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Help with research problem...

Hi, we just had a class on nursing research this morning and we were asked to come up with a research problem. Our professor told us to pick something that interests us so my groupmates and I decided on studying thermometers...for example the difference between the accuracy of digital and mercury thermometers since we just started using digital thermometers in the clinical area...our professor thought it was fine...but then we don't really have an idea on how to actually conduct the study because we have no idea how to test the accuracy of digital thermometers...do we use the mercury thermometers as a standard or control? Another problem is that we know were supposed to be using digital thermometers already since "no mercury hospitals" are being promoted everywhere. So when we were thinking about it, it's like the study isn't valid but our professor already agreed that we could do it...we're totally confused...any thoughts? Thanks! :D -Jill

One possibility is to test whether or not there is a statistically significant difference between the measurements between one type of thermometer and the other as opposed to absolute accuracy. I really think your best bet though would be to look through journals to see what studies are pre-existing and what questions remain to be answered. Even just skimming the abstract and then reading the conclusion will give you a good amount of 'where do we go from here?' information.

Good luck!


Has 9 years experience.

There is nothing wrong with telling your instructor that, after you have thought about and discussed the subject, you realize your research project isn't very valid in today's healthcare environment. Just have ANOTHER subject ready to go when you discuss things with him. The exception to this is if your paper is due in the next day or two, and you waited until the last minute to start....then I think you'll just have to make the best of it.

Researchers end studies early or never even really get their studies off the ground all the time. That's part of research. You've learned not only to think about your subject in terms of a research project, but to value the validity of your results in the practical environment--sounds good to me, and I'll bet it sounds good to your instructor, too!

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