Why focus a question?

Defining a practice-based question: Why focus a question?

Once you have decided on a topic you then need to focus it into an answerable question as vague, unfocused questions lead to wide, unfocused searches. These give articles that don’t really apply to your patient or client group.

If you ask the wrong question, you may miss out on relevant data in the literature because you have not searched efficiently for it.

Focused questions enable easier retrieval of appropriate evidence. In other words it is about being effective (finding the information you want) and efficient (finding it as quickly as possible).

So, in short, the key reasons for focusing your question are that it:

  • Facilitates search for the relevant evidence
  • Sorts best evidence from weaker less valid evidence
  • Decides whether the evidence is applicable to your patients

(Craig, J. V. and Smyth, R. L. (2011) The Evidence-Based Practice Manual for Nurses. Oxford: Elsevier Science Health Science div. In library at 610.73 EVI)

Pages developed with the help of Jamie Frankis, Lesley Price, Pauline Hamilton, and Ima Jackson of the School of Health and Life Sciences, GCU