Framing your research question

Question frameworks are used to help you turn your research question into the searches you will need for databases and search engines

Question frameworks

The first framework you need to consider is FINER. You'll need to know why the research is necessary and what it's potential impact is before you start. After that there are quite a number of frameworks to help you frame and clarify your search.

Feasibility
  • Is this research feasible?
  • Is the scope of the research manageable?
  • Do you have the time, resources, expertise and funding?
Interesting
  • What is the interest in answering this question?
  • Who benefits from answering this question?
Novel
  • How will answering this question generate new evidence for the discipline literature?
Ethical
  • What are the ethical implications of this research?
Relevant
  • How is this research relevant to professional practice in this discipline?
  • How is this research relevant to other scholars in your discipline?

 

Reference: Cummings, S. R., Browner, W. S., & Hulley, S. B. (1988) Conceiving the research question. In S. B. Hulley, & S. R. Cummings SR (Eds), Designing Clinical Research. (pp. 12 - 17). Williams & Wilkins.

Select a framework by question focus

Question frameworks are usually referred to by their acronyms. Click the acronym in the table to go to the page with the full explanation for that framework.

Focus of your question

Associated frameworks

Clinical questions about the effectiveness of interventions / treatments, and the impact of exposures.

Diagnostic test evaluation

Economic evaluation / cost effectiveness

Evaluating experiences of a specific phenomenon (qualitative)

Policy evaluation

Practice guideline evaluation

Prevalence of a condition incidence of a condition, disease, symptom, health condition, problem

Prognosis issues / Determining prognosis

Questions about a client’s welfare (arising from daily practice)

Questions about complex interventions

Questions about rehabilitation therapies (in speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, …)

Service evaluation / improvements

Theories / methodologies

Select a framework by discipline area

Question frameworks are usually referred to by their acronyms. Click the acronym in the table to go to the page with the full explanation for that framework.

Discipline area

Frameworks

Business and management

Education and social sciences

Environment / ecology

Health / Medicine

Psychology

Social work