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Step 1: Idea Into Question

Page history last edited by h.spring@yorksj.ac.uk 6 years, 4 months ago

HEALER Research Toolkit

Step 1: Turn Your Ideas Into a Research Question
Where do you start?
This first step is about thinking through your research question.  Is the question about your local library information service and how it will develop?  Or is it a much bigger question that requires full-scale research at local, national or even international level?  Why does this area interest you?
In getting started, consider the following questions:
  • What is your aim? (In general terms)
  • What is your research question? (In specific terms) 
  • Is your research question expressed in a way that is effective for collecting the right data?  
  • Is there a hypothesis that relates to your research question? (In specific terms) 
  • Do you have clear, actionable objectives? 
  • Is your idea novel/new?  NB In the case of service improvement it may not need to be ‘novel’.  (See Step 2 on Reviewing the Literature)
  • What is the scope of your intended project? 
  • Why does your research matter?
  • Who will benefit from your research?  NHS staff, students, patients/service users?  Or the "NHS organisation"?  


It is important to consider the above aspects carefully in order that you are able to turn your initial idea into a realistic and workable research question.  Make sure you spend some time discussing your ideas with others who may include some or all of the following:


  • Local library network
  • LKSL (Library and Knowledge Services Leads) http://www.libraryservices.nhs.uk/home.html
  • Line manager
  • Tutor or supervisor
  • Local R&D department
  • Local University Department of Information and Library Studies
  • Local University Health Faculty’s research staff
  • Make use of the email discussion lists – e.g. JISCMAIL LIS-Medical  LIS-LIRG or HEALER
  • Also look at the web sites of LIRG and the LIS Research Coalition (the LIS Research Coalition was a 3 year project that has now ended, however the work that was generated by the work of the Coalition has created a wealth of useful LIS research information and resources which are all available from the web site).

Other Useful Sources


  • Research Funding for LIS: An extensive list provided by the LIS Reserach Coalition of research funders for LIS 
  • RDFunding: For general advice
    RDFunding is a resource hosted by Leeds University providing information about funding and training opportunities for UK health professionals
  • Research Design Service: For support in designing large-scale research contracts funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
  • NHS R&D Forum: For those involved in managing and supporting research and development (R&D) in health and social care settings

User Involvement


Consider how to involve users at all stages of the research process especially:



Other Issues to Consider



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