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NURS 4900/4901: Nursing Capstone I & II

This guide supports the NURS 4900 and NURS 4901 courses at PennWest University.

Forming Questions

Question development is an integral part of an effective search. On this page, you'll find information on the different types of questions you might ask, along with templates and tools for question formation.

A good question...

  • Focuses your information needs
  • Identifies key search concepts
  • Points you in the direction of potential resources

Background Questions

These questions are general in nature and provide foundational information on a single concept. Background questions cover:

  • Terminology
  • General Pathology
  • Patient Education Resources
  • General Drug Information
  • Examination/Assessment Procedures


What is the pathology of asthma?

What drugs are used to treat hypertension?

How do I perform a psychological assessment?

What education resources exist for patients with gestational diabetes?

How is hepititis B diagnosed?

What does a normal heartbeat sound like?

Foreground Questions

These questions bring together multiple concepts related to a specific clinical situation or research topic. They are typically divided into two categories:

  • Qualitative Questions aim to discover meaning or gain an understanding of a phenomena. They ask about an individual's or population's experience of certain situations or circumstances.
  • Quantitative Questions aim to discover cause and effect relationships by comparing two or more individuals or groups based on differing outcomes associated with exposures or interventions.

Forming Foreground Questions

Qualitative Questions: The PS Model

P - Patient/Population

- Situation

How do/does ____[P]_____ experience ____[S]_____ ?

Ex. How do caregiver-spouses of Alzheimer patients experience placing their spouse in a nursing home?

Additional Frameworks

PIE (Population, Intervention, Effect / Outcome)

PEO (Population/Problem, Exposure, Outcomes/Themes)

FINER (Feasibility, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, Relevant)

SPICE (Setting, Perspective, Intervention, Comparison, Evaluation)

SPIDER (Sample, Phenomena of Interest, Design, Evaluation, Research type)


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This page was created by McMaster University Health Sciences Library. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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