Instructions for Research project
Research Paper Project
Your group is the strategic planning committee for a large HMO. The backgrounds of the committee members consists of diverse clinical and non-clinical fields such as medicine, health education, nursing, physical therapy, and administration. The CEO has asked you to provide input to the organization’s strategic plan by identifying a single issue that may impact clinical or public health (now or in the future). You must then review the current literature with respect to that issue and recommend a position to be taken by the HMO in a 10 to 12 page report. If the CEO likes your paper (he will) you will be asked to make a formal multimedia presentation to the board of directors.
Some examples of issues:
- A number of “natural” herbal remedies have been touted as safe and cost effective alternatives to traditional treatments. Select a remedy and determine how safe and effective it really is. Should your HMO pay for its use in treatment?
Topic Discussion Forum
As a way of helping you to exchange information with one another, I have set up an online discussion forum that you can use for your research projects. Here is how it works: The URL for the forum is located in the Moodle Online Discussions for the course, with a topic name of Research Papers
One person from each group should start a discussion thread in the forum with the topic of your project. As you do your research, if you find resources, articles, web sites, etc. that may be useful to your classmates, please post the information to the respective threads in this forum. Also feel free to comment on each others’ topics if you feel you have something to contribute.
If your topic involves a medical issue (for example, the medical use of marijuana, the use of herbal or alternative treatments ), make sure to search the medical literature for research indicating the clinical efficacy and risks associated with the treatment (E.G. Is marijuana or whatever you are looking at actually effective in treating various diseases and symptoms?).
Paper Format – Required Elements
Please include the following AS MAJOR HEADINGS in your paper:
Group Members – Names of all group members.
Introduction – A 1 page or more introduction to the problem (provide some background as to what the problem or issue is and why it is important) In this section, you are describing to the reader what the problem is that you are trying to solve, and why it is a problem for the HMO. You do not need to offer any solutions in the Introduction, just the overview of the problem. – 10 points.
Research Question – State your research question(s) used to develop your literature search. This section just needs to contain the research questions you need to be able to answer in order to offer a solution to the problem. Keep in mind that more than one question will be necessary, and that the questions must follow the guidelines discussed in class for good research questions (e.g. grammatically correct, written down, in the form of a question, and very specific). Also, the questions must be ones that can be answered through a review of the research literature. For example, a question such as “what should our HMO do about medical errors?” is not one that can be answered by the research. On the other hand, “What are the most common medical errors encountered in Health Maintenance Organizations in the U.S.?” is one that would be much more appropriate. – 10 points
Methodology – A discussion of each research tool used and what your experience was with it (2 pages) Make sure to discuss whether you found articles meeting your criteria or not. If not, make sure to discuss what you found instead of what you wanted. This section should address each of the research tools you used and should include some significant discussion as to the approach that you took with it, your experiences with the tool, and how it contributed to the overall project. Note that ¼ of the total points are assigned to this section, so it should be as long as necessary to adequately discuss the tools you used.- 25 points (at least 2 pages)
Findings – Discuss your findings. This section deals with what you learned from your research and should address the answers to your research questions. In order to get an idea of what this section should look like, take a look at some of the articles you found and review the findings sections in those articles. The idea here is to integrate the results of the various studies so that it naturally leads to the conclusion(s) you will offer in the “Conclusions” section.
- What articles did you find?
- Did the articles seem to agree with one another or was there much disagreement?
- Did your articles deal with research studies or clinical trials — if so what did they find?
- Any information found from a non-peer reviewed source must include a short discussion of the credibility of that information using the CCO method (at least 4 pages). – 30 points
Research Gaps – One way to think of Research Gaps is that they are essentially research questions that cannot be answered due to lack of research. Are there any areas of the literature in which little or no research exists? For example, let’s assume your research question deals with the effectiveness of a particular treatment for a disease. If a thorough review of the literature leads you to conclude that no one has ever conducted a clinical trial to study that treatment, you will have identified a research gap. Keep in mind that a research gap is an area for which there is no research, as opposed to an area for which there is research that you couldn’t find. True research gaps can be difficult to identify since it is not always clear as to whether you just failed to find research that does exist, or whether it never existed in the first place. In this section you may want to consider if you had to pick or recommend a topic for primary research, what would it be? – 10 points
Conclusions – The conclusions section is not just a summary of the Findings. After reviewing the findings, what conclusions were you able to draw from the information you found? What decision(s) might you make based on these findings? Be very specific. Your conclusions should directly address how your findings support your answer(s) to the research question(s). This is the section where you make a decision based on the information. For example, “Based on the large number of studies that consistently show XYZ treatment to be effective but to have significant side effects, we conclude that its use should be promoted for the following situations…” Keep in mind that in this section, you must offer a solution to the HMO, or discuss why one cannot be found at this time.– (at least 2 pages or more) 15 points
At a minimum you will need a articles found using a variety of methods including web search engines, and CSUN literature databases of peer-reviewed journal articles. The documentation for your search method and the use of the various research tools should be included in the Methodology section.
