Creating your Research Question
Step 1: Before reasearching anything, figure out what you want to research first.
Word of advice: research a topic you find interesting! The easiest part of research is locating the right articles--the hardest part is reading and interpreting the data. If you don't find the data interesting, the work will be painful. So again: research a topic you find interesting!
Step 2: Write your research question. Make sure you have your dependent and independent variables and your population. When you are looking at your question, ask yourself: What am I measuring? If you can answer that question, you should have a decent research question.
Step 3: Break your research question down before going to the databases:
- Write down your question in a narrative form and identify the keywords for your search.
- Think of synonyms for the keywords.
Example Question: How does psychotherapy reduce the risk of PPD for patients between the ages of 13 and 17?
Keywords: psychotherapy, reduce, PPD, ages of 13 and 17
- Post-Partum Depression
- Prenatal Depression
- Perinatal Depression
- Baby Blues
The word reduce is not a MeSH term, but by placing the asterisk * at the beginning of the word (reduc*) will help the database look for the following words: reduce, reduced, reduction, reducing, reduces, etc.