Chapter 27

Developing a Program of Research

Program of Research

A program of research is a sequential “series of related studies aimed at addressing a particular knowledge gap” of importance to one’s discipline (Pranulis, 1991)


Program of Research

The opposite approach to deliberately building a program of research would be to conduct a number of discrete, unrelated studies on various topics

This is a more opportunistic, less planned approach to building a research portfolio


Program of Research

Research trajectory is having a clear path to a long-term goal in mind

This helps to guide your choices and maintain your focus as you build your research career


Advantages of a Program of Research

Builds expertise in your chosen area of research

Increases the likelihood you will be able to make a substantial contribution to the nursing practice


Advantages of a Program of Research

Raises the quality of your studies because you will have greater expertise when concentrating on one subject area you know very well

Allows you to see new patterns and connections that lead to new discoveries


Launching a Program of Research

Choose an area of great interest to you

Be sure the topic is also important to nursing

Consider focusing on a persistent problem

Be willing to drop a line of research that turns out to be a dead end


Launching a Program of Research

Begin with a small study (this might be a master’s project or doctoral dissertation)

The goal of your first study is to gain new insights into the subject of interest

Continue with a second small or medium-size study building on the first study


Launching a Program of Research

The second study is often a pilot study used to test your ideas and procedures before launching a larger study

Begin to form a research team including both colleagues and research assistants


Launching a Program of Research

Become involved in larger, more complex studies, either as the lead investigator or as a co-investigator

Add “branches” to your research now, increasing breadth as well as depth


Launching a Program of Research

All along, present findings at conferences and publish the results in professional journals

As an established scholar and researcher you will now mentor new researchers, serve as a grant reviewer, or become a consultant