HSCI 307 Lecture 1: Research Design Steps

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Published on 26 Feb 2020
Simon Fraser University
Health Sciences
HSCI 307
Research Design Steps
What is research?
“Formalized curiosity” (Hurston, 1942)
“The systematic study of materials and sources in order to establish
facts and reach new conclusions” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2007)
A systematic enquiry that aims to generate new scientific knowledge
o Generates new ideas; original
o Advances knowledge, leads to new insights
o Builds on work of others
o Systematic
o Repeatable
Health Research CIHR 4 Pillars
1. Biomedical research
2. Clinical research
3. Health services and policy research
4. Social, cultural, environmental and population health research
Key Elements of Research
Research question (purpose)
Data (about purpose)
Analysis (answers the purpose)
The purpose of health research
o Four main categories (Young, 2004):
1. To describe:
o Document patterns and make comparisons
o e.g., vaccination rates, rates of smoking, alcohol and drug consumption patterns, etc.
2. To explain:
o Understand why a health problem occurs and the differences among sub-populations;
o Aim to improve our understanding of the etiology of different diseases
Common research design used for this purpose is the cohort study
o e.g., Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, Ontario Health Study,Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals
3. To predict
4. To control
o Draws on findings from 1 and 2 to develop and evaluate strategies to mitigate the health problem of interest
e.g., health services research examines services as well as the process of care, interactions of patients and providers,
diagnostic and treatment technologies, etc.
- At Home/Chez Soi study
- Tobacco control policies
The Role of the Researcher
Study specific responsibilities
o Develop the research question
o Select study design
o Ensure that the study is ethically sound
o Conduct data collection
o Conduct data analysis
o Prepare the study findings
o (Repeat)
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Document Summary

The systematic study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions (oxford english dictionary, 2007) A systematic enquiry that aims to generate new scientific knowledge: generates new ideas; original, advances knowledge, leads to new insights. Health research cihr 4 pillars: biomedical research, clinical research, health services and policy research. Study specific responsibilities: develop the research question. Develop a timeline or schedule for the study. Ensure that team complies with all agency, institutional rules and regulations. 12 step process: identify the research problem you"re interested in, usually drawn from: Determine what research findings relevant to your topic already exist. Identify gaps in the literature: define the problem. Define what it is that you want to study. Prepare a problem statement: a concisely written phrase that identifies the who, what, when, and where that will be the basis for your study. Be clear, concise, and as specific as possible: develop the research question.

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