Nursing Research for Evidence-Based Practice

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don’t much care where.

The Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

—Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Effective research begins with the careful formulation of a research question. Because this question will guide the entirety of the research process, it is important for the question to be specific, answerable, meaningful, and manageable. The question, “What is the cure for cancer?” is extremely significant, but it is not specific or manageable enough to promote effective research. Conversely, the question, “Are individuals who play the violin on Fridays in March more likely to contract hepatitis?” is very specific but lacks clinical significance. In order for research to generate meaningful, precise findings, researchers must begin by carefully crafting a question. In addition, researchers must also explore ethical concerns related to the question that they select. Taking the time to craft a relevant, well-constructed question will enable the researcher to have an unambiguous focus as he or she proceeds.