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INVESTIGATION AND THE PROBLEM IN RESEARCH

Nursing research is research that provides evidence used to support nursing practices. Nursing,
as an evidence-based area of practice, has been developing since the time of Florence
Nightingale to the present day, where many nurses now work as researchers based in universities
as well as in the health care setting.
A Nursing Research is a scientific process that validates and refines existing knowledge and
generates new knowledge that directly and indirectly influences nursing practice. It is also
defined as a systematic search for and validation of knowledge about issues of importance to the
nursing profession (Polit & Hungler).
Nurse education places emphasis upon the use of evidence from research in order to rationalise
nursing interventions. Nursing research falls largely into two areas:

Quantitative research is based in the paradigm of logical positivism and is focused upon
outcomes for clients that are measurable, generally using statistics. The dominant
research method is the randomised controlled trial.

Qualitative research is based in the paradigm of phenomenology, grounded theory,


ethnography and others, and examines the experience of those receiving or delivering the
nursing care, focusing, in particular, on the meaning that it holds for the individual. The
research methods most commonly used are interviews, case studies, focus groups and
ethnography

WRITING RESEARCH INTRODUCTION


The main purpose of the INTRODUCTION is to give a description of the problem that will be
addressed. In this section the researcher might discuss the nature of the research, the purpose of
the research, the significance of the research problem, and the research question(s) to be
addressed.

The introduction to a research paper can be the most challenging part of the paper to write.
Introductions are generally half a page in length, though they can run longer if the topic requires
additional information. They usually begin with supporting statements, and end with a
description of your hypothesis. They offer a theoretical context to a paper, allowing readers to
understand the reasoning behind your work. Well-written introductions set the tone for the paper,
catch the reader's interest, and communicate the hypothesis or thesis statement.

Begin the opening paragraph with a few sentences containing supporting information
about your topic. Give the reader an idea of what issue you will be discussing, such as,
"Just a few years ago, the term "virtual reference" had little meaning to many librarians."
Immediately opening with your main argument can be too abrupt.

For a scientific research paper, you can begin with a discussion of the significance
of your study, and then lead into the rationale behind your experimental model
and how it met your objectives.

A Humanities based paper is best suited by the "funnel" or "inverted pyramid"


technique. To use this approach, start with some general background information
on your subject, becoming more narrow and specific in focus as you work toward
a description of your hypothesis.

Place the thesis statement or hypothesis in the final sentence of your introduction's first
paragraph. An example of such a closing sentence is, "A librarian can add the warmth and
personal touch to an online interaction that an automated search engine cannot." You may
need to write multiple sentences to explain your thesis.

You want to make the objective of your paper clear in the first paragraph, because
while an introduction can run several paragraphs in length, it will confuse readers
if you introduce your topic in subsequent paragraphs.

Continue your introduction by acquainting your audience with the major points of your
paper, and your objectives and results in a scientific paper, in the order they will appear.
This lets the reader know what to expect.
4 Consider other "starters" for your introduction if your initial approach
doesn't fit well with your topic.

Anecdotes, quotations, recent debates, or timely news stories can also be

compelling ways to begin a research paper.


You can also introduce certain topics by comparing or contrasting 2 people,

events, or ideas.
Evaluate your writing. Read your introduction, and then read your conclusion. Make sure
there is a fluid transition between them.
Three essential parts of a good introduction are:
1. RATIONALE

Somewhere in the introduction you need to inform the reader of the rationale of your
research. This is a brief explanation of why your research topic is worthy of study and
may make a significant contribution to the body of already existing research.
2. PURPOSE

The statement of purpose is not simply a statement of why the research is being done.
(That is what the rationale section is for.) Rather, "purpose" refers to the goal or
objective of your research. The purpose statement should answer questions. . .

"What are the objectives of my research?" and

"What do I expect to discover or learn from this research?"

3. RESEARCH QUESTION

The introduction usually ends with a research question or questions. This question
should be. . .

