legally allowed to provide medical care to minors irrespective of the parent’s wishes.
  • Fast food chains and obesity: Should the State regulate the foods sold in these enterprises?
  • Should teenagers be allowed to access birth control pills on demand?
  • At what age should sex education be started in a student’s life?
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of quarantine in preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Using student nurses to help control health pandemics: Is it a good idea?
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of global coordination in fighting COVID-19 pandemic?
  • A closer look at WHO: How effectively did it handle COVID-19 outbreak?
  • Is the world prepared for global health pandemic? A closer look at Ebola and COVID-19 pandemics.
  • COVID-19 pandemic mystery: Exploring the different theories about the causes.

Seek Research Paper Writing Help

Once you have picked the best ideas for your work, be they on mental health, nursing, women health or health informatics research paper topics, it signals the start of your writing journey. At this point, you need good research and writing skills to craft a good paper. However, you should not give up on getting the best grade. The best idea is seeking expert research paper writing help.

Our online writing service is offered by research helpers who know how to write the best papers and guarantee you the best grades no matter the topic of choice. From definition to health argument topics, no task is too tough for our writers. Our services are also cheap and we can handle even the papers with tight deadlines. See – no need for stress at all!

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Forming Focused Questions with PICO: PICO Examples

Created by health science librarians.

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  • PICO's Limitations

Practice Your Skills

Cancer care and peer support, cultural awareness and nursing care, labor & delivery, infection control, nurse educator, nurse practitioner, public health, school nursing.

  • Other Question Frameworks

Practice writing out PICO components and then forming a focused question about one of the case studies below. Choose one or several that interest you.

You have read that peer support interventions help individuals and families affected by cancer across the care continuum from prevention through survivorship and end-of-life care. You wonder about the characteristics of peer support programs and how peer support programs have been used to reduce disparities and barriers to care.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for cancer care.

Nurses in oncology units interact frequently with adults with cancer who do not speak English as their primary language. You are curious whether cultural awareness among nurses improves these patients’ care and participation in the decision-making process.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for nursing care.

You’re a new nurse on a labor and delivery unit. You’ve noticed that most women give birth in the lithotomy position at the encouragement of their doctors. However, you’re sure you heard in nursing school that other positions are less likely to lead to deliveries with forceps or a vacuum.. or did you? You want to find some literature to back up your claim.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for labor and delivery.

You work in the Big City Hospital ICU. Your mechanically ventilated patients sometimes contract nosocomial pneumonia, which leads to costly complications. You want to know if raising the head of the bed lowers the chance of the patient contracting pneumonia compared to letting the patient lie flat on their back.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for the ICU..

In the past few years, your hospital has installed antibacterial foam dispensers on all the nursing units. You’ve had nurses asking you if the foam is just as effective as washing their hands with water and soap.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for infection control.

Shift change on your busy med-surg unit can be frustrating for you and your coworkers. Report at the nursing station takes up to 30 minutes, by the end of which you’re anxious to see your patients. You read something in a recent ANA newsletter about other hospitals switching to a bedside shift report, and you want to find out if staff liked that style of shift change better.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario in med-surg.

Open to check your pico analysis of the scenario in the nicu..

It’s the last semester of your BSN students’ time in school and they’re excited.. and anxious! They’ve been asking you if they should take the NCLEX right after they graduate or wait for a while after graduation so they can relax and study.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for nurse educators.

It’s winter at your family practice, and you have a lot of patients coming in with runny noses and general malaise. Brenda, a 35 year old working mother in for a checkup states, "I’m so busy between work and home that I definitely don’t have time to get sick! Can those vitamin C or zinc pills prevent colds?"

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for nurse practitioners.

The main concern for most of your patients coming out of anesthesia in your PACU is pain. You want to explore nursing interventions you can use on top of medication administration to decrease pain. One coworker mentions trying to make the PACU feel less clinical by playing soft music to relax patients.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for PACU.

You work in a pediatrician’s office and give patients their routine vaccinations. The younger children are often fearful of needles, and some of the staff use toys to distract the patients. You want to know if this technique actually has an effect on the children's pain response.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for pediatrics.

You work on an inpatient psychiatric unit. One of your patients with chronic schizophrenia, Joe, normally mumbles to himself, but will occasionally speak to others when residents play games together. Noticing this, you say to a coworker that maybe social skills group training sessions would bring out Joe’s conversational skills. Your coworker shakes her head and says "I don’t think so. Joe is in and out of this hospital, he’s a lost cause."

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for psychiatry.

You coordinate health education programs and have been holding seminars for teenagers about STI prevention. You’ve been found that they’re hesitant to open up to you during classes to ask you questions. You’re wondering if recruiting peer educators closer to their age will encourage them to actively participate and get more satisfaction out of the classes.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for public health.

On your pulmonary unit, many of your COPD patients receive injections of heparin to prevent pulmonary emboli, and patients find the bruises associated with heparin injections unsightly. You’ve had nursing students shadowing you lately, so you’ve been particularly concerned with injection technique. You want to find out if the duration of injection has any effect on the extent of bruising.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for pulmonary.

You’re a school nurse and one aspect of your job is counseling pregnant teens with the aim of enabling them to complete high school. You’ve even been conducting home visits on top of your normal in-school meetings as part of their preparation-for-motherhood counseling. You want sources to backup the effectiveness of these home visits.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for school nursing.

A diabetic patient from a nursing home has recently been admitted with a stage III pressure ulcers on his heels. The unit nurses have called you in for a wound consult. You have to choose between standard moist wound therapy and using a wound vac.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario for wound care.

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  • Last Updated: Feb 6, 2024 9:51 AM
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Grad Coach

Research Aims, Objectives & Questions

The “Golden Thread” Explained Simply (+ Examples)

By: David Phair (PhD) and Alexandra Shaeffer (PhD) | June 2022

The research aims , objectives and research questions (collectively called the “golden thread”) are arguably the most important thing you need to get right when you’re crafting a research proposal , dissertation or thesis . We receive questions almost every day about this “holy trinity” of research and there’s certainly a lot of confusion out there, so we’ve crafted this post to help you navigate your way through the fog.

Overview: The Golden Thread

  • What is the golden thread
  • What are research aims ( examples )
  • What are research objectives ( examples )
  • What are research questions ( examples )
  • The importance of alignment in the golden thread

What is the “golden thread”?  

The golden thread simply refers to the collective research aims , research objectives , and research questions for any given project (i.e., a dissertation, thesis, or research paper ). These three elements are bundled together because it’s extremely important that they align with each other, and that the entire research project aligns with them.

Importantly, the golden thread needs to weave its way through the entirety of any research project , from start to end. In other words, it needs to be very clearly defined right at the beginning of the project (the topic ideation and proposal stage) and it needs to inform almost every decision throughout the rest of the project. For example, your research design and methodology will be heavily influenced by the golden thread (we’ll explain this in more detail later), as well as your literature review.

The research aims, objectives and research questions (the golden thread) define the focus and scope ( the delimitations ) of your research project. In other words, they help ringfence your dissertation or thesis to a relatively narrow domain, so that you can “go deep” and really dig into a specific problem or opportunity. They also help keep you on track , as they act as a litmus test for relevance. In other words, if you’re ever unsure whether to include something in your document, simply ask yourself the question, “does this contribute toward my research aims, objectives or questions?”. If it doesn’t, chances are you can drop it.

Alright, enough of the fluffy, conceptual stuff. Let’s get down to business and look at what exactly the research aims, objectives and questions are and outline a few examples to bring these concepts to life.

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

Research Aims: What are they?

Simply put, the research aim(s) is a statement that reflects the broad overarching goal (s) of the research project. Research aims are fairly high-level (low resolution) as they outline the general direction of the research and what it’s trying to achieve .

