n South African Journal of Surgery - Finding a topic for an MMed research report : forum

Volume 49, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Sometimes the most difficult aspect of research is finding a place to start. There are various techniques for generating focused research questions and logical ways to find 'gaps' in the literature. Advice on how to make a project feasible within the time and resources available, is also useful. Certainly, research cannot start if there is no clear research topic, hypothesis or question. Even these words may be confusing; a is a broad area of research such as 'Ulcers', or perhaps 'Duodenal ulcers'. A is simply a proposition regarding the outcome of a study, e.g. 'Lifestyle factors influence the severity of duodenal ulcers'. Research is much easier to plan if there is a clear, concise that ends in a question mark and conceptually has an answer, e.g. 'What lifestyle factors increase the risk of duodenal ulcers?' Once one has a question, the research can be focused to answer that question, and it becomes relatively easy to structure the protocol accordingly.

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