2. Planning a Research Project

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint Exupery


In this chapter you will learn about:

  • the research process
  • identifying knowledge gaps
  • choosing a research topic
  • developing a research question
  • types of Literature reviews.

Opening Scenario

As Antoine de Saint Exupery has stated, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. Imagine that you are going on a road trip with your family, you’ve got all your things packed, and everyone in the family is so excited, but then after driving around in circles for 3 hours, you realise that you don’t know how to get to your destination. You and your family feel frustrated and dissatisfied with the trip. You all acknowledge that you definitely won’t be able to reach your destination without a detailed plan of how to get there. Thankfully, with the advancement of technology, you can use the GPS to navigate through and find your way. First, the GPS provides you with the best route, and it steers you away from traffic congestion. It lets you know when you have gone off course and gives you directions to get back on track. You are able to see your progress as you proceed, and when you get to the place, it says, “you have arrived at your destination.’ It does this amazing work through a process of thorough data collection and analysis and is based on an overwhelming amount of evidence. Similarly, embarking on a research project without planning may lead to time-wasting, poor outcomes and feelings of dissatisfaction. In the following sections, we will take you through the research process, selecting a research topic, mapping your research idea, reviewing the literature and developing a research question.


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An Introduction to Research Methods for Undergraduate Health Profession Students Copyright © 2023 by Faith Alele and Bunmi Malau-Aduli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.