Once I have come up with an idea that I am interested in researching, the next step for me is to turn that broad idea into a specific research study objective. The study objective drives my whole research process and allows me to make decisions about how I will design my study, what data I will collect, and other considerations I will need to make when planning my research. When designing a research study, it is essential to focus your broad idea since the study’s objectives and questions inform all aspects of study design and analysis.
To begin turning my broad idea into a specific study objective, I ask myself what I want the study to accomplish. Essentially, I take the broad topic I am interested in, such as the attitudes of physicians towards over-the-counter hormonal contraceptives, and begin to generate questions based upon that topic. For example, one question I might ask about this topic is “What do physicians think about hormonal contraceptives being available over-the-counter for patients seeking birth control options?”
Narrow it Down
Once I have this question in my mind, I can begin to narrow it down to a study objective by thinking about how I will begin to answer this research question. Using the above example, a specific study objective for this question could be “This study will seek to determine the attitudes of physicians towards over-the-counter hormonal contraceptives available without a prescription or physician consultation.” With this research study objective, I can now begin to design my study around it because I know not only what my topic is, but also what I want to learn more about.
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