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Undergraduate Medical Education

UGME students

Planning your research question

When starting a research project, we recommend that you bear two definitions in mind:

  • RESEARCH is a systematic inquiry that users rigorous methods to answer questions or solve problems. The ultimate goal of research is to develop, refine, and expand knowledge.
  • A RESEARCH QUESTION states the specific query the researcher wants to answer to address the research problem.

There are several things to consider when designing your research question. The research question worksheet below will help you to formulate your research question,


If you are asking a clinical question, you might consider formulating your question by using the PICO model. 

PICO is a mnemonic used to describe the four elements of a good clinical foreground question:

  • P = Population/Problem - How would I describe the problem or a group of patients similar to mine?
  • I = Intervention - What main intervention, prognostic factor or exposure am I considering?
  • C = Comparison - Is there an alternative to compare with the intervention?
  • O = Outcome - What do I hope to accomplish, measure, improve or affect?

Further reading

   Call number : WZ 345 M439s 2008

   Schulich Library of Science and Engineering





   Research Methodology by Ranjit Kumar

   Call number : H62 K84 2011

   Humanities and Social Sciences Library

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