Related to your research purpose

Focused

Clear

RESEARCH PROBLEM
Identification of research problem is the first and foremost step in a scientific method for
conducting a research. To initiate a research, there should be pre-occurred ideas that generated
the necessity for the research to be carried out. The ideas are developed while going though
literatures, discourses with experts and continuation of activities related to the subject matter.
These ideas develop into some specific topics that will be interesting or rewarding if
investigated. These topics generally called problems.
Problems are identified by means of group participation. A group of knowledgeable persons are
identified and their statements in negative sense are collected and grouped into different groups.
Then, from each group, a statement which appears most representative of the group is selected.
There, statements are arranged in sequential order as they appear to the group of experts in the
subject matter. These statements are called problems.
PHENOMENON/PHENOMENA- anything affects the human life such as disease, signs and
symptoms, procedure, MD, antidote, virus, bacteria
HYPOTHESIS- educated guess, scientific guess, tentative statement of a supposed answer to
your problem . It is not yet known if true or false, right/wrong
PHENOMENON+HYPOTHESIS= RESEARCH PROBLEM- Without hypothesis there is no research
problem on a problem

Guidelines for selecting problems:


1. The problem should be such in which the researcher may be deeply interested.
2. The problem should be related with the chain of thinking. Stray problems can mislead
the whole research project.
3. The problem selected should not necessarily be new one. It may be old problem or one
on which work has already been done i.e., verification of old problem may be equally
useful.
4. The problem should be within manageable limits i.e. it should not be too comprehensive.
Criteria of Good Problem are:
1. It should express a relation between two or more variables.
2. It should be stated clearly and unambiguously.
Problem definition may include information on:
1. Magnitude: What is the incidence and prevalence of the problem?
2. Time Frame: When does it occur? Is it current?
3. Geographic area: Where does the problem generally occur?
4. Population: Does the problem affect certain groups of people? If so, what are their

characteristics?
5. Why? What are the probable reasons for the problem? Is there agreement or conflict over

these reasons?
6. Solutions: What solutions have already been tried? How successful have they been?

What untried solutions might there be?

7. Unanswered Questions: What parts of the problem need further research?

Justification for Research Problem


Research is often expensive and time consuming and most funding agencies are reluctant to
support studies unless the results have direct program implications. When funds are limited (as
they almost always are), it is especially important for the research investigator to justify the
proposed research problem / study carefully. In writing the justification, it is usually helpful to
consider the following questions and then arrange the answers to these questions into a few
concise paragraphs.
1. Is the problem a current and timely one? In other words, does problem exist now? Current
problems are more likely than past problems to receive funding.
2. Does the problem have life-threatening or serious morbidity consequences? Poor surgical
technique during sterilization can have life-threatening or serious morbidity consequences for the
patient, whereas occasional spotting from IUD use generally does not have serious
consequences.
3. Does the problem affect or potentially affect, a large number of people? Some problems, such
as thromboembolism from contraceptive pill use, are life threatening, but of all the people who
use oral contraceptives, relatively few are affected. In countries where sterilization is widely
used, other problems, such as anesthesia overdose, tetanus and intraperitoneal hemorrhage, may
affect a large number of people.
4. Does the problem relate to on-going program activities? That is, does the problem have
implications for current programs? For example, a study comparing failure rates and
complications of different IUDs is not likely to have major program implications in a country
where the IUD is not commonly used.
5. Does the problem have broad social, economic, political or health implications? Some studies
may impact many different activities. For example, using non medical personnel to provide
contraceptive methods may lower maternal mortality and fertility rates and thus have broad
social, economic and political ramifications.

6. Is the problem viewed as a concern by many different people? A research problem that evokes
the concern of many different people administrative, politicians, health professionals, the
general public-is more likely to receive priority funding than one that only a small group of
researchers view as a concern.
7. Have many studies already addressed the problem? For some reproductive health issues study
has been extensive, and much is already known about the etiologies of the problem. For example,
the complications and failure rates of different IUDs have been widely studied. Would another
IUD study add significant new information?
What information should be included in the statement of the problem?
1. A brief description of socioeconomic and cultural characteristics and an overview of
health status and the health care system in the country or district in as for as these are
relevant to the problem. Include a few illustrative statistics, if available, to help describe
the context in which the problem occurs.
2. A concise description of the nature of the problem (the discrepancy between what is and
what should be) and of its size, distribution, and severity (who is affected, where, since
when, and what are the consequences for those affected and for the services)?
3. An analysis of the major factors that may influence the problem and a convincing
argument that available knowledge is insufficient to solve it.
4. A brief description of any solutions that have been tried in the past, how well they have
worked, and why further research is needed?
5. A description of the type of information expected to result from the project and how this
information will be used to help to solve the problem.
6. If necessary, a short list of definitions of crucial concepts used in the statement of the
problem.
Research Problem Analysis

