Tips: This is a very important step – do not skip the literature search! You can use (free to the public), Ovid, or other search method used by your institution. Try various key words and phrases. You will usually find a typical phrase that is being used for your general area of interest. You may also want to look at EBM resources such as the Cochran Database, if related research has been done in an area related to your research – your librarian or others at your institution may be able to help with this. These are some things that you will want to know when you conduct your search:
  1. How is this type of question expressed by the medical community?
  2. Has this specific question been answered before? Was it done well?
  3. Is there a validated tool that already exists to measure your outcome(s)?
  4. Are there successful research designs that have answered questions similar to yours?
Remember: it is very important not to meet with your colleague and/or mentor until after you have reviewed the literature related to your idea!