Research Aims: Examples  

True to the name, research aims usually start with the wording “this research aims to…”, “this research seeks to…”, and so on. For example:

“This research aims to explore employee experiences of digital transformation in retail HR.”   “This study sets out to assess the interaction between student support and self-care on well-being in engineering graduate students”  

As you can see, these research aims provide a high-level description of what the study is about and what it seeks to achieve. They’re not hyper-specific or action-oriented, but they’re clear about what the study’s focus is and what is being investigated.

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health research questions examples

Research Objectives: What are they?

The research objectives take the research aims and make them more practical and actionable . In other words, the research objectives showcase the steps that the researcher will take to achieve the research aims.

The research objectives need to be far more specific (higher resolution) and actionable than the research aims. In fact, it’s always a good idea to craft your research objectives using the “SMART” criteria. In other words, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound”.

Research Objectives: Examples  

Let’s look at two examples of research objectives. We’ll stick with the topic and research aims we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic:

To observe the retail HR employees throughout the digital transformation. To assess employee perceptions of digital transformation in retail HR. To identify the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR.

And for the student wellness topic:

To determine whether student self-care predicts the well-being score of engineering graduate students. To determine whether student support predicts the well-being score of engineering students. To assess the interaction between student self-care and student support when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students.

  As you can see, these research objectives clearly align with the previously mentioned research aims and effectively translate the low-resolution aims into (comparatively) higher-resolution objectives and action points . They give the research project a clear focus and present something that resembles a research-based “to-do” list.

The research objectives detail the specific steps that you, as the researcher, will take to achieve the research aims you laid out.

Research Questions: What are they?

Finally, we arrive at the all-important research questions. The research questions are, as the name suggests, the key questions that your study will seek to answer . Simply put, they are the core purpose of your dissertation, thesis, or research project. You’ll present them at the beginning of your document (either in the introduction chapter or literature review chapter) and you’ll answer them at the end of your document (typically in the discussion and conclusion chapters).  

The research questions will be the driving force throughout the research process. For example, in the literature review chapter, you’ll assess the relevance of any given resource based on whether it helps you move towards answering your research questions. Similarly, your methodology and research design will be heavily influenced by the nature of your research questions. For instance, research questions that are exploratory in nature will usually make use of a qualitative approach, whereas questions that relate to measurement or relationship testing will make use of a quantitative approach.  

Let’s look at some examples of research questions to make this more tangible.

Research Questions: Examples  

Again, we’ll stick with the research aims and research objectives we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic (which would be qualitative in nature):

How do employees perceive digital transformation in retail HR? What are the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR?  

And for the student wellness topic (which would be quantitative in nature):

Does student self-care predict the well-being scores of engineering graduate students? Does student support predict the well-being scores of engineering students? Do student self-care and student support interact when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students?  

You’ll probably notice that there’s quite a formulaic approach to this. In other words, the research questions are basically the research objectives “converted” into question format. While that is true most of the time, it’s not always the case. For example, the first research objective for the digital transformation topic was more or less a step on the path toward the other objectives, and as such, it didn’t warrant its own research question.  

So, don’t rush your research questions and sloppily reword your objectives as questions. Carefully think about what exactly you’re trying to achieve (i.e. your research aim) and the objectives you’ve set out, then craft a set of well-aligned research questions . Also, keep in mind that this can be a somewhat iterative process , where you go back and tweak research objectives and aims to ensure tight alignment throughout the golden thread.

The importance of strong alignment 

Alignment is the keyword here and we have to stress its importance . Simply put, you need to make sure that there is a very tight alignment between all three pieces of the golden thread. If your research aims and research questions don’t align, for example, your project will be pulling in different directions and will lack focus . This is a common problem students face and can cause many headaches (and tears), so be warned.

Take the time to carefully craft your research aims, objectives and research questions before you run off down the research path. Ideally, get your research supervisor/advisor to review and comment on your golden thread before you invest significant time into your project, and certainly before you start collecting data .  

Recap: The golden thread

In this post, we unpacked the golden thread of research, consisting of the research aims , research objectives and research questions . You can jump back to any section using the links below.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below – we always love to hear from you. Also, if you’re interested in 1-on-1 support, take a look at our private coaching service here.

health research questions examples

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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34 Comments

Isaac Levi

Thank you very much for your great effort put. As an Undergraduate taking Demographic Research & Methodology, I’ve been trying so hard to understand clearly what is a Research Question, Research Aim and the Objectives in a research and the relationship between them etc. But as for now I’m thankful that you’ve solved my problem.

Hatimu Bah

Well appreciated. This has helped me greatly in doing my dissertation.

Dr. Abdallah Kheri

An so delighted with this wonderful information thank you a lot.

so impressive i have benefited a lot looking forward to learn more on research.

Ekwunife, Chukwunonso Onyeka Steve

I am very happy to have carefully gone through this well researched article.

Infact,I used to be phobia about anything research, because of my poor understanding of the concepts.

Now,I get to know that my research question is the same as my research objective(s) rephrased in question format.

I please I would need a follow up on the subject,as I intends to join the team of researchers. Thanks once again.

Tosin

Thanks so much. This was really helpful.

sylas

i found this document so useful towards my study in research methods. thanks so much.

Michael L. Andrion

This is my 2nd read topic in your course and I should commend the simplified explanations of each part. I’m beginning to understand and absorb the use of each part of a dissertation/thesis. I’ll keep on reading your free course and might be able to avail the training course! Kudos!

Scarlett

Thank you! Better put that my lecture and helped to easily understand the basics which I feel often get brushed over when beginning dissertation work.

Enoch Tindiwegi

This is quite helpful. I like how the Golden thread has been explained and the needed alignment.

Sora Dido Boru

This is quite helpful. I really appreciate!

Chulyork

The article made it simple for researcher students to differentiate between three concepts.

Afowosire Wasiu Adekunle

Very innovative and educational in approach to conducting research.

Sàlihu Abubakar Dayyabu

I am very impressed with all these terminology, as I am a fresh student for post graduate, I am highly guided and I promised to continue making consultation when the need arise. Thanks a lot.

Mohammed Shamsudeen

A very helpful piece. thanks, I really appreciate it .

Sonam Jyrwa

Very well explained, and it might be helpful to many people like me.

JB

Wish i had found this (and other) resource(s) at the beginning of my PhD journey… not in my writing up year… 😩 Anyways… just a quick question as i’m having some issues ordering my “golden thread”…. does it matter in what order you mention them? i.e., is it always first aims, then objectives, and finally the questions? or can you first mention the research questions and then the aims and objectives?

UN

Thank you for a very simple explanation that builds upon the concepts in a very logical manner. Just prior to this, I read the research hypothesis article, which was equally very good. This met my primary objective.

My secondary objective was to understand the difference between research questions and research hypothesis, and in which context to use which one. However, I am still not clear on this. Can you kindly please guide?

Derek Jansen

In research, a research question is a clear and specific inquiry that the researcher wants to answer, while a research hypothesis is a tentative statement or prediction about the relationship between variables or the expected outcome of the study. Research questions are broader and guide the overall study, while hypotheses are specific and testable statements used in quantitative research. Research questions identify the problem, while hypotheses provide a focus for testing in the study.

Saen Fanai

Exactly what I need in this research journey, I look forward to more of your coaching videos.

Abubakar Rofiat Opeyemi

This helped a lot. Thanks so much for the effort put into explaining it.

Lamin Tarawally

What data source in writing dissertation/Thesis requires?

What is data source covers when writing dessertation/thesis

Latifat Muhammed

This is quite useful thanks

Yetunde

I’m excited and thankful. I got so much value which will help me progress in my thesis.

Amer Al-Rashid

where are the locations of the reserch statement, research objective and research question in a reserach paper? Can you write an ouline that defines their places in the researh paper?

Webby

Very helpful and important tips on Aims, Objectives and Questions.

Refiloe Raselane

Thank you so much for making research aim, research objectives and research question so clear. This will be helpful to me as i continue with my thesis.

Annabelle Roda-Dafielmoto

Thanks much for this content. I learned a lot. And I am inspired to learn more. I am still struggling with my preparation for dissertation outline/proposal. But I consistently follow contents and tutorials and the new FB of GRAD Coach. Hope to really become confident in writing my dissertation and successfully defend it.