The researcher is often required to do research on a problem with which he or she is not very
familiar. Health workers and managers or community members may be mush more familiar with
the problem. But even they may never have given critical attention to the various aspects of the
problem.
A systematic analysis of the problem, completed jointly by the researchers, health workers,
managers, and community representatives is a very step in designing the research because it:
1. Enables those concerned to pool their knowledge of the problem,
2. Clarifies the problem and the possible factors that may be contributing to it, and
3. Facilitates decisions concerning the focus and scope of the research.
5 Ways to Formulate the Research Problem
1. Specify the Research Objectives
A clear statement of objectives will help you develop effective research.
It will help the decision makers evaluate your project. Its critical that you have manageable
objectives. (Two or three clear goals will help to keep your research project focused and
relevant.)
2. Review the Environment or Context of the Research Problem
As a marketing researcher, you must work closely with your team. This will help you determine
whether the findings of your project will produce enough information to be worth the cost.
In order to do this, you have to identify the environmental variables that will affect the research
project.
3. Explore the Nature of the Problem
Research problems range from simple to complex, depending on the number of variables and the
nature of their relationship.

If you understand the nature of the problem as a researcher, you will be able to better develop a
solution for the problem.
To help you understand all dimensions, you might want to consider focus groups of consumers,
sales people, managers, or professionals to provide what is sometimes much needed insight.
4. Define the Variable Relationships
Marketing plans often focus on creating a sequence of behaviors that occur over time, as in the
adoption of a new package design, or the introduction of a new product.
Such programs create a commitment to follow some behavioral pattern in the future.
Studying such a process involves:

Determining which variables affect the solution to the problem.

Determining the degree to which each variable can be controlled.

Determining the functional relationships between the variables and which variables are
critical to the solution of the problem.

During the problem formulation stage, you will want to generate and consider as many courses
of action and variable relationships as possible.
5. The Consequences of Alternative Courses of Action
There are always consequences to any course of action. Anticipating and communicating the
possible outcomes of various courses of action is a primary responsibility in the research process.
Research in Nursing must be systematic, empirical, controlled and critical investigation, or a
hypothetical (hypothesis) proposition related to nature phenomenon. Must be conducted to affirm or
deny hypothesis

Steps in analyzing the research problem


Step 1 Clarify the viewpoints of managers, health-care workers, and researchers in relation to the
problem
Areas of concern within the health system are often expressed in broad or vague terms by
managers and health care workers.
For Example,
Care of diabetic patient needs review
Outpatient services must be evaluated
Bypassing of peripheral facilities should be investigated
During initial discussions with managers and health-care workers who are involved in the
problem area, clarify the issues by listing all the problems in the area of concern, as
they perceive them.
Remember that a problem exists when there is a discrepancy between what is and what
should be. Therefore, the perceived problems should be worded in such a way as to illustrate
this discrepancy.
For example, health care managers and workers may determine that the general concern that
care of diabetic patients needs review includes the following problems:

Insufficient awareness of diabetes and of self care measures among diabetic patients and
their relatives;

Insufficient peripheral facilities for long-term follow-up care;

Excessive rate or re-admissions among diabetics;

Inappropriate management of complications in diabetic patients;

High rate of diabetic complications;

Poor compliance of patients with therapy; etc.

Step 2 Further specify and describe the core problem


You should then try to identify the core problem and quantity it. Looking at the example
discussed in step 1, you may decide that the core problem includes:

The high rate of re-admissions among diabetes (a discrepancy between what is and what
should be in the services)

The high rate of diabetic complications (a discrepancy between what is and what should
be in the health of the patients);

You should attempt to describe more elaborately:

The nature of the problem; the discrepancy between what is and what you prefer the
situation to be, in terms of re-admissions and /or complications;

The distribution of the problem who is effected, when, and where; and

The size and intensity of the problem is it widespread, how server is it, what are its
consequences (such as disability, death, and waste or resources).

Step 3 Analyze the problem


After identifying the core problem you should:

Identify factors that may have contributed to the problem.

