I’m not a New Year’s resolution person. I used to be and then I realized that I wanted to hit the restart button more often than every 365 days. So…my aim for this blog remains pretty much unchanged: Make research processes and ideas understandable for every RN.
Although “to be simple is difficult,” that’s my goal. Let me know what’s difficult for you in research, because it probably is for others as well. Let’s work on the difficult together so that you can use the BEST Evidence in your practice.
The 2019 journey begins today, and tomorrow, and the tomorrows after that!
FOR MORE: Go to PubMed. Search for a topic of interest. Send me the article & we’ll critique together.
Want to know how to write an introduction/background section of a paper? Pay attention to STRUCTURE & evidence-based ARGUMENT in order to DIY (do-it-yourself) your own intro/background for a school paper or research report!
Let’s use this 2015 free full-text article by Marie Flem Sørbø et al. as a model! Past and recent abuse is associated with early cessation of breast feeding: results from a large prospective cohort in Norway . (Hint: Clicking on the article’s pdf tab may make it easier to read.)
Focus only on the INTRO/BACKGROUND section for now. Check out the STRUCTURE then the EVIDENCE-BASED ARGUMENT of the Intro/Background. This is how you should write your own.
STRUCTURE of INTRO/BACKGROUND in Sørbø et al. (2015):
- Where is the Intro/Background section located in the article?
- What heading is used for the section?
- Where are the research questions located in the Intro/Background? (HINT: this is the standard place in all papers & in this case the authors call them “aims.)
ARGUMENTS in INTRO/BACKGROUND in Sørbø et al. (2015):
- Look at the first (topic) sentence of each paragraph in INTRO/BACKGROUND & listen to the systematic argument the researchers are making for WHY their study is important.
- “Breast feeding has long been acknowledged as the optimal infant nutrition conferring beneficial short-term and long-term health effects for both infants and mothers.1–5 …
- Abuse of women is common worldwide, as one in three women during lifetime suffer partner or non-partner abuse.10 …Adverse effects [of abuse]… are barriers to breast feeding.*…
- Given the overwhelming evidence of the positive effects of breast feeding, knowledge about factors influencing breastfeeding behaviour is essential….
- We explored the impact of abuse of women on breastfeeding behaviour in a large prospective population in Norway where the expectations to breast feed are high, and breast feeding is facilitated in the work regulations….” (pp. 1-2)
- Now look at the research & other evidence written down AFTER each of above key sentences that SUPPORT each idea.
- Notice that the INTRO/BACKGROUND is NOT a series of abstracts of different studies!! Instead evidence is grouped into key arguments for the study: Breast feeding is best, Abuse is common, Abuse creates barriers to breastfeeding, & Therefore, knowing about factors affecting breastfeeding is important). [Note: Of course, if your particular professor or editor asks you to do a series of abstracts, then you must, but do group them in arguments like the topic sentences.]
All this leads naturally, logically to …(drum roll please!)…the research questions/hypotheses, which are the gaps in our knowledge that the research will fill. This sets up the rest of the research article!
Critical Thinking: Your turn! Write your own Intro/Background using
- Structure: Placement in article, heading, placement of research question/hypothesis
- Argument: Key idea topic sentences (make a list 1st) with supporting research & other evidence (your literature review).
For more info on Intro/Background: Review my blogpost Intro to Intro’s
*ok, yeh. I cheated and included one additional sentence to capture the authors’ flow of argument.