Quote from lockjaw
I am taking an 8 week research class designed to teach how to write research proposals. I have a few weeks to come up with an idea to develop for purposes of this course before the class actually begins. I am considering looking into patient safety issues, including falls, transport, equipment use, etc. I always get more involved than I need to and want to keep the topic simple for learning purposes. I intend to participate in various research activities at our very large, multihospital nonprofit. Any ideas on a topic that can actually be carried out? I am considering retrospective as well as investigational studies. Thanks, lockjaw, California.
I have worked with several students on similar school assignments and here are my suggestions:
1. Pick a general field that interests you. If you are truly interested in patient safety, then that's a fine field. As it is a very "hot topic" right now, you will be able to find lots of relevant articles, etc. and may find it relatively easy to get support from your hospital if you ever need to actually carry out the study.
2. Once you have established the general field ... narrow it down to something very specific by using the following strategies.
a. Review the literature and establish "What do we know? ... and What do we not know?" Too many students run headlong into a favorite topic only to find out later that their question has already been answered ... OR have the opposite problem in that there is not enough known yet to serve as a foundation to answer their question of interest.
b. Talk with the people at your hospital who deal with your topic. What do they see as priorities? Are there specific questions they would like to have someone study? If you can find a topic that they would like to see studied, you may be able to get their help in carrying it out. Also, they may have some larger studies in the works -- and you could tag on your little study for school to that larger project. Both the larger hospital project and your school project would benefit by the coordination of efforts.