Clarify the relationship between the problem and contributing factors.

Perceived problems and factors contributing to these problems may be placed in balloons. The
relationship between them can be indicated by arrows that can be either one-way arrows (for
cause effect relationships) or two-way arrows (for mutual relationships). The core problem can
be identified by drawing a double line around it.

Analysis of the problem involves several sub-steps:


Step 1 Write down the core problem(s) as defined in step 2 in the center of a blackboard or flip
chart.
Step 2 Brainstorm on possible causes or factors contributing to the problem.
Step 3 Identify further contributing factors.
Step 4 Attempt to organize related factors together into larger categories, and develop your final
draft of the diagram.

Defining a Research Problem


Defining a research problem is the fuel that drives the scientific process, and is the foundation of
any research method and experimental design, from true experiment to case study.
It is one of the first statements made in any research paper and, as well as defining the research
area, should include a quick synopsis of how the hypothesis was arrived at.
Operationalization is then used to give some indication of the exact definitions of the variables,
and the type of scientific measurements used.
This will lead to the proposal of a viable hypothesis. As an aside, when scientists are putting
forward proposals for research funds, the quality of their research problem often makes the
difference between success and failure.

Structuring the Research Problem


Look at any scientific paper, and you will see the research problem, written almost like a
statement of intent.

Defining a research problem is crucial in defining the quality of the answers, and determines the
exact research method used. A quantitative experimental design usesdeductive reasoning to
arrive at a testable hypothesis.
Qualitative research designs use inductive reasoning to propose a research statement.

Formulating a Research Problem


Formulating the research problem begins during the first steps of the scientific process.
As an example, a literature review and a study of previous experiments, and research, might
throw up some vague areas of interest.
Many scientific researchers look at an area where a previous researcher generated some
interesting results, but never followed up. It could be an interesting area of research, which
nobody else has fully explored.
A scientist may even review a successful experiment, disagree with the results, the tests used, or
the methodology, and decide to refine the research process, retesting the hypothesis.
This is called the conceptual definition, and is an overall view of the problem. Ascience
report will generally begin with an overview of the previous research and real-world
observations. The researcher will then state how this led to defining a research problem.

Sources of research problems


1.

Casual observation
a. The relationships between the cognitive and affective realms
b. The effect of positive and negative reinforcement

2.

Deductions from theory


a. Use of math manipulatives
b. Learning and instructional style congruence

3.

Related literature
a. The use of math manipulatives in secondary schools
b. The comparison of state and national dropout profiles

4.

Current social and political issues


a. Gender and race equity
b. Inclusion policies

5.

Practical situations
a. Evaluating a specific instructional program
b. Evaluating a specific school restructuring effort

6.

Personal interests and experience


a. Teaching statistics from an applied perspective
b. Effectiveness of non-threatening classroom assessments

7.

Replication of previous studies

a. Checking the findings of a major study


b. Checking the validity of research findings with different subjects
c. Checking trends or changes over time
d. Checking important findings using different methodologies
8.

Clarification of contradictory research results

Two ways of stating the problem


a.

Research problems: typically a rather general overview of the problem with


just enough information about the scope and purpose of the study to provide an

b.

initial understanding of the research


Research statements and/or questions: more specific, focused statements and
questions that communicate in greater detail the nature of the study

Research Objectives
Research Objectives are statements of what the researcher intends to do. The objectives flow
directly from the problem. They communicate what the researcher plans to do. Structurally, the
objectives are seen as small particles which constitute the problem. The problem may be stated
broadly but the objective should be should be stated in more specific and measurable term.

Two types of Objective:


1. Immediate or general- The immediate or general objective specifies the activity that will
take place and the variables that will be examined.

2. specific- The Specific objectives may be viewed as sub-objectives or small particles of the
general objective. The following should be examined in stating the specific objectives:
1. Specific variables
2. Variables expressed in measurable terms
3. Suggestion on the type of analysis to be done

HYPOTHESES

Hypotheses are tentative statements of the expected relationships between two or more variables
a.

There is a significant positive relationship between self-concept and math


achievement

b.