Joe

As a researcher and lecturer, I find splitting research goals into research aims, objectives, and questions is unnecessarily bureaucratic and confusing for students. For most biomedical research projects, including ‘real research’, 1-3 research questions will suffice (numbers may differ by discipline).

Abdella

Awesome! Very important resources and presented in an informative way to easily understand the golden thread. Indeed, thank you so much.

Sheikh

Well explained

New Growth Care Group

The blog article on research aims, objectives, and questions by Grad Coach is a clear and insightful guide that aligns with my experiences in academic research. The article effectively breaks down the often complex concepts of research aims and objectives, providing a straightforward and accessible explanation. Drawing from my own research endeavors, I appreciate the practical tips offered, such as the need for specificity and clarity when formulating research questions. The article serves as a valuable resource for students and researchers, offering a concise roadmap for crafting well-defined research goals and objectives. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced researcher, this article provides practical insights that contribute to the foundational aspects of a successful research endeavor.

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80 fascinating psychology research questions for your next project

Last updated

15 February 2024

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

Psychology research is essential for furthering our understanding of human behavior and improving the diagnosis and treatment of psychological conditions.

When psychologists know more about how different social and cultural factors influence how humans act, think, and feel, they can recommend improvements to practices in areas such as education, sport, healthcare, and law enforcement.

Below, you will find 80 research question examples across 16 branches of psychology. First, though, let’s look at some tips to help you select a suitable research topic.

  • How to choose a good psychology research topic

Psychology has many branches that break down further into topics. Choosing a topic for your psychology research paper can be daunting because there are so many to choose from. It’s an important choice, as the topic you select will open up a range of questions to explore.

The tips below can help you find a psychology research topic that suits your skills and interests.

Tip #1: Select a topic that interests you

Passion and interest should fuel every research project. A topic that fascinates you will most likely interest others as well. Think about the questions you and others might have and decide on the issues that matter most. Draw on your own interests, but also keep your research topical and relevant to others.

Don’t limit yourself to a topic that you already know about. Instead, choose one that will make you want to know more and dig deeper. This will keep you motivated and excited about your research.

Tip #2: Choose a topic with a manageable scope

If your topic is too broad, you can get overwhelmed by the amount of information available and have trouble maintaining focus. On the other hand, you may find it difficult to find enough information if you choose a topic that is too narrow.

To determine if the topic is too broad or too narrow, start researching as early as possible. If you find there’s an overwhelming amount of research material, you’ll probably need to narrow the topic down. For example, instead of researching the general population, it might be easier to focus on a specific age group. Ask yourself what area of the general topic interests you most and focus on that.

If your scope is too narrow, try to generalize or focus on a larger related topic. Expand your search criteria or select additional databases for information. Consider if the topic is too new to have much information published on it as well.

Tip #3: Select a topic that will produce useful and relevant insights

Doing some preliminary research will reveal any existing research on the topic. If there is existing research, will you be able to produce new insights? You might need to focus on a different area or see if the existing research has limitations that you can overcome.

Bear in mind that finding new information from which to draw fresh insights may be impossible if your topic has been over-researched.

You’ll also need to consider whether your topic is relevant to current trends and needs. For example, researching psychology topics related to social media use may be highly relevant today.

  • 80 psychology research topics and questions

Psychology is a broad subject with many branches and potential areas of study. Here are some of them:

Developmental

Personality

Experimental

Organizational

Educational

Neuropsychology

Controversial topics

Below we offer some suggestions on research topics and questions that can get you started. Keep in mind that these are not all-inclusive but should be personalized to fit the theme of your paper.

Social psychology research topics and questions

Social psychology has roots as far back as the 18th century. In simple terms, it’s the study of how behavior is influenced by the presence and behavior of others. It is the science of finding out who we are, who we think we are, and how our perceptions affect ourselves and others. It looks at personalities, relationships, and group behavior.

Here are some potential research questions and paper titles for this topic:

How does social media use impact perceptions of body image in male adolescents?

2. Is childhood bullying a risk factor for social anxiety in adults?

Is homophobia in individuals caused by genetic or environmental factors?

What is the most important psychological predictor of a person’s willingness to donate to charity?

Does a person’s height impact how other people perceive them? If so, how?

Cognitive psychology research questions

Cognitive psychology is the branch that focuses on the interactions of thinking, emotion, creativity, and problem-solving. It also explores the reasons humans think the way they do.

This topic involves exploring how people think by measuring intelligence, thoughts, and cognition. 

Here are some research question ideas:

6. Is there a link between chronic stress and memory function?

7. Can certain kinds of music trigger memories in people with memory loss?

8. Do remote meetings impact the efficacy of team decision-making?

9. Do word games and puzzles slow cognitive decline in adults over the age of 80?

10. Does watching television impact a child’s reading ability?

Developmental psychology research questions

Developmental psychology is the study of how humans grow and change over their lifespan. It usually focuses on the social, emotional, and physical development of babies and children, though it can apply to people of all ages. Developmental psychology is important for understanding how we learn, mature, and adapt to changes.

Here are some questions that might inspire your research:

11. Does grief accelerate the aging process?

12. How do parent–child attachment patterns influence the development of emotion regulation in teenagers?

13. Does bilingualism affect cognitive decline in adults over the age of 70?

14. How does the transition to adulthood impact decision-making abilities

15. How does early exposure to music impact mental health and well-being in school-aged children?

Personality psychology research questions

Personality psychology studies personalities, how they develop, their structures, and the processes that define them. It looks at intelligence, disposition, moral beliefs, thoughts, and reactions.

The goal of this branch of psychology is to scientifically interpret the way personality patterns manifest into an individual’s behaviors. Here are some example research questions:

16. Nature vs. nurture: Which impacts personality development the most?

17. The role of genetics on personality: Does an adopted child take on their biological parents’ personality traits?

18. How do personality traits influence leadership styles and effectiveness in organizational settings?

19. Is there a relationship between an individual’s personality and mental health?

20. Can a chronic illness affect your personality?

Abnormal psychology research questions

As the name suggests, abnormal psychology is a branch that focuses on abnormal behavior and psychopathology (the scientific study of mental illness or disorders).

Abnormal behavior can be challenging to define. Who decides what is “normal”? As such, psychologists in this area focus on the level of distress that certain behaviors may cause, although this typically involves studying mental health conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and phobias.

Here are some questions to consider:

21. How does technology impact the development of social anxiety disorder?

22. What are the factors behind the rising incidence of eating disorders in adolescents?

23. Are mindfulness-based interventions effective in the treatment of PTSD?

24. Is there a connection between depression and gambling addiction?

25. Can physical trauma cause psychopathy?

Clinical psychology research questions

Clinical psychology deals with assessing and treating mental illness or abnormal or psychiatric behaviors. It differs from abnormal psychology in that it focuses more on treatments and clinical aspects, while abnormal psychology is more behavioral focused.

This is a specialty area that provides care and treatment for complex mental health conditions. This can include treatment, not only for individuals but for couples, families, and other groups. Clinical psychology also supports communities, conducts research, and offers training to promote mental health. This category is very broad, so there are lots of topics to explore.

Below are some example research questions to consider:

26. Do criminals require more specific therapies or interventions?

27. How effective are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in treating mental health disorders?

28. Are there any disadvantages to humanistic therapy?

29. Can group therapy be more beneficial than one-on-one therapy sessions?

30. What are the factors to consider when selecting the right treatment plan for patients with anxiety?

Experimental psychology research questions

Experimental psychology deals with studies that can prove or disprove a hypothesis. Psychologists in this field use scientific methods to collect data on basic psychological processes such as memory, cognition, and learning. They use this data to test the whys and hows of behavior and how outside factors influence its creation.

