2/4 Data Analysis: what comes before?

You are now ready to start analysing all the data your have collected. But, before you do this, let's just reflect on what has gone before. To get to this stage in your study, you will have undertaken the following activities:

Identifying research problems

Research problems need to be researchable and can be generated from practice, but must be grounded in the existing literature. They may be local, national or international problems that need addressing in order to develop the existing evidence base.

Searching the existing literature base

A thorough search of the literature using data bases, internet, text and expert sources should support the need to research the problem. This should be broad and in depth, showing a comprehensive search of the problem area.

Critical appraisal of the literature

A critical appraisal framework should be employed to review the literature in a systematic way.

Developing the questions/ and or hypothesis

A more specific research question and /or hypothesis may be developed from the literature review that provides the direction for the research, which aims to provide answers to the question /hypothesis posed.

Theoretical base

The research may employ a theoretical base to examining the problem, especially seen in masters level research and in many research studies. In the health and social care field this might come from the social sciences, psychology or anthropology.

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