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Dietetic Internship Program

This guide is for students enrolled in the Dietetic Internship Program.

Steps to Developing a Research Project: Resources to Help

Designing a research project is a careful process that involves many steps. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Nutrition Research Network offer many resources to help members through each stage of the process, from development of the research question through reporting and disseminating results. The Academy and other organizations offer resources (including webinars and tutorials) to help with each of these steps.

Step 1: Develop the Research Question
The first step in designing a research project is to define the general problem by reviewing existing literature and specifying the research objectives. This is also a good time to start looking for funding sources.

Step 2: Outline the Methodology
In this stage, researchers define the target population and determine where, when and how the data will be collected. They select or create data collection tools and develop a plan for analyzing the data. They also start the process of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

Step 3: Conduct the Research
Research starts with participant recruitment and the informed consent process. It also includes project monitoring and data collection. Depending on the design of the study, this stage can take weeks, months or even years.

Step 4: Analyze the Data
This stage may include data aggregation, statistical analysis and results interpretation.

Step 5: Reporting and Dissemination of Results
This step may include abstract and/or manuscript preparation, publication selection and conference presentation.

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