Areas of interest in this branch relate to perception, memory, emotion, and sensation. The below are example questions that could inspire your own research:

31. Do male or female parents/carers have a more calming influence on children?

32. Will your preference for a genre of music increase the more you listen to it?

33. What are the psychological effects of posting on social media vs. not posting?

34. How is productivity affected by social connection?

35. Is cheating contagious?

Organizational psychology research questions

Organizational psychology studies human behavior in the workplace. It is most frequently used to evaluate an employee, group, or a company’s organizational dynamics. Researchers aim to isolate issues and identify solutions.

This area of study can be beneficial to both employees and employers since the goal is to improve the overall work environment and experience. Researchers apply psychological principles and findings to recommend improvements in performance, communication, job satisfaction, and safety. 

Some potential research questions include the following:

36. How do different leadership styles affect employee morale?

37. Do longer lunch breaks boost employee productivity?

3 8. Is gender an antecedent to workplace stress?

39. What is the most effective way to promote work–life balance among employees?

40. How do different organizational structures impact the effectiveness of communication, decision-making, and productivity?

Forensic psychology research questions

Forensic psychology research aims to provide professional psychological expertise within the legal and judicial systems. Forensic psychologists apply clinical developmental, cognitive, and social psychology to legal situations,using theories, principles, and research methods to better understand legal issues and functions.

Some questions to consider exploring in this branch of psychology are:

41. How does incarceration affect mental health?

42. Is childhood trauma a driver for criminal behavior during adulthood?

43. Are people with mental health conditions more likely to be victims of crimes?

44. What are the drivers of false memories, and how do they impact the justice system?

45. Is the media responsible for copycat crimes?

Educational psychology research questions

Educational psychology studies children in an educational setting. It covers topics like teaching methods, aptitude assessment, self-motivation, technology, and parental involvement.

Research in this field of psychology is vital for understanding and optimizing learning processes. It informs educators about cognitive development, learning styles, and effective teaching strategies.

Here are some example research questions:

46. Are different teaching styles more beneficial for children at different times of the day?

47. Can listening to classical music regularly increase a student’s test scores?

48. Is there a connection between sugar consumption and knowledge retention in students?

49. Does sleep duration and quality impact academic performance?

50. Does daily meditation at school influence students’ academic performance and mental health?

Sports psychology research question examples

Sport psychology aims to optimize physical performance and well-being in athletes by using cognitive and behavioral practices and interventions. Some methods include counseling, training, and clinical interventions.

Research in this area is important because it can improve team and individual performance, resilience, motivation, confidence, and overall well-being

Here are some research question ideas for you to consider:

51. How can a famous coach affect a team’s performance?

52. How can athletes control negative emotions in violent or high-contact sports?

53. How does using social media impact an athlete’s performance and well-being?

54. Can psychological interventions help with injury rehabilitation?

55. How can mindfulness practices boost sports performance?

Cultural psychology research question examples

The premise of this branch of psychology is that mind and culture are inseparable. In other words, people are shaped by their cultures, and their cultures are shaped by them. This can be a complex interaction.

Cultural psychology is vital as it explores how cultural context shapes individuals’ thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions. It provides insights into diverse perspectives, promoting cross-cultural understanding and reducing biases.

Here are some ideas that you might consider researching:

56. Are there cultural differences in how people perceive and deal with pain?

57. Are different cultures at increased risk of developing mental health conditions?

58. Are there cultural differences in coping strategies for stress?

59. Do our different cultures shape our personalities?

60. How does multi-generational culture influence family values and structure?

Health psychology research question examples

Health psychology is a crucial field of study. Understanding how psychological factors influence health behaviors, adherence to medical treatments, and overall wellness enables health experts to develop effective interventions and preventive measures, ultimately improving health outcomes.

Health psychology also aids in managing stress, promoting healthy behaviors, and optimizing mental health, fostering a holistic approach to well-being.

Here are five ideas to inspire research in this field:

61. How can health psychology interventions improve lifestyle behaviors to prevent cardiovascular diseases?

62. What role do social norms play in vaping among adolescents?

63. What role do personality traits play in the development and management of chronic pain conditions?

64. How do cultural beliefs and attitudes influence health-seeking behaviors in diverse populations?

65. What are the psychological factors influencing the adherence to preventive health behaviors, such as vaccination and regular screenings?

Neuropsychology research paper question examples

Neuropsychology research explores how a person’s cognition and behavior are related to their brain and nervous system. Researchers aim to advance the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and cognitive effects of neurological disorders.

Researchers may work with children facing learning or developmental challenges, or with adults with declining cognitive abilities. They may also focus on injuries or illnesses of the brain, such as traumatic brain injuries, to determine the effect on cognitive and behavioral functions.

Neuropsychology informs diagnosis and treatment strategies for conditions such as dementia, traumatic brain injuries, and psychiatric disorders. Understanding the neural basis of behavior enhances our ability to optimize cognitive functioning, rehabilitate people with brain injuries, and improve patient care.

Here are some example research questions to consider:

66. How do neurotransmitter imbalances in specific brain regions contribute to mood disorders such as depression?

67. How can a traumatic brain injury affect memory?

68. What neural processes underlie attention deficits in people with ADHD?

69. Do medications affect the brain differently after a traumatic brain injury?

70. What are the behavioral effects of prolonged brain swelling?

Psychology of religion research question examples

The psychology of religion is a field that studies the interplay between belief systems, spirituality, and mental well-being. It explores the application of the psychological methods and interpretive frameworks of religious traditions and how they relate to both religious and non-religious people.

Psychology of religion research contributes to a holistic understanding of human experiences. It fosters cultural competence and guides therapeutic approaches that respect diverse spiritual beliefs.

Here are some example research questions in this field:

71. What impact does a religious upbringing have on a child’s self-esteem?

72. How do religious beliefs shape decision-making and perceptions of morality?

73. What is the impact of religious indoctrination?

74. Is there correlation between religious and mindfulness practices?

75. How does religious affiliation impact attitudes towards mental health treatment and help-seeking behaviors?

Controversial topics in psychology research question examples

Some psychology topics don’t fit into any of the subcategories above, but they may still be worthwhile topics to consider. These topics are the ones that spark interest, conversation, debate, and disagreement. They are often inspired by current issues and assess the validity of older research.

Consider some of these research question examples:

76. How does the rise in on-screen violence impact behavior in adolescents.

77. Should access to social media platforms be restricted in children under the age of 12 to improve mental health?

78. Are prescription mental health medications over-prescribed in older adults? If so, what are the effects of this?

79. Cognitive biases in AI: what are the implications for decision-making?

80. What are the psychological and ethical implications of using virtual reality in exposure therapy for treating trauma-related conditions?

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  • v.4(6); 2013 Jun

Using mixed methods in health research

Shema tariq.

1 School of Health Sciences, City University London, EC1A 7QN, London, UK

Jenny Woodman

2 MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health, UCL Institute of Child Health, WC1N 1EH, London, UK

Mixed methods research is the use of quantitative and qualitative methods in a single study or series of studies. It is an emergent methodology which is increasingly used by health researchers, especially within health services research. There is a growing literature on the theory, design and critical appraisal of mixed methods research. However, there are few papers that summarize this methodological approach for health practitioners who wish to conduct or critically engage with mixed methods studies. The objective of this paper is to provide an accessible introduction to mixed methods for clinicians and researchers unfamiliar with this approach. We present a synthesis of key methodological literature on mixed methods research, with examples from our own work and that of others, to illustrate the practical applications of this approach within health research. We summarize definitions of mixed methods research, the value of this approach, key aspects of study design and analysis, and discuss the potential challenges of combining quantitative and qualitative methods and data. One of the key challenges within mixed methods research is the successful integration of quantitative and qualitative data during analysis and interpretation. However, the integration of different types of data can generate insights into a research question, resulting in enriched understanding of complex health research problems.

