The literature review should clearly argue for the proposed research question. It should be themed appropriately and contain headings and subheadings. The review should be detailed, demonstrating the breadth of reading and critical appraisal of other research studies relevant to the topic. The review should place this study in the context of previous studies and should include research conducted in Ireland where appropriate. Strengths and weaknesses of previous research should be identified. In addition, it is important to demonstrate how this study will improve on previous research or add to the body of existing knowledge on the topic. The research question should be stated at the end of this chapter alongside the aims and objectives of the proposed study.
State the question(s) that needs to be answered. Identify the independent and dependent variables if relevant. For example; does an exercise prevention program improve outcomes for patients with chronic stable angina? The research questions should be interrogative i.e. posed as a question, not as a statement. For example; what are women’s experiences of midwifery-led care’? What are nurses’ attitudes towards patients with mental health problems? The question should be researchable, and relevant to Irish nursing/midwifery.
It is important to remember that the research question should be formulated in the context of the literature review and it forms the basis of the design chosen for the methodological section.
These should be stated clearly. They highlight the purpose and expected outcomes of the study. They should be realistic and achievable.