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Nursing : Scope of Your Research

A research guide for nursing students

Before You Begin

1.    Describe your research topic.

Think of a statement or even a question that describes your topic or issue.  What is the scope of your topic?

  • Time span
  • Place                       
  • Subject area or subtopic
  • Specific group                                     
  • Specific event   
  • Specific individuals

Does your topic or issue have broader implications?

2. Critically think about your issue and ask questions.

  • Who is affected?
  • What are the implications?  What are the treatment options?
  • When did onset occur? Is there a timeline? Under what conditions?
  • Where is the problem localized or is it widespread?
  • How did this come to be?  How can it be treated?and of course, always ask Why?

3. When beginning your research think of the following:

  • What do you already know about your topic or issue?
  • What do you need to know in order to better understand your topic or issue?
  • How you would find the information needed to resolve your issue.

4. Consider your audience.

  • Why would your topic be of interest to them?
  • What will be new to them?
  • What level of expertise will your readers have?


Scope of Your Topic

If you have too much information, you must narrow your topic.

  • Narrow one of your PICO facets.
  • Choose one certain aspect or focus within your topic. You could think of causes and effects, treatments or therapies, etc.
  • Do preliminary reading to become familiar with many facets of the topic this may help you pinpoint your interest more precisely.


 If you have too little information, you must broaden your topic.

  • Make your search terms less specific.  For example, broaden your population from infants to include infants and children, or your intervention from amoxicillin to any penicillin-like antibiotic.
  • Check a dictionary, encyclopedia, or textbook to find other terms you could use in your search.

Keep Calm

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