Research Idea

This section provides guidance for researchers to identify their research interests from their clinical practice. Research at the Department of Family Medicine is a broad (and growing) area of focus.

Before you access any of the resources listed here, you will need to spend some time focusing your research idea. To do that, you might want to consider the following: What is the nature of your question? How has the question arisen? What is the drive to answer it? What outcome do you hope to see?

Recommended Resources

  • Journal article: Chulay, M. (2006). Good research ideas for clinicians. AACN advanced critical care, 17(3), 253-265*
    • Clinician involvement is key for the synthesis of clinically relevant studies and results that guide patient care. This article provides suggestions to assist clinicians in identifying the types of clinical questions that are most likely to result in the successful completion of research projects and that are relevant to their practice areas.
  • Journal article: Fetters, M. D. (2019). Getting started in primary care research: choosing among six practical research approachesFamily medicine and community health7(2).
    • The article addresses six objectives: (1) identify how important primary care research comes from clinical stories; (2) recognize how clinical stories become the source of research topics; (3) discern how the research process resembles the care of patients; (4) distinguish the essential features of six research approaches feasible for primary care researchers; (5) evaluate the fit of the six research approaches featured in this special issue; and (6) develop a list of steps that need to be taken to implement primary care research projects. 
  • Journal article: Richardson, W. S., Wilson, M. C., Nishikawa, J., & Hayward, R. S. (1995). The well-built clinical question: a key to evidence-based decisionsAcp j club123(3), A12-A13.
    • This article addresses questions like how do clinical questions arise? How can they be recognized and formulated as they occur?

*DFM faculty members can access full text articles from the McMaster Health Sciences Library using your MacID. To request your MacID, or if you’re having issues, please email Faculty Relations at

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