How To Conduct
A Research Project
A- Selecting a Topic for Your Project
1- Understand Your Assignment
In order to select a topic for your project, it will be helpful if you try to develop a questioning attitude toward everything that you read or hear, for example:
Do you have an assigned topic, or can you choose your own?
What is the goal of your research project? Possibilities may include:
· Show cause and effect
· Compare and contrast two things
· Conduct original scientific research
How long will your paper or report need to be?
What kinds of information sources should you use?
How many sources must you reference?
Which citation style will you need to use in your paper?
Some of the best research projects have been done with the purpose of showing that the conclusions of another practitioner or researcher were wrong -- or even to show that they were right!
2- look for something of Interest
Once you understand what's required, you can begin looking for topics that will fit within the scope of the assignment.
Look for a topic that interests you, is about something you care about, or has personal relevance in your study.
It is useful to talk over ideas with a potential supervisor. Experienced researchers will have comments and a realistic understanding of whether a project might produce meaningful results.
3- Browse Journals in Libraries
4 - Browse Online Resources
Open Access to Electronic Journals
Other Sources of Open Access Content
How to Manage Electronic Journals in Libraries
Statistics for the non-statistician.
Once you have identified your project, it is a good idea to budget an hour or 2 of your time each week to scan the articles in current or recent issues of journals in the library which interest you. Do a Medline literature search to unearth additional information.
Here are a few examples of projects that you can conduct
1 - Eye, Brain, and Vision
2 - Light, Colour and Vision,
3 - Vision and Visual Dysfunction
4 - Perception and Human Performance
5- Vision, Learning and Dyslexia
6 - Reading Skills and Binocular Visual Skills
7 - Nutrition and Vision
Although the above examples are all concerned with experimental projects, you will find that other kinds of projects-- devices, models, etc.--will pop into your mind if you become familiar with the literature in areas of your interest and develop a questioning attitude toward everything you read and hear!
For more research studies about vision, vision therapy, amblyopia, and binocular vision, please click the following linke:
5 - Narrow Your Topic
- Focus on a particular ASPECT of the topic
- Focus on your topic during a particular TIME PERIOD
- Focus on a specific TYPE or CLASS of people or things as they relate to your topic
- Focus on a particular PLACE
- Focus on the relationship between TWO DIFFERENT TOPICS
B- Organizeing Your Project
Once you have settled on the topic of your project, organizing your project will include the following steps:
1. Statement of the question:
A concise statement of the question or problem is necessary, no matter whether you will be doing an experimental project, a cas report, a literature critique, or any of the other types of projects. For example, if you plan to do an experimental project concerning phoria measurement, your question might be "What is the relationship between the associated phoria and the dissociated phoria?" Or if you plan to do a case report on an RGP lens wearer you are working with, your question might be "What effects does the wearing of RGP extended wear lenses have on visual acuity, keratometer readings, subjective refraction, and ocular health?"
2. Literature search:
Once you have stated the question or problem, the logical next step is to do a literature search, to find out what previous researchers have found. A Medline or other computerized search of recent literature (e.g., the past 2 or 3 years), using a few key words, will get you started. If your research question was based on something you read, go back to that paper and see what referencesto previous work were cited.
3. Equipment and procedures:
Give some thought to the items of equipment that you will need, and the procedures you will want to do. By the time you are in your third year, you probably have a pretty good idea of what items of equipment are available in our department.
Once you know what you are going to do, think about the characteristics and number of subjects you will need. Should the subjects be clinic patients, or could you just as well use fellow optometry students? Should the subjects be children, young adults, or older adults? How many subjects will you need? Don't begin to recruit subjects or collect data until your faculty supervisor agrees that you should do so!
5. Analysis of data and statistics:
Laboratory or clinical research projects usually require the use of some form of statistical analysis. The statistical analysis should be inferential, rather than being purely descriptive. Whereas descriptive statistics simply describe your results in terms of means, medians, standard deviations, etc., inferential statistics enable you to infer, on the basis of the results for your sample population, what the results would be for a much larger population. The method of statistical analysis to be used should be a part of your experimental design: the decision should not be put off until the results have been obtained. However, even with the best of intentions, it is possible that you will want to change your method of statistical analysis along the way.
For Additional Information
C - Writing The Paper
The format described here, recommended for a clinical or experimental project, can be used, with variations, for any of the categories of projects:
usually the easiest way to handle the Abstract is to write it after you have finished the first draft of your paper. The abstract need not be longer than about 100 words; it is followed by a few (usually 3 or 4) key words.
The Introduction will include a statement concerning the purpose of the study; i.e., the problem to be addressed, and it will include a review of the literature on the topic of your study, usually based on a Medline or other computer search.
The Methods section will describe the subjects and the procedures, in sufficient detail so that someone else could repeat your study.
The Results section will normally display the data in the form of tables and/or graphs, together with descriptions or explanations of each. It will also include any statistical analysis of your data.
The Discussion section will usually include a comparison of your results to those of other similar studies and, if appropriate, will discuss the strong points and shortcomings of your study.
The Conclusions section should be brief, for example, listing two or three conclusions that are obvious on basis of your results. Don't list conclusions that aren't borne out by your results!
Depending on the topic your project deals with, the number of references could be anywhere from 4 to 30; the usual number is around 10. Write them up in the format that is used in a journal that would be appropriate for your paper, for example: the Journal of the American Optometric Association; Optometry and Vision Science; International Contact Lens Clinic; Ophthalmology; Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science; Neuroscience; Optometric Education.
APA Formatting and Style Guide
AMA Formatting and Style Guide
Remember to Follow Any Specific Instructions From Your