Assignment 2: Developing a Research Question, Hypothesis, and Study Aims

Purpose: All projects, whether a quality improvement initiative or randomized control trial, start with a well-articulated research question, hypothesis, and study aims. The purpose of this assignment is for students to practice developing a clear, testable research question and corresponding hypothesis and aims, which will serve as the basis for the rest of the semester’s assignments (e.g., literature review and methods).

Skills: This assignment is intended to help you learn to write a clear, testable research question on the integrated (medical and behavioral) topic of your choice. It is important to note that you MUST select a project related to integrated care; as a result, it is notable that your instructor must approve your topic prior to you completing the rest of the course assignments. While this is a critical skill in the larger Culminating Project, you will also likely be called upon in your professional careers to lead other projects, which requires a clear understanding of the purpose of the project, and what you hope to determine as a result of the project.

Task: Utilizing the “Brief Specific Aims Form” located in the course content section of the course shell, you are to identify an integrated behavioral/medical health research question that is relevant to your concentration (clinical or management). Many students find it useful to consider a problem they are currently experiencing in their work environment and adapting it to the primary care environment. For example, if your current work environment is currently dealing with an influx of patients struggling with opioid misuse, how might you address this problem with patients also experiencing chronic pain (e.g. would it be useful to evaluate a training for medical providers on CDC guidelines for prescription of opioids? Implement and evaluate a screening protocol to clearly identify patients at risk of misuse. Develop a care pathway to provide interventions to patients with chronic pain on selfmanagement strategies.).

For the brief specific aims template, you are to complete 4 sections of the aims page. Each section is one well-written paragraph.

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction to the topic; give all necessary and relevant information in a concise manner. Make sure to include a “hook” as your first sentence, known information about the topic, the gap in knowledge, and the critical need for what you are proposing.
  • Paragraph 2: Indicate the long-term goal (1 sentence), objective (1 sentence), rational for the research (1-2 sentences), research question(s) with corresponding hypothesis/hypotheses (2-4 sentences), and the pay-off (1 sentence).
  • Paragraph 3: State your Aims. There will be a corresponding aim for each research question/hypothesis pair (i.e., however many research question/hypothesis pairs you have indicates the number of aims you will have). The aims will be how you test your hypothesis.

Indicate what Aim 1 is (1 sentence). Make sure that you can clearly measure your aim.

Indicate what Aim 2 is (1 sentence). Make sure that you can clearly measure your aim.

  • Paragraph 4: This is where the methods typically go (this will be assignment 4).
  • Paragraph 5: Explain why the study is novel and the impact that it will have on the scientific community (3-5 sentences).

Criteria for Success:  See rubric for specific details about grading requirements and expectations as outlined on the course shell. In addition to the assignment, students MUST submit a self-evaluation using the provided rubric and a 1 paragraph summary of the strengths and weaknesses of their assignments or the assignment WILL NOT BE GRADED. The self-evaluation should be uploaded to the assignment area as a separate Word file and does not go through SafeAssign.

Note: Because an integrated research question that is feasible to test as part of the Culminating Project is necessary for success in other courses, you must earn a passing grade on this assignment (defined as 8/10) in order to pass the class. You have three attempts to achieve this grade.

Additionally, there are several “example” documents available here for your review. These examples are all a single study, but with annotations explaining how the researcher (Dr. Rodger Kessler) met the criteria set forth in the assignment guidelines. These are simply a reference for you to see a finished product.


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