Introduction

Mixed methods research is the use of quantitative and qualitative methods in one study. Research is often dichotomized as quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research, such as clinical trials or observational studies, generates numerical data. On the other hand qualitative approaches tend to generate non-numerical data, using methods such as semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation. Historically, quantitative methods have dominated health research. However, qualitative methods have been increasingly accepted by the health research community in the past two decades, with a rise in publication of qualitative studies. 1 As the value of qualitative approaches has been recognized, there has been a growing interest in combining qualitative and quantitative methods. A recent review of health services research within England has shown an increase in the proportion of studies classified as mixed methods from 17% in the mid-1990s to 30% in the early 2000s. 2 In this paper, we present a synthesis of key literature on mixed methods research, with examples from our own work and that of others to illustrate the practical applications of this approach. This paper is aimed at health researchers and practitioners who are new to the field of mixed methods research and may only have experience of either quantitative or qualitative approaches and methodologies. We wish to provide these readers with an accessible introduction to the increasingly popular methodology of mixed methods research. We hope this will help readers to consider whether their research questions might best be answered by a mixed methods study design, and to engage critically with health research that uses this approach.

The authors each independently carried out a narrative literature review and met to discuss findings. Literature was identified via searches of PubMed, Google and Google Scholar, and hand-searches of the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, with relevant publications selected after discussion. An important consideration was that papers either had a methodological focus or contained a detailed description of their mixed methods design. For PubMed and Google searches, similar terms were used. For example, the PubMed strategy consisted of title and abstract searches for: ((mixed methods) OR ((mixed OR (qualitative AND quantitative)) AND methods)). We also drew upon recommendations from mixed methods conferences and seminars, and reference lists from key publications.

What is mixed methods research?

The most widely accepted definition of mixed methods research is research that ‘focuses on collecting, analysing, and mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or a series of studies’. 3 Central to the definition is the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods in one study (or a series of connected studies). Separate quantitative and qualitative studies addressing the same research question independently would not be considered ‘mixed methods’ as there would be no integration of approaches at the design, analysis or presentation stage. A recent innovation in mixed methods research is the mixed methods systematic review, which sets out to systematically appraise both quantitative and qualitative literature on a subject area and then synthesize the findings.

Why are mixed methods approaches used?

The underlying assumption of mixed methods research is that it can address some research questions more comprehensively than by using either quantitative or qualitative methods alone. 3 Questions that profit most from a mixed methods design tend to be broad and complex, with multiple facets that may each be best explored by quantitative or qualitative methods. See Boxes 1 and ​ and2 2 for examples from our own work.

Examples of authors’ mixed methods research – JW.

Examples of authors’ mixed methods research – ST.

Usually, quantitative research is associated with a positivist stance and a belief that reality that can be measured and observed objectively. Most commonly, it sets out to test an a priori hypothesis and is therefore conventionally described as ‘deductive’. Strengths of quantitative research include its procedures to minimize confounding and its potential to generate generalizable findings if based on samples that are both large enough and representative. It remains the dominant paradigm in health research. However, this deductive approach is less suited to generating hypotheses about how or why things are happening, or explaining complex social or cultural phenomena.

Qualitative research most often comes from an interpretive framework and is usually informed by the belief that there are multiple realities shaped by personal viewpoints, context and meaning. In-depth qualitative research aims to provide a rich description of views, beliefs and meaning. It also tends to acknowledge the role of researcher and context in shaping and producing the data. Qualitative approaches are described as ‘inductive’ as questions are often open-ended with the analysis allowing hypotheses to emerge from data. High-quality qualitative research can generate robust theory that is applicable to contexts outside of the study area in question, helping to guide practitioners and policy-makers. 8 However, for research that aims to directly impact on policy and practice, the findings of qualitative research can be limited by the small sample sizes that are necessary for in-depth exploratory work and the consequent lack of generalizabilty.

Mixed methods research therefore has the potential to harness the strengths and counterbalance the weaknesses of both approaches and can be especially powerful when addressing complex, multifaceted issues such as health services interventions 9 and living with chronic illness. 10

There are many reasons why researchers choose to combine quantitative and qualitative methods in a study. 11 , 12 We list some common reasons below, using a hypothetical research question about adolescents’ adherence to anticonvulsant medication to illustrate real world applications.

  • Complementarity: Using data obtained by one method to illustrate results from another. An example of this would be a survey of adolescents with epilepsy demonstrating poor levels of adherence. Semi-structured interviews with a sub-group of those surveyed may allow us to explore barriers to adherence.
  • Development: Using results from one method to develop or inform the use of the other method. A focus group conducted with a group of adolescents with epilepsy may identify mobile phone technology as a potentially important tool in adherence support. We could then develop a mobile phone ‘app’ that reminds patients to take their medication and conduct an intervention study to assess its impact on adherence levels.
  • Initiation: Using results from different methods specifically to look for areas of incongruence in order to generate new insights. An illustration of this would be a study exploring the discrepancy between reported adherence in clinic consultations and actual medication adherence. A review of case notes may find adherence levels of over 90% in a clinic population; however, semi-structured interviews with peer researchers may reveal lower levels of adherence and barriers to open discussion with clinicians.
  • Expansion: Setting out to examine different aspects of a research question, where each aspect warrants different methods. We may wish to conduct a study that explores adherence more broadly. A large-scale survey of adolescents with epilepsy would provide information on adherence levels and associations whilst interviews and focus groups may allow us to engage with individual experiences of chronic illness and medication in adolescence.
  • Triangulation: Using data obtained by both methods to corroborate findings. For example, we could conduct a clinical study measuring drug levels in individuals and documenting self-reported adherence. Qualitative methods such as video diaries may confirm adherence levels.

To this list we would also add political commitment. That is to say, researchers may recognize, and wish to deploy, the strengths of quantitative research in producing generalizable results but may also be committed to representing the voice of participants in their work.

Whatever the reasons for mixing methods, it is important that authors present these explicitly as it allows us to assess if a mixed methods study design is appropriate for answering the research question. 3 , 13

How is mixed methods research conducted?

When embarking on a mixed methods research project it is important to consider:

  • the methods that will be used;
  • the priority of the methods;
  • the sequence in which the methods are to be used.

A wide variety of methods exists by which to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Both the research question and the data required will be the main determinants of the methods used. To a lesser extent, the choice of methods may be influenced by feasibility, the research team’s skills and experience and time constraints.

Priority of methods relates to the emphasis placed on each method in the study. For instance, the study may be predominantly a quantitative study with a small qualitative component, or vice versa. Alternatively, both quantitative and qualitative methods and data may have equal weighting. The emphasis given to each component of the study will be driven mainly by the research question, the skills of the research team and feasibility.

Finally, researchers must decide when each method is to be used in the study. For instance a team may choose to start with a quantitative phase followed by a qualitative phase, or vice versa. Some studies use both quantitative and qualitative methods concurrently. Again the choice of when to use each method is largely dependent on the research question.

The priority and sequence of mixing methods have been elaborated in a typology of mixed methods research models. See Table 1 for typology and specific examples.

Examples of studies using mixed methods.

How is data analysed in a mixed methods project?

The most important, and perhaps most difficult, aspect of mixed methods research is integrating the qualitative and quantitative data. One approach is to analyse the two data types separately and to then undertake a second stage of analysis where the data and findings from both studies are compared, contrasted and combined. 19 The quantitative and qualitative data are kept analytically distinct and are analysed using techniques usually associated with that type of data; for example, statistical techniques could be used to analyse survey data whilst thematic analysis may be used to analyse interview data. In this approach, the integrity of each data is preserved whilst also capitalizing on the potential for enhanced understanding from combining the two data and sets of findings.

