Research Questions

research-design-desinition-types-explainedDr T Geetha Prasanth

Research is ‘a quest for knowledge through diligent search or investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of new knowledge’ (WHO)

The research questionnaire forms the frame work of the entire research process. So to be precise and to reach our goal without hassles and with minimum effort and at the same time to cover all relevant aspects of our topic, we need to give maximum attention to the questions we select.

By now, we are all familiar with different case taking methods in homoeopathic case taking and our experience teaches us that a well taken case is half cured.

To perform a good data collection especially for the research purpose, we need to give importance to certain points.

Selection of the topic: The topics can be selected

  • For educational purpose
  • In response to a public health issue
  • To verify certain rough data we came across during our clinical practice etc

Whatever may be the subject of the topic, it should be of your own interest.

A good research questionnaire should fulfill the following criteria;

  • It should be framed in such a way that it should be easily interpreted and digested by the people. Try not to poster but to communicate
  • It should give a clear idea about the topic, including the pathological changes etc
  • It should be ethical
  • Also should help to individualize the patient and lead to a similimum.
  • Leading questions and repetitions should be avoided.

Since the research is focused on a particular subject, the researchers should have a good idea about the effectiveness of the research to be conducted on society or particular section of population, importance should be given to the following points

  1. Age, 2.Sex, 3. Community.  4. Nationality 5. Occupation.  6. Economic status etc.

There should be questions to gather

  1. Physiological and pathological data connected with the subject.
  2. Results of the clinical investigations

The researcher should be thorough with the research subject. She/he should not hesitate to modify and re-modify the questions till one gets a good frame. Always bear in mind that these questions should be

  • Evocative
  • Relevant
  • Clear

Though there should be uniformity in research process, no strict schedule is recommended for case taking part of homoeopathic researches as the methodology of case taking adopted varies with doctors.

Formulate each question and evaluate it as follows

  • Whether this question render light to what the researcher have in his / her mind
  • Whether this question is reasonable and easily understood by the people
  • Make sure that the questions does NOT give much opportunity to the people to give unnecessarily lengthy and elaborate answers.

Go through the questions and answers and assess

  1. Why this question is important for this particular research?
  2. Does the abbreviations used in questions are correctly explained and answered by the people?
  3. Does the answers to your questions fulfill the following style
    1. the questions are formed in such a way that the answers received are in past tense
    2. The statistical data and data obtained during discussions are in present tense

In conclusion as an example, let us examine a recent research undertaken by the department of Homoeopathy-Kerala with the help of government of Kerala. The aim was to assess and improve the mental health, IQ and memory of students selected schools in all districts.

It was started uniformly 2 years back with the students of VIIIth standard. Students are supported in their studies by three factors

  1. By themselves
  2. By their family, especially parents
  3. By their teachers

So the questionnaire for this research purpose was formulated in such a way that all these three groups are included to assess a student. Separate and relevant questionnaire was given to the student, family and teachers and the mark list which is a very important document for this particular research was collected. A class was assigned to each doctor who first went through all these particulars and then individual case taking including thorough physical examination was conducted. Clarification, if needed as regards to the questionnaire filled by the parents/teachers or students are obtained. Medicine was selected after cross repertorisation and before the administration of medicine, once again the three groups were given an idea as what was being done.

This research is going on and so far the results are excellent and imparts enthusiasm and  optimism to the process of research to the participants


  • Guidelines for methodology and research evaluation of traditional medicine-WHO 2001
  • Ethical guidelines for biomedical research on human participants- WHO 2002 

Dr T  Geetha Prasanth
Medical Officer, Department of Homeopathy
Government of Kerala

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