In step one, you identified a population(s) and/or an intervention(s) that concerned you in your current clinical setting. Then you did a focused literature review (step two!) on the topic. From the information you gathered in the literature review, you are now able to refine your concern into a specific research question.
The question should be specific, realistic, reasonable, and measurable.
In order to guide you, you can use PICO format (more detail about PICO – with examples – here!).
Still need help? Contact me – I would be happy to help get your question focused!
Take your time on this step because the question will guide the rest of your research (what research design you will use, the data you will collect, the analyses that will be done, and the way the results will be presented)!
It would be helpful to put your problem and question into the following format, which includes a hypothesis (what you think will happen in your research study).
Problem: Many autistic adults do not receive occupational therapy services to help them be successful in their education after high school.
Question: Are occupational therapy services more effective than traditional counseling services for students with autism who pursue post-secondary studies? Hypothesis: Students who participate in occupational therapy services through their first year of university will be more likely to complete the year than those students who only access counseling services or no outside services.
If you finish this step with a general problem, question, and a hypothesis (or two!), you will be well on your way to designing a great research study!
Next step – choosing methods to answer your research question!