1. How to write a research
Hebatalla Mohamed Aly
Lecturer of occupational medicine
• Definition of research
• What is research proposal?
• Why we need a research proposal?
• What are the elements of a research
3. Definition of research
• Research is the systematic collection, analysis
and interpretation of data to answer a certain
question or solve a problem.
• It is crucial to follow cascading scientific steps
when conducting one’s research
4. Choose research area
Choose research topic
Crude research question Literature review
Answer not foundRefine your question
Research hypothesis, aim and
Population and sampling
Tools and methodology
No need for the study
5. Research proposal
• The research protocol is the detailed plan of the
• Research proposal should include:
The broad topic you would like to research,
What the research would set out to achieve (aims
What is your plan for researching it (methodology),
How you would undertake it within the time
available (time table) and
What the results might be in
relation to knowledge and
understanding in the subject
6. Why we need a research proposal
• Forces the investigators to clarify their thoughts and to
think about all aspects of the study;
• Research proposal is intended to convince others that
you have a worthwhile research project and that you
have the competence and the work-plan to complete it.
• A necessary guide if a team (not a single investigator) is
working on the research;
• Is essential if the study involves research on human
subjects or is on experimental animals, in order to get
the institution’s ethical approval;
• Is an essential component of a research proposal
submitted for funding.
7. Selection of research area
• Select your broad research area based on:
• Scientific background
–Actual need for research in this area
–Available resources (interest of funding
8. Selection of research topic
Selecting a research topic depends on:
– The characteristics of the problem (topic):
• Impact on health:
• Available interventions
• Proposed solutions
– The characteristics of the proposed study:
• Applicability of the results
• The title should be descriptive and concise.
• It may need to be revised after completion of
the writing of the protocol to reflect more
closely the sense of the study.
11. Introduction and rationale
• Introduction should provide the
background of the research study.
• In an introduction, the writer
Create reader interest in the
Explain the fundamental
reasons for your research.
Justify your work
Answer the question of why
and what: why the research
needs to be done and what will
be its relevance.
12. Aim and objectives
• Aim ≠ objectives
• Aim: It describes the goal of the work in broad
• Objectives: more specific and relate directly to
the problem (question). They are classified
into 2 types
Primary objectives (must be achieved)
Secondary objectives (by the way)
14. Aim and objectives
• Objectives should be:
Closely related to the research question
Covering all aspects of the problem
Ordered in a logical sequence
Stated in action verbs that could be evaluated e.g.
to describe, to identify, to measure, to compare,
Achievable, taking into consideration the available
resources and time
Mutually exclusive, with no repetitions or overlaps
15. Question and hypotheses
• Make sure that
The question is clear and specific
It has no answer by common sense
It has no answer in the LITERATURE
Finding an answer to the question will solve or
at least help in solving the problem to be
• Research hypothesis is a statement of (answer
to) the research question in a measurable form.
16. Question and hypotheses
• Two types of hypotheses are used in research
Alternative hypothesis (H1): The hypothesis
stated by the researcher the objective of
Null hypothesis (H0): The opposite of the
alternative hypothesis is the assumption
that the alternative hypothesis is not true.
17. Formulation of hypotheses
• Does a research question has only one
e.g. a prospective cohort study
Designed to answer the
following question “Is aspirin
use reduce the risk of stroke?”
What is the suggested hypothesis??
18. Formulation of hypotheses
• H1 (prevalence of stroke is lower among patients
who take aspirin regularly compared to patients
• H1 (incidence of stroke is lower among patients
who take aspirin regularly compared to patients
• H1 (patients who use aspirin regularly have reduced
risk of stroke compared to those who don’t).
• H1(there is a negative correlation between dose of
aspirin used and incidence of stroke).
• H1 (there is a significant association between
aspirin use and stroke)
19. Criteria of sound hypotheses
• Based on plausible scientific background
• Translating the research question
• Using study variables
• Stated in measurable terms
• Testing only one relationship or
• Reflecting study design
21. Subjects and Methods
• The researcher’s overall plan to obtain an answer
to the research question.
• A fundamental decision is whether :
To take a passive role in observing the events
taking place in the study subjects
observational study or
To apply an intervention and examine its effects
on these events clinical trial.
22. Subjects and Methods
• A typical sequence for studying a topic begins with
observational studies of a type that is often called
• Descriptive studies are usually followed or
accompanied by analytic studies that evaluate
associations to permit inferences about cause and
(cohort, case control, cross sectional).
• The final step is often a clinical trial to establish the
effects of an intervention.
23. Subjects and Methods
• Where the study will be carried out?
• The group in which the study will be carried out
and to whom will the results refer.
24. Subjects and Methods
• The definition of the sampling unit is done by
– Inclusion criteria
– Exclusion criteria
(exclusion criteria are not the opposite of inclusion
25. Subjects and Methods
• Is the process of selection of a number of units
from a defined study population.
• It involves:
1. Estimation of the sample size
2. Choice of sampling method
26. Subjects and Methods
• Sample size calculation: to determine the
appropriate number of samples that should be
studied with justification
• Calculation of sample size has been made easy
by computer software programs. But the
principles underlying the estimation should be
27. Subjects and Methods
• A larger sample size than needed to test the research
Increases the cost and duration of the study
Will be unethical (it exposes human subjects to any
potential unnecessary risk without additional
• A smaller sample size than needed can also be
unethical (it exposes human subjects to risk with no
benefit to scientific knowledge).
28. Subjects and Methods
Non probability sampling
not everyone in the population has
an equal chance of being selected to
participate in the study
There is a known & equal
probability of selection for each
30. Subjects and methods
• Data are variable:
Quantitative (continuous, discrete)
Qualitative (nominal, ordinal)
• Data collection tool/s:
Using available information (records)
Measuring (all lab. tests and other investigations
31. Subjects and methods
• Data management: dealing with data
throughout the study
Preparation of data entry
32. Ethical considerations
• Specify the ethical issues involved in the study
Benefits of the study procedures,
Responsibility of injury,
Voluntary consent, Confidentiality
Permission to conduct the study , etc.
33. Time table
• Plan for accomplishing each step of the study
• Present in table format
• A brief outline of the budget requirement
showing head wise expenditure for the study.
• The protocol should end with relevant
references on the subject.
• In this section list of the various references
quoted while formulating protocol may be
listed in a sequential manner.
• All the formats/questionnaires that may be
used in the study should be placed in a
• Forms for informed consent