Please format your paper using the APA style
Before submitting your paper, please check off these items to make sure you have completed the assignment completely:
Check off if your paper includes:
- a cover page containg a listing of group members’ names
- a topic that is based on an issue or a problem to be solved
- an Introduction under a major heading
- one or more Research Questions written using the format discussed in class under a major heading
- a section discussing the Methodology and information resources that were used under a major heading
- a Findings section that discusses the implications of what you found relative to the research questions.
- a section discussing Research Gaps that you have identified
- a Conclusions section in which you make a decision based on your research
- a major heading for each of the above sections
- a table of contents created using Microsoft Word’s automated capability
- a references page at the end of the document
- all statements of fact, statistics, and references to studies have been cited using APA parenthetical citations throughout the document.
Professor Spinello’s 10 Steps to Writing a Good Research Paper
When writing a research paper a good rule of thumb is to keep in mind your research question(s) since these will guide every aspect of the paper. With that said, here are a few tips for you:
- Assess the information you will rely upon– When using non-peer reviewed information, always use the CCO method for critiquing information that you find on the Internet (or anywhere else). Don’t assume that all information is equally accurate – evaluate it and decide for yourself before you rely on it for a health decision or a grade.
- Start with an issue– The issue should be something that will require a decision on your part. For example, if you are looking at the use of a new medical treatment, your decision will be whether or not you as an HMO should pay for that treatment.
- In order to make that decision there are a number of things you will need to know. For example, the efficacy and cost of the treatment compared to alternatives, side effects, patient compliance, etc. The things you need to know will be your research questions.
- Write your research QUESTIONS before you begin doing your research– After you have narrowed down your issue you should next write your research questions on paper and make sure that your group has consensus on what the research question should be. . Make sure to do this before you begin researching the Internet. And remember, the purpose of the research question is to guide your research. After you complete your research, the answers to your questions should guide you to the conclusion of the issue and direct you toward what decision you should make for this organization.
- Make sure to follow the rules for writing the research questions as discussed in class. Each question should be very specific. For example, In clinical trials, does XYZ treatment improve the symptoms of patients with ABC disease when compared with a placebo and alternative treatments?You might also want to know how expensive this treatment is compared to alternatives, how well patients comply with the regimen, whether there are major side effects, etc. Each one of these items will warrant its own research question, since the answers to those questions could potentially be found in different types of publications or different types of data bases. For example, when looking a clinical trials may be most likely to look a medical data base such as Medline. If you’re comparing the cost of treatments, yet most likely want to look at databases containing publications dealing with a hospital administration or pharmoeconomics.
The incorrect approach would be to try to wrap all of these issues into a single research question, such as, Should EconMed HMO pay for X Y Z treatment? since no Literature research would be able to answer that question directly.
- Be specific in your findings– Don’t simply list the names of the articles you found. Instead, you should discuss what you specifically learned from your research. Also, make sure to discuss the reliability of what you learned. If you found information on a personal web site, be sure to whether or not you believe that the information was reliable. The findings section should include the answers to your research questions.
- Cite ReferencesAppropriately – Be sure to always reference statistics used in your paper. For example, “48% of Americans suffer with XYZ disease“. Statements such as this should always include appropriate references so that the reader can tell where the 48% came from. When citing the reference, make sure to site the original reference and not a publication where the number was simply repeated. For example, if People Magazine used the number in an article about Celebrity Diseases, this would probably not be a correct reference since the original study was not conducted by People Magazine. The appropriate reference would be the publication in which the author conducted the study and discussed how he or she arrived at the number of 48%.
- Make sure to always cite statements of fact. For example, “people living near power lines are more likely to develop cancer.” Before using or relying on statements such as this, make sure to track down a reference and determine whether it is reliable. If, in your research, you encounter a statement like this without a reliable reference, don’t assume it is true until you can find a reference to the scientific research that backs up the claim. Statements that are more or less common knowledge generally do not need to be referenced. For example, “many people in the U.S. have brown hair.”
- Use the APA style to format your paper – If you are not familiar with the APA style, make sure to review one of the online
- Be thorough in your conclusions. The conclusion section should include a brief review of the problem and research questions together with the pertinent findings that helped answer your research questions. The emphasis of this section should be on what you concluded based on what you learned.
For example, if you learned the following:
- The causes of Chronic XYZ disease
- The population that Chronic XYZ affects
- A new miracle drug, XYZ-B-Gone, is effective in combating XYZ disease with few side effects at a lower cost than current treatments for that population.
You conclusion could be that this treatment may be appropriate for clinical use and that, barring any unforeseen risks or side effects, your HMO should pay for it.
Remember, it is possible that you may not be able to arrive at an answer to your problem. There may be too many research gaps, or it is possible that the research you find is incomplete or unreliable. In that case, you may conclude that more study is needed for you to make a decision. In that case, make recommendations for you what further research you think should be done.