Building on existing studies

As we explained earlier, editors and reviewers will assess how your study fits in with the current literature. They will also check if your research question is an important one, your findings are useful, and your research is ethical.

Using the F.I.N.E.R. criteria

Hulley et al. (2007), in the clinical context, proposed using F.I.N.E.R. criteria in formulating a research question:

  • Feasible—having enough resources in terms of time, staff, and funding
  • Interesting—making the study arouse curiosity
  • Novel—doing a careful literature search to identify a knowledge gap
  • Ethical—using a design or methodology that the institutional (ethics) review board will approve
  • Relevant—ensuring the research will contribute will improve clinical practice and advance in scientific research and policy

Regular reading of the literature will allow you to identify knowledge gaps in your field. These gaps are the unanswered research questions that could form the basis and objectives of your next research project.

Reference: Hulley SB, Cummings SR, Browner WS, Grady DG, Newman TB. Designing clinical research. 3rd ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2007

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