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KiND: Kinesiology, Nutrition & Dietetics

Choose Your Topic

Remember that choosing your topic isn't something you do before you start your research. Choosing a topic is research. So how do you choose a topic worth researching? Try working through the following steps: 

  1. Start by considering what interests you.Concept map of topics related to solar energy.
    • Maybe it's something from class, a current issue in the news, or something you ran across in your social media feeds. Make a list of anything that sparks your interests. 
  2. Review your list and decide what topic or issue you'd like to know more about.
    • Consider your assignment prompt--what topic is both interesting to you and fits the requirements of your assignment?
  3. Brainstorm what you already know about this topic.
    • Consider all the different aspects of the issue. Try making a concept map like this example for solar energy.
  4. Stay open to change!
    • Research topics tend to change as you learn more about them. That's OK! It's all part of the research process. Be open to your initial topic evolving, particularly as you begin to find background information.

Explore Your Topic

Why should I do background research?Explore

Background research is an essential component of the research process. It helps to contextualize your work and gives you a basic understanding of the issues surrounding a particular topic. This is important because it will help you identify aspects of a topic that can turn into some interesting ideas, which will then lead to a solid research question.

How do I do background research?

UNC Libraries provides access to great tools for background research. You can search hundreds of encyclopedias through the library reference databases. Here are a few of our favorite databases for background research:

What about Wikipedia?

Wikipedia can be an excellent source for background information. Be sure not to cite Wikipedia! Rather, use the links in the References section at the bottom of the Wikipedia page to investigate the sources referenced in the article.

Develop a Clinical Question

As part of Evidence Based Practice (EBP), well-built clinical questions help you gather evidence relevant to your patient or client's problem.  Once you have developed a clinical question, you can easily determine the keywords and other search elements you need to focus on when searching databases for information on the patient's condition.

Use the PICO/T format to compose clinical questions:

P = Population/Patient/Problem - How would you describe a group of people with a similar problem?

I = Intervention - How do you plan to treat, medicate, diagnose, and/or observe the patient's care?   

C = Comparison - Is there an alternative intervention you are considering? This element is optional.  

O =Outcome - What do you want to accomplish, measure, improve, or affect?

T = Time - Is time a factor in addressing the condition, treatment, or diagnosis. This element is optional.

Here’s our example PICO/T Questions:

  • In pediatric cases of serous otitis media (P), does pneumatic otoscopy (I), as compared to acoustic reflectometry, (C) give a more accurate diagnosis (O)?  
  • In a 33-year-old man who had heart valve replacement (P), will the blood thinner warafin (Courmadin) (I) result in fewer visits to the hospital (O) than the blood thinner Pradaxa (C)?
  • For adult men (P), does undergoing a vasectomy (I), as compared to not having a vasectomy (C), lead to an increased risk of testicular cancer (O)?