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Skip to 0 minutes and 19 seconds So, having had a few ideas about what to research, we need to decide which order to do things in and why. We call this the research process. In some ways, it’s a bit like wanting to bake a cake. To get a good outcome, you have to follow the recipe. Let’s assume I know how to bake a cake, but I’ve recently become vegan, so I can’t use eggs or butter. Now the problem becomes, how do I bake a cake without eggs or butter. This is what we call the research problem. It might be quite a big problem which you’re aiming to refine into something that you can actually answer.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds At this stage, it’s important in research terms to make sure no one else has already answered your question, so you need to conduct an academic literature review, using Google Scholar or within the university searching specialist databases through the library system.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds For baking our cake, I need to either find myself a good vegan cookbook or look online for some recipes on how to make cakes without eggs or butter.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds From the literature review, it may be that someone’s answered your question already,

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds or it could be that someone has written about something similar, but not quite the same.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds If your question has already been answered, that’s great, but you may want to re-think the question and pose it in another way, making the question researchable is something we’ll be covering in a later section.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 seconds Having tasted a few vegan cakes, we might decide that now our new question is how do I bake my simple, yet tasty vegan cakes.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 seconds Now that we’ve got a smaller question, we need to look at the nuts and bolts of how we’re going to investigate that question and find an answer. We’ll look at that in more detail in the coming weeks, but for the moment, I’ve got a couple of recipes I need to look at to answer my cake problem.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds This is where it starts to get exciting. Having decided on what we’re going to do, we actually get to do it, whether this is an experiment, survey, interviews or something else. Well, I’m trying out different recipes I found, but I’m rubbish at baking so simple is important.

Skip to 2 minutes and 41 seconds Also pretty exciting is the next stage, when you get to analyse your data and start to decide what you found out through your research.

Skip to 2 minutes and 49 seconds And now we get to check the tasty bit, and compare notes to decide which is the best way to make our vegan cake. You guys, want to try some?

Skip to 3 minutes and 10 seconds As with most things in healthcare, if you don’t do the paperwork, it may as well not have happened. So, writing up your results and disseminating them is also important. You may have found during this process that you’ve got more questions, in which case, you need to go back to the beginning of the cycle. In our case, I’m going to go on Facebook and Twitter and let all my friends know which was the best cake.

The research process

So what is involved in the research process?

Watch Dr Laurence Baldwin demonstrate the processes involved in creating and completing a research project:

  1. Research the question
  2. Literature review
  3. Refine questions and set objectives
  4. Research design
  5. Data collection
  6. Data analysis
  7. Report results

Your task

What are your experiences to date with any of the activities described and were there aspects you found particularly easy or difficult?

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This video is from the free online course:

Healthcare Research: For Healthcare Professionals

Coventry University