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Drexel Library

Women's Health Education Program Research Project: Getting Started

This guide is intended to help students frame a timely and focused research question and find primary sources for the Transdisciplinary Research Project.


The goal of this experience is to distil the literature, analyze it, and present the findings of your topic of interest. The objectives include: advancing critical thinking and analytical skills; enhancing directed searches of the literature; and enhancing your presentation skills.

Before you begin, download and become familiar with a citation manager. See Additional Resources for links to library guides with instructions for using EndNote (Desktop), EndNote Web (Online), and Zotero. You may choose another citation manager if you wish.

Refresh  and practice your PowerPoint skills before getting started on your research.

Finding a topic

* Search the table of contents of recent issues of key journals in the Drexel collection to find ideas for current hot topics. Some journals, like JAMA, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Health Affairs, have links to special collections, theme issues, and topics such as Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Healthcare Dispariities, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal and Child Health, and Minority Health. 

  Good quality medical news services can help stimulate ideas for research projects.


Framing a timely and focused question

Be specific:

Not: Review of contraception

Rather: How does public policy effect contraceptive choices of low income women?

Not: Migraine headaches

Rather: The use of cognitive behavior therapy compared to drugs in the treatment of migraine headaches in adolescent females

* Read some review articles from core journals published in the past five years to obtain an overview of the literature. Review articles are a good secondary source to get familiar with practical and theoretical issues of a topic in order to find a compelling and focused research question. Review articles also provide the background to help address questions that may arise during your presentation.

Formulating a PICO Queston

PICO is an acronym to help you remember how to construct a well-designed clinical question

P:   Patient, population, or problem
 I:    Intervention *
C:   Comparison (if any)
O:   Outcome
 * The intervention may be a treatment, a diagnostic
    test, an etiologic factor, or a prognostic factor

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (Oxford): Asking Focused Questions    


Mind Mapping to help visualize and organize research projects and presentations