What causes disease?
For any "disease" or condition, you could start by considering interactions among environmental and social factors:
Poor diet, resulting from food choices, "causes" nutritional deficiency or obesity in a population
Is your topic researchable?
You may need to broaden or narrow the focus of your topic.
This may become more apparent as you search for and find information. It may prove difficult to find research on very narrow topics, or to cope with the vast literature on an un-focused, broad topic.
Below are some examples of questions or lines of inquiry.
Considering what question a research article addresses may help you determine if it is relevant to your needs:
What is a good Research Question? It is a question that:
This blog post has tips on how to write a good research question, including examples of bad, good, and great questions.
To reduce bias, it may be best to pose your question in a neutral manner. Examples:
What is the question being addressed in the study you are reading? Compare:
When you read an article, answer (briefly) the following (source):
Finding a systematic review that addresses the question you are interested in can be very helpful: take a look at the search strategy and databases used in the systematic review for tips on your search.
It may be useful to have a structure to help guide you when searching.
When you formulate a research question, consider these elements:
Note: It is possible that not all of the above elements will be appropriate for your search topic.
This exercise (docx) will take you through the process of formulating a search
PICO is another popular way to structure a search.
PICO stands for Patient or Population; Intervention; Comparison or Control; Outcome.
Embase (UCB access only) has a PICO Search option.