Another approach to mixed methods data analysis is the integrative strategy. 20 Rather than keeping the datasets separate, one type of data may be transformed into another type. That is to say that qualitative data may be turned into quantitative data (‘quantitizing’) or quantitative data may be converted into qualitative data (‘qualitizing’). 21 The former is probably the most common method of this type of integrated analysis. Quantitative transformation is achieved by the numerical coding of qualitative data to create variables that may relate to themes or constructs, allowing statements such as ‘six of 10 participants spoke of the financial barriers to accessing health care’. These data can then be combined with the quantitative dataset and analysed together. Transforming quantitative data into qualitative data is less common. An example of this is the development of narrative psychological ‘types’ from numerical data obtained by questionnaires. 22

Potential challenges in conducting mixed methods research

Despite its considerable strengths as an approach, mixed methods research can present researchers with challenges. 23 , 24

Firstly, combining methodologies has sometimes been seen as problematic because of the view that quantitative and qualitative belong to separate and incompatible paradigms. In this context, paradigms are the set of practices and beliefs held by an academic community at a given point in time. 25 Researchers subscribing to this view argue that it is neither possible nor desirable to combine quantitative and qualitative methods in a study as they represent essentially different and conflicting ways of viewing the world and how we collect information about it. 8 Other researchers take a more pragmatic view, believing that concerns about the incommensurability of worldviews can be set aside if the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods addresses the research question effectively. This pragmatic view informs much applied mixed methods research in health services or policy. 8

Secondly, combining two methods in one study can be time consuming and requires experience and skills in both quantitative and qualitative methods. This can mean, in reality, that a mixed methods project requires a team rather than a lone researcher in order to conduct the study rigorously and within the specified time frame. However, it is important that a team comprising members from different disciplines work well together, rather than becoming compartmentalized. 26 We believe that a project leader with experience in both quantitative and qualitative methods can act as an important bridge in a mixed methods team.

Thirdly, achieving true integration of the different types of data can be difficult. We have suggested various analytic strategies above but this can be hard to achieve as it requires innovative thinking to move between different types of data and make meaningful links between them. It is therefore important to reflect on the results of a study and ask if your understanding has been enriched by the combination of different types of data. If this is not the case then integration may not have occurred sufficiently. 23

Finally, many researchers cite the difficulty in presenting the results of mixed methods study as a barrier to conducting this type of research. 23 Researchers may decide to present their quantitative and qualitative data separately for different audiences. This strategy may involve a decision to publish additional work focusing on the interpretations and conclusions which come from comparing and contrasting findings from the different data types. See Box 1 for an example of this type of publication strategy. Many journals in the medical sciences have a distinct methodological base and relatively restrictive word limits which may preclude the publication of complex, mixed methods studies. However, as the number of mixed methods studies increases in the health research literature we would expect researchers to feel more confident in the presentation of this type of work.

Many of the areas we explore in health are complex and multifaceted. Mixed methods research (combining quantitative and qualitative methods in one study) is an innovative and increasingly popular way of addressing these complexities. Although mixed methods research presents some challenges, in much the same way as every methodology does, this approach provides the research team with a wider range of tools at their disposal in order to answer a question. We believe that the production and integration of different types of data and the combination of skill sets in a team can generate insights into a research question, resulting in enriched understanding.

DECLARATIONS

Competing interests.

None declared

This work was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) [grant number: G0701648 to ST], and the MRC with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) [grant number: G0800112 to JW]

Ethical approval

No ethical approval was required for this work

Contributorship

This work was conceived by both ST and JW who each carried out an independent literature review and collaborated on the structure and content of this report. ST wrote the manuscript with revisions and editing done by JW

Acknowledgements

We thank Professors Jonathan Elford and Ruth Gilbert for their comments on draft manuscripts

This article was submitted by the authors and peer reviewed by Geoffrey Harding

Health Questions to Ask Your Doctor

When you visit your doctor, asking the right questions can empower you to take charge of your health.

This article is based on reporting that features expert sources.

Mature patient talking to doctor while sitting in examination room in clinic. Doctor advising senior man in doctor's office.

Getty Images |

What to ask your doctor at your next appointment

When you go to the doctor, it's often for a specific problem, such as ongoing sinus congestion or a nagging back or nerve pain that won't let up. But it's also an opportunity to learn more about what's going on in your body, understand why you're receiving a specific treatment and find out how you can be as healthy as possible.

Frequently, with brief doctor's appointments and patients' haste to be seen for whatever ails them, patients miss the opportunity to ask doctors key questions about their overall health and well-being.

However, it's important to take advantage of the short amount of time with the one person who can decipher your blood test results, explain how to best manage an ongoing disease or directly address your deepest – but often unspoken – bodily concerns. Patients may also hesitate to ask a doctor a question about basic issues within the medical practice that would make office visits go more smoothly.

To make the most out of your next appointment, here are 10 questions to ask your doctor :

doctor doing the covid 19 vaccine at home for omicron variant

(Getty Images) |

  • What preventive care services are right for me?

Preventive care is intended to target disease prevention and keep the patient healthy, so it's important to learn about how to stay ahead of health conditions before they become a more serious concern.

"I would like to hear more patients ask about preventive care," says Dr. Lisa Ravindra, an associate professor in the department of internal medicine and a primary care physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "That means not only discussing current guidelines on age-appropriate tests and vaccines, but also talking about ways in which lifestyle factors, like activity level and diet, can help prevent many conditions."

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of medical experts, does extensive research to determine which preventive measures are most important and potentially lifesaving for specific age groups and genders. You can search the USPSTF recommendations by topic online.

Preventive health care includes a range of services and health screenings , such as:

  • A wellness exam, which is a routine annual visit to your doctor to evaluate overall wellness and often includes a physical exam. For example, your doctor may check your heart rate and blood pressure, listen to your breathing, test your reflexes and check your skin for irregular moles or freckles.
  • Blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests.
  • Cancer screenings, such as  mammograms  to screen for breast cancer,  colonoscopies  for colorectal cancer and pap smears for cervical cancer.
  • Immunizations, like the yearly flu vaccine or whether you need a tetanus shot update or shingles vaccine.

Immunization guidelines are typically clear-cut, with the notable exception of continually updated COVID-19 recommendations .

“That’s been a little bit of a moving target,” says Dr. Samuel Durso, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

Doctors and patients alike can go online and view standard vaccination recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the CDC’s most recent information on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters . It's also important to ask your doctor if you have a symptom or medical condition that may affect particular immunization guidance.

Most health care plans are required by law to provide coverage for preventive health services at no cost to the patient. Discuss with your health care provider and insurance company to understand which services are covered by your plan.

Experienced Middle Aged Family Doctor Showing Analysis Results on Tablet Computer to Male Patient During Consultation in a Health Clinic. Physician Sitting Behind a Desk in Hospital Office.

  • How does my family history affect my risk for certain conditions?

It's important to discuss family medical history with your doctor. Some medical conditions affect multiple family members across generations. If first-degree relatives – such as a parent or sibling – or even more distant relatives have heart disease, an autoimmune disease or some types of cancer, you could have an increased risk of that condition.

More advanced genetic testing is now available for conditions that run in families, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 , gene mutations related to breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer, as well as some hereditary colon cancers.

"Knowing this information can be lifesaving," Ravindra says.

To prepare for your next appointment, compile a detailed family health history. Gather information that includes details about chronic health conditions, genetic disorders or any specific illnesses that closely connected relatives – including parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – may have experienced. Try to be as specific and detailed as possible, including:

  • Their relation to you.
  • Type of illness or condition.
  • Age of onset.
  • Relevant treatment or management.
  • Lifestyle factors, such as tobacco use if there's a history of lung cancer.

Depending on your family history, your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor to perform genetic tests, or they may recommend early screening, like starting to get regular colonoscopies before age 45 if colon cancer runs in your family.

Shot of a young woman experiencing stomach pain while lying on a sofa at home

  • How can I manage my symptoms?

If you have a chronic medical condition, particularly if you're dealing with symptoms that affect your daily life, routine appointments with your doctor alone may not be enough. Asking your doctor for strategies to manage your symptoms helps you find relief and maintain your well-being between visits – keeping you out of the hospital in severe cases.

When you have congestive heart failure , for instance, you might need periodic check-ins by a nurse to monitor your blood pressure and weight, make sure your legs aren’t swelling from excess fluid and you’re not experiencing shortness of breath.

