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The Research Problem, Purpose and Question Definition of a Research Problem

A situation in need of a solution, improvement, or alteration; or a discrepancy between the way things are and the way they ought to be.

Sources of Research Problems
Nursing Practice Researcher and Peer Interaction Literature Review Theory Research Priorities

Example of a Research Problem
“Current policy at most hospitals requires the use of routine flushing of heparin locks after administration of medication or flushing heparin locks every 8 hours when not being used for medication administration. However, there is disagreement on whether flushes of low doses of heparin are necessary to maintain the patency of heparin locks. Heparin is known to be incompatible with many drugs. The interaction potential of heparin is said to be avoided by flushing the lock with normal saline injection before and after administration of the medication…Saline flush is a safe, time-saving procedure for nursing staff to perform. Additionally, the use of normal saline would save the cost of a heparin flush.”

Definition of Research Purpose
A purpose is a concise , clear statement of the specific goal or aim of the study. The purpose includes the variables, population, and setting for a study.

Examples of a Research Purpose
“The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of normal saline versus normal saline containing 10 U/mL of heparin for maintaining heparin-lock sites.”

Research Question
Definition --Research questions are interrogative statements that focus on what variables or concepts are to be described and what relationships might exist among them.

Research Questions Examples
What is the influence of depressive symptoms at 4 weeks after cardiac surgery on selfreported recovery of general activities at 8 weeks? What is the influence of anxiety measured at 4 weeks after cardiac surgery on self-reported recovery of general activities at 8 weeks?

1998) and the number of the old-old in this country is projected to continue to rise sharply (Longino.. Sunders. p.87). RESEARCH PURPOSE The purpose of the study is to determine the nature.B. they may find it more of a challenge and less of a threat. and Grove. and Equipment Cooperation of Others Ethical Considerations EXAMPLE OF A STUDY (Burns. families and society. 1991. 1998). behavioral problems in the cognitively impaired are likely to have an even greater impact on individuals. frequency of occurrence. Facility. and context of aggressive behavior in a nursing home sample of cognitively impaired residents. In the future. (1995) Understanding nursing research.Determining the Feasibility of a Study Money Commitment Time Commitment Researcher’s Expertise Availability of Subjects. If caregivers view aggression as meaningful behavior to be explored and understood rather that as disruptive behavior to be controlled. RESEARCH QUESTIONS The study is designed to answer the following questions: What proportion of cognitively impaired nursing home residents demonstrate aggressive behavior? Which types of aggressive behavior occur most frequently? Examples of Problem Statements What is the relationship between job satisfaction of nurses in a mid-western state and their direct involvement in current nursing information? .) RESEARCH PROBLEM Aggressive behavior in cognitively impaired elderly is often problematic for family and professional caregivers who attempt to provide compassionately for their needs. Philadelphia:W. S. Both family and professional caregivers will need to understand dementia and develop skills in the prevention and management of behavioral problems in this population (Ryden et al. since the prevalence of dementia is known to increase with age(Kern. N.

What is the relationship between maternal depression and a child's behavior? What is the difference between an experienced nurse's knowledge and practice regarding the use of side rails in the geriatric population? What is relationship of social support to prenatal care and health behaviors of low-income women? What is the effect of experience on pharmacological knowledge? What is the difference between self-efficacy scores in older adults who exercise and the scores of those who do not? To what extent does the age of a client influence how nurses perceive and respond to the client's perception of pain? .

self-esteem.What is the difference in attitudes of men and women college students toward condoms? To what extent does patient control in decision-making processes affect stress in hospitalized patients? What are the psychometric properties of the Measurement of Presence Scale (MOPS) when testing RNs in Oklahoma? What dimensions of presence will emerge through instrumentation testing? What are the relationships among presence. and demographic variables in a sample of RNs practicing in Oklahoma? .