The class using math manipulatives will show significantly higher levels of math
achievement than the class using a traditional algorithm approach

Reasons for using hypotheses

Provides specific focus


Provides for testing of the relationships between variables
Directs the investigation
Allows the investigator to confirm or not confirm relationships
Provides a framework for reporting the results and explanations deriving from

them
When supported provides empirical evidence of the predictive nature of the

relationships between variables


Provides a useful framework for organizing and summarizing the results and
conclusions

Types of hypotheses

A. Inductive and deductive


1.Inductive hypotheses are formed through inductively reasoning from many specific
observations to tentative explanations
2.Deductive hypotheses are formed through deductively reasoning implications of theory
B.Research or statistical
1. Research hypotheses are conjectural statements of the expected results
a. Directional: a specific outcome is anticipated (e.g., the class using
manipulatives will demonstrate higher achievement levels than the class
using a traditional instructional approach)
b. Non-directional: an outcome is anticipated but the specific nature of it is
unsure (e.g., there will be achievement differences between the groups of
children using co-operative group strategies or individualized instruction)
2.Statistical hypotheses are statements of a relationship or difference that can be tested
statistically
c. Null hypothesis: a statistical statement that no difference or relationship

exists. This is purely statistical in nature. This does not represent the
outcome anticipated by the researcher
Criteria for evaluating research hypotheses
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

Stated in declarative form


Consistent with known facts, prior research, or theory
Logical extension of the research problem
States an expected relationship between two or more variables
Can be tested
Is clear and concise

VARIABLES
Variables are anything that might impact the outcome of your study. An operational definition
describes exactly what the variables are and how they are measured within the context of your
study. For example, if you were doing a study on the impact of sleep deprivation on driving
performance, you would need to operationally define what you mean by sleep deprivation and
driving performance.
In this example you might define sleep deprivation as getting less than seven hours of sleep at
night and define driving performance as how well a participant does on a driving test.
What is the purpose of operationally defining variables? The main purpose is control. By
understanding what your are measuring, you can control for it by holding the variable constant
between all of the groups or manipulating it as an independent variable.
The operational definition of variables is a crucial but often misunderstood part of research,
especially the research paper. It might be assumed, for example, that hot water is hot water. But
how hot? "Hot water" can be 100 degrees or 250 degrees or 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Researchers therefore must define exactly what they mean by their terms. General terms like
adult, or autistic, or sleep deprivation don't work. Being specific ensures that the research is both
understood when evaluated by peers and also reproducible.
A variable is something that can change, such as 'gender' and are typically the focus of a study.
Attributes are sub-values of a variable, such as 'male' and 'female'. An exhaustive list contains all
possible answers, for example gender could also include 'male transgender' and 'female
transgender' (and both can be pre- or post-operative).
Mutually exclusive attributes are those that cannot occur at the same time. Thus in a survey a
person may be requested to select one answer from a list of alternatives (as opposed to selecting
as many that might apply).

Quantitative data is numeric. This is useful for mathematical and statistical analysis that
leads to a predictive formula.

Qualitative data is based on human judgement. You can turn qualitative data into
quantitative data, for example by counting the proportion of people who hold a particular
qualitative viewpoint.

Units are the ways that variables are classified. These include: individuals, groups, social
interactions and objects.
Types

Descriptive variables are those that which will be reported on, without relating them to
anything in particular.

Categorical variables result from a selection from categories, such as 'agree' and
'disagree'. Nominal and ordinal variables are categorical.

Numeric variables give a number, such as age.

Discrete variables are numeric variables that come from a limited set of numbers. They
may result from , answering questions such as 'how many', 'how often', etc.

Continuous variables are numeric variables that can take any value, such as weight.

An independent variable is one is manipulated by the researcher. It is like the knob on a


dial that the researcher turns. In graphs, it is put on the X-axis.

A dependent variable is one which changes as a result of the independent variable being
changed, and is put on the Y-axis in graphs.

It is important for researchers is to be able to determine the relationship between the


independent and dependent variables, such that if the independent variable is changed, then the
researcher will be able to accurately predict how the dependent variable will change.

Extraneous variables are additional variables which could provide alternative


explanations or cast doubt on conclusions.

Variables may have the following characteristics:

Period: When it starts and stops.

Pattern: Daily, weekly, ad-hoc, etc.

Detail: Overview through to 'in depth'.

Latency: Time between measuring dependent and independent variable (some things take
time to take effect).Control