Many people with diabetes benefit from speaking with a certified diabetes educator or registered dietitian , as needed, for expert advice on medications or nutrition in the moment.

“You might ask doctors how they’re paired up with social work, dietitians and therapists ,” Durso says.

It's also important to know the best way to get in touch with your doctor's office if you experience any symptom flare-ups or issues between visits. Each medical practice has its own processes and procedures. Being aware of the basics – like office hours, navigating their online communication portal or the intricacies of obtaining test results – allows you to navigate communication more smoothly.

Group of six people mixed age people making yoga pose in public park in city for fitness, sport, yoga and healthy lifestyle concept

  • How can lifestyle changes improve my health and/or condition?

When discussing how your lifestyle impacts your overall health or a certain condition, it's important to approach the conversation collaboratively and open-mindedly.

Being upfront and honest about your current lifestyle is key. This will help your doctor pinpoint areas that may be important to improve upon. Your doctor may discuss:

  • Exercise or daily activity habits, including frequency and intensity.
  • Weight management .
  • Stress levels.
  • Lifestyle habits, like alcohol consumption or smoking.
  • Sleep patterns.

Getting a good night's sleep is often overlooked. But it doesn't just improve your mood the next day; if you're experiencing insomnia , it can impact your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation has been linked in studies to increased long-term risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and shorter-term risks like coming down with a common cold.

Sleep also plays a major factor in cognitive performance. Disrupted or fragmented sleep, or an irregularly timed sleep schedule can affect your mood. According to an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmacy and Therapeutics , studies have shown that inadequate sleep can affect your daily performance, working memory and ability to process information, and it can impact your emotional interpretation of events and exacerbate stress levels.

Let your doctor know if you're having trouble sleeping and ask how sleep affects your health, Ravindra advises. That opens the conversation to possible causes of sleep deprivation that can be addressed through lifestyle changes or other means.

Female pharmacist checking medicines on rack. Chemist examining the medicines at drugstore. Focus on medicine boxes on the shelf.

(Getty Stock) |

  • Why are you prescribing this medication?

Patients often blindly take prescription medications without asking any questions, but you deserve more information from your doctor.

Open communication is key to improving doctor-patient relationships. Not only is it important to understand why you're receiving the drug, but your doctor should also communicate with you about:

  • Instructions, like whether to take a drug on an empty stomach.
  • Benefits and side effects.
  • What to do if you experience side effects.
  • Potential interactions  with other medications you take.

When patients ask why they're being given a certain medication, it's an opportunity for the doctor and patient to have an open conversation about treatment. It helps patients understand what they're taking and why they're taking it. You can also request written information about the medication to refer back to later.

You may also want to ask if you or your child really need an antibiotic. Parents will often bring their child into the doctor's office because of a cold and expect the physician to write a prescription for an antibiotic , even though it's not necessary and will not cure a cold. This is not only careless, but it has also led to a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

"Physicians often feel the need to prescribe an antibiotic to appease the parent," says Dr. Stanley Spinner, chief medical officer of  Texas Children's Pediatrics and Texas Children's Urgent Care in Houston. "Such a question from the parent regarding the need for an antibiotic will lessen the likelihood that an antibiotic may be prescribed for a condition that is likely to resolve on its own."

Antibiotics are largely intended and effective for bacterial infections. For most viral infections , symptoms will resolve on their own, but effective antivirals are available in some cases. For example, your doctor may prescribe the well-known Tamiflu, an antiviral that – if prescribed within the first 48 hours of flu symptom onset – can help shorten the time of illness.

Doctor talking to patient at hospital room with digital tablet

  • How many patients with my condition have you treated?

Having confidence in your doctor means you're more likely to follow their instructions. Asking about their previous experience with your condition is a great way to ensure that you're getting the best treatment you can. Having experience is critical in managing complex cases for many conditions, such as cancer .

Start by inquiring how familiar they are with treating patients with your condition, or ask them to share their experiences managing patient cases similar to yours, if they're comfortable. This helps open the conversation, leading to more in-depth questions about the number of patients or outcome of their treatments.

Another question to ask is: "If it were your family member, would you recommend this to them?"

That allows doctors to recontextualize a routine professional discussion to one on a more human, relatable level, giving your doctor an opportunity to shift their perspective.

"Sometimes you have to remind yourself, 'I have a mother, I have a wife, I have a sister. Would I want this for them?'" says Dr. Tia Guster, an OB-GYN with Piedmont Healthcare in Newnan, Georgia.

Doctor with a patient

  • Can we discuss 'X' sexual or reproductive health concerns?

Even in this day and age, many people are still reluctant to discuss intimate health concerns. However, it's hard to shock or surprise your doctor, who has likely heard it all.

"People are so embarrassed to talk about sex," Guster says. "But you should talk about sex because you're probably not the only one having a problem with it."

No need to mumble or use discreet euphemisms. Instead, it's better to be direct and straight to the point.

"We're used to hearing about all the body parts with all kinds of different names," Guster advises. "You will not be offensive to us. If you try to filter it for us, sometimes we may miss what you ask."

For example, Guster says, people hesitate to ask about or describe vaginal discharge , but your doctor won't be put off. In fact, they want to hear about it. While some descriptions of discharge are normal, some are not.

"Just tell me what it is, and I can tell you if this is on the line or not," Guster says.

Similarly, men should feel free to ask their urologists or primary care providers about any type of discharge or symptoms of concern.

Continence is another concern that patients sometimes hesitate to voice.

“A lot of people are very chary about mentioning that they don’t go out too much because they’re afraid they can’t get to the bathroom, particularly if they’ve been put on medicines like diuretics ,” Durso says. “Doctors should bring that up.”

Either way, speaking up about this common issue can help solve the problem.

Hospital health care and medicine.

  • Am I understood?

Physicians and patients alike can benefit from asking, "Am I understood?"

Communication poses a big barrier to getting great care, but knowing how to talk to your doctor effectively isn’t always intuitive. With fast-moving appointments and medical jargon in the mix, it can feel like doctors and patients aren't taking part in the same conversation.

"The most important question that patients should ask is, 'Do you understand what I said?'" Guster says.

Sometimes, patients say they'll relate a concern to a physician who may then come back with a response that doesn't fit the patient's meaning or need, Guster says.

If you don't feel like you can communicate freely and openly with your doctor, it may be a sign you need to find a new physician .

Caucasian doctor comforting patient in hospital bed

  • Can we talk about how to plan for end-of-life care?

End-of-life care, also known as palliative care , is a critical aspect of health care that focuses on providing comfort, dignity and support to individuals.

Particularly for elderly patients and those with chronic illnesses, it's important to ask and discuss end-of-life care options, as well as to address advanced care planning . Establishing an advance health care directive may include designating a health care proxy or medical power of attorney for health care and documenting health care preferences, which spell out choices such as whether you want interventions – like CPR, mechanical ventilation or tube feeding – and under what conditions.

Starting end-of-life discussions can feel uncomfortable. But having these conversations when you’re healthy – rather than when a crisis is occurring – helps establish your wishes at a time when you can effectively communicate to your doctor what’s important to you.

"This can help ensure (patients') priorities are followed through on – whether that's aggressive means to prolong life or comfort care when the time comes," Ravindra says.

Having plans set in place can also avoid crisis decision-making down the road and ease the burden on family members, ensuring they won't be faced with difficult decisions about your health or end-of-life care. You can also revisit and update your preferences at any time.

Close up of a young Caucasian woman having an Asian doctor's appointment at medical clinic.

  • Do I need a follow-up visit and, if so, when?

If your doctor has ordered any diagnostic testing or procedures, you should ask about when to expect the results and whether a follow-up visit is necessary. Your doctor may want to set up another time to share the findings of your tests or discuss a treatment plan.

Similarly, if you have a chronic condition like diabetes, your doctor or endocrinologist may want to see you more often than once a year. They may recommend more regular visits to manage medication, complete blood tests and generally monitor your health status.

