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D3 MOSDOH Research Project

Selected resources and tips to get you started with your research project.

Getting Started

Start Broad and Reasonably Refine your Research

Too broad topic is hard to search because you will get too much information

Too Broad

Cancer too broad because there is different type is of cancer, better to pick a type of cancer

Breast cancer:  may be too broad because there is been a lot of research done on it and lots of factor s contribute to it

*** Better pick a particular type of treatment, aspect of the disease or population

Eating Disorders too broad


*** “nutrition and diet factors of breast cancer in urban areas. Could narrow it further by demographics.

*** “Causes and treatment of Bulimia in college athletes”
*** “Prevalence of anorexia in teenage males in the united states”

*** “alternative treatments for chronic eating disorders in adults”


***Choose a manageable and interesting topic not too broad or too narrow scope.

Resources for background information in handbooks, journals, encyclopedias:
Search Still OneSearch Catalog, Google scholar, Browse eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), Browse Chronicle of Higher Education, Browse dissertations ProQuest Dissertation Search discipline specific library databases.  

After choosing an interesting and manageable topic and gathering background information, add focus with a research question

Explore Questions

Ask open-ended “how” and “why” questions about your general topic.

Consider the “so what” of your topic.

Why does this topic matter to you? Why should it matter to others?

Reflect on the questions you have considered. Identify one or two questions you find engaging and which could be explored further through research.

Determine and Evaluate Your Research Question

What aspect of the more general topic will you explore?

 Is your research question focused? Why does your argument matter?

How might others challenge your argument?

What kind of sources will you need to support your argument?

***Once you have a solid topic, formulate your research question or hypothesis and begin finding information in discipline specific library databases.  

For further assistance email: or or schedule an appointment here.


A 70- year- old male - is concerned  about his bad breath. You tell him that he wouldn't have much to worry about if he brushed his teeth. He doesn't believe you and says, " show me the evidence"


The key to finding appropriate evidence is to ask a searchable, answerable question. The  PICO tool/ framework  is often used  as guide  for asking clinical questions, helping  to provide the best care possible.  Before you start think about what you want to research on and have a well - built question. PICO helps with that.

Why PICO? Helps you think through the present  problem and break it down and separate  the key concepts from the less relevant details.

P = Patient, Population, Problem  I= Intervention/Exposure   C= Comparison/ Control  O= Outcome (s)

Patient, Population, Problem: Who is your patient (Age, sex, race, patient or Primary Problem  or Diseases /Condition or Health status)
Intervention/Exposure: What you plan on doing for the patient? ( Diagnostic test/tool, Medication or Drug, Procedure)
C  Comparison/Control: What do you want to compate/alternative ( another test, medication or procedure, watchful waiting ( not always included)
O Outcome: What you wish to accomplish (improve/contro/reduce symptoms,  accurate diagnosis etc.) eg reduced mortality
T Time ( example - timeline for follow up, is there drug administration schedule

Types of Questions

Background, Foreground, Research, Clinical (will help determine sources of information to consider and focus of study)

(For Evidence- Based Dentistry,  preferred to focus on asking clinical questions, but consider the requirements of the assignment)


Often general, provides  background knowledge about a topic. Information often found in reference  materials., textbooks and other general e-resources.

Foreground Questions

Often specific or complex or may be about patient care management, treatments, tests, approaches to a condition
Research: Looks more broadly  at how  a specific  condition functions.

Once you have formed a good clinical question, you may classify its focus into the following categories

Types of Clinical Question/Problem

Therapy Normally answers effectiveness and/or the risk of a specific  treatement. Is intervention more effective than another
Diagonosis Determines if a test will provide accurate diagnosis. Often in comaparison to  " gold standard " test. Accuracy/usefulness of diagnostic  tool. Test, application to a specific patient
( example: What is the best method  that dentists can use to identify early  carious lesions
Etiology Causes or risk factors for a disease or condition. 
(example: Are teenagers who frequently  drink  soda  at risk for developing dental caries)
Prognosis Probable outcome, progression, likelihood of occurance, survivability of a diseases or condition?
(how Long will a dental plant last in an adult patient with no perodontal diseases)



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