But doctor visits shouldn't be relegated to the times you're sick. Work together with your primary care physician to create a personalized health plan that works for you, which may guide the frequency of visits or include a virtual doctor's appointment .

Happy pregnant woman visit gynecologist doctor at hospital or medical clinic for pregnancy consultant. Doctor examine pregnant belly for baby and mother healthcare check up. Gynecology concept.

Get the most out of your doctor's visit

Your interactions with your doctor extend far beyond addressing immediate health concerns. By asking the right medical questions, you empower yourself to take charge of your health and create a strong partnership with your health care provider.

You shouldn't hesitate to ask your primary care physician about anything related to your health.

"For instance, a patient who has finger numbness may have Googled their symptoms and be worried about stroke or diabetes as a cause," Ravindra says. "However, a thorough exam and asking the right questions on my end will easily differentiate these serious conditions from something more benign like carpal tunnel syndrome."

In addition, Ravindra encourages patients to be upfront with your fears. That way, physicians know what's really on your mind and can address your concerns head-on.

So, next time you step into the doctor's office, remember that proactive communication is the key to quality health care and that it's a two-way street.

Male doctor sitting with female patient by window.

10 questions to ask doctors:

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health research questions examples

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  1. Examples of research questions in clinical education

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  2. Top-10 Nursing Research Questions for You to Consider

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    health research questions examples

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COMMENTS

  1. 10 Research Question Examples to Guide your Research Project

    The exact form of your question will depend on a few things, such as the length of your project, the type of research you're conducting, the topic, and the research problem. However, all research questions should be focused, specific, and relevant to a timely social or scholarly issue.

  2. Choosing a topic and developing a research question

    Examples of research questions: Does improved nutrition in children impact academic achievement? ... Factors to consider when formulating a research question: What is the health issue (is it looking at the prevention of a health condition, is it about the treatment of a health condition, etc.?)

  3. Framing Research Questions

    Example: For adolescents with type II diabetes (P) does the use of telehealth consultations (I) compared to in-person consultations (C) improve blood sugar control (O)? Framing Different Types of Clinical Questions with PICO

  4. Examples of Research Questions

    Examples of some general health services research questions are: Does the organization of renal transplant nurse coordinators' responsibilities influence live donor rates? What activities of nurse managers are associated with nurse turnover? 30 day readmission rates?

  5. A Practical Guide to Writing Quantitative and Qualitative Research

    Examples from the authors and peer-reviewed scientific articles in the healthcare field are provided to illustrate key points. Go to: DEFINITIONS AND RELATIONSHIP OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES A research question is what a study aims to answer after data analysis and interpretation.

  6. 100+ Healthcare Research Topics (+ Free Webinar)

    Here, we'll explore a variety of healthcare-related research ideas and topic thought-starters across a range of healthcare fields, including allopathic and alternative medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, optometry, pharmacology and public health. NB - This is just the start… The topic ideation and evaluation process has multiple steps.

  7. Research Guides: Public Health: Defining the Question

    Example from: Booth, A., Noyes, J., Flemming, K., Moore, G., Tunçalp, Ö., & Shakibazadeh, E. (2019). Formulating questions to explore complex interventions within qualitative evidence synthesis. BMJ Global Health, 4 (Suppl 1), e001107. Last Updated:

  8. Research Question, Objectives, and Endpoints in Clinical and

    Introduction and background. Successful clinical research can be conducted by well-trained researchers. Other essential factors of clinical research include framing a research question and relevant objectives, documenting, and recording research outcomes, and outcome measures, sample size, and research methodology including the type of randomization, among others [1,2].

  9. SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: The most important research questions

    This is an excellent example of how a high-quality clinical study can make a major difference in policy setting. ... in this commentary we highlight the most important research questions in the field from our personal perspectives. ... Coronavirus research in our laboratory was funded by the Hong Kong Health and Medical Research Fund (HKM-15 ...

  10. A practical guide for health researchers

    Reference numbers. ISBN: 92 9021 363 9. This comprehensive guide to health research reaches out to a wide spectrum of people: students who wish to learn the basic principles of health research and how to conduct it, field researchers, and those involved in teaching and training of health research methodologies.

  11. Research Question Examples ‍

    Healthcare research questions Computer science research questions Examples: Psychology Let's start by looking at some examples of research questions that you might encounter within the discipline of psychology. How does sleep quality affect academic performance in university students?

  12. Research Questions

    Definition: Research questions are the specific questions that guide a research study or inquiry. These questions help to define the scope of the research and provide a clear focus for the study. Research questions are usually developed at the beginning of a research project and are designed to address a particular research problem or objective.

  13. Qualitative Research Questions: Gain Powerful Insights + 25 Examples

    25 examples of expertly crafted qualitative research questions. It's easy enough to cover the theory of writing a qualitative research question, but sometimes it's best if you can see the process in practice. In this section, we'll list 25 examples of B2B and B2C-related qualitative questions. Let's begin with five questions.

  14. 40 Health & Healthcare Research Paper Topics & Questions

    What was considered healthy in the ancient times and what is healthy now? The beauty standards and their impact on overall health throughout the history of humanity Going vegan: when, why and how it can improve your health? Bodypositive: the ignorance of the body problem or the new standard of health?

  15. Research Guides: Evidence-Based Public Health: Forming a Question

    It involves knowing the right question to ask, turning that question into a good search, knowing the best place to look, finding what is available and then using the evidence you find in the care of your patient population. Use the "5 A's" as a step-by-step guide to locate best evidence. Assess. Identify the public health problem.

  16. 213 Health Research Topics

    What is considered healthy today? Does the media in the 21 st century encourage child abuse? Beauty standards in the society: How do they impact people's health? When is body building considered healthy? Can bullying in school impact a student's achievements especially in the early years of development?

  17. Qualitative Methods in Health Care Research

    Diverse academic and non-academic disciplines utilize qualitative research as a method of inquiry to understand human behavior and experiences. [ 6, 7] According to Munhall, "Qualitative research involves broadly stated questions about human experiences and realities, studied through sustained contact with the individual in their natural environ...

  18. 91 questions with answers in HEALTH RESEARCH

    3 answers. Dec 7, 2017. The use of Systematic Literature Reviews is common in psychological and general medical research, but is now gaining traction in Software engineering research. The process ...

  19. Forming Focused Questions with PICO: PICO Examples

    PICO Examples. Practice Your Skills; ... A multi-institutional research team explored these questions in a scoping review. Cultural Awareness and Nursing Care. ... You coordinate health education programs and have been holding seminars for teenagers about STI prevention. You've been found that they're hesitant to open up to you during ...

  20. Research Questions, Objectives & Aims (+ Examples)

    The research aims, objectives and research questions (collectively called the "golden thread") are arguably the most important thing you need to get right when you're crafting a research proposal, dissertation or thesis.We receive questions almost every day about this "holy trinity" of research and there's certainly a lot of confusion out there, so we've crafted this post to help ...

  21. Psychology Research Questions: 80 Ideas For Your Next Project

    Health psychology research question examples. Health psychology is a crucial field of study. Understanding how psychological factors influence health behaviors, adherence to medical treatments, and overall wellness enables health experts to develop effective interventions and preventive measures, ultimately improving health outcomes. ...

  22. Using mixed methods in health research

    Summary. Mixed methods research is the use of quantitative and qualitative methods in a single study or series of studies. It is an emergent methodology which is increasingly used by health researchers, especially within health services research. There is a growing literature on the theory, design and critical appraisal of mixed methods research.

  23. 10 Health Questions Doctors Wish You Would Ask

    Health Questions to Ask Your Doctor. ... does extensive research to determine which preventive measures are most important and potentially lifesaving for specific age groups and ... For example ...

  24. Technical Advisory Group on Immunization and Vaccine-preventable

    The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members of the Technical Advisory Group on Immunization and Vaccine-preventable Diseases in the Western Pacific Region. This "Call for experts" provides information about the advisory group in question, the expert profiles being sought, the process to express interest, and the process of selection.BackgroundThe Technical ...