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The Clinical Inquiry Process Resource Guide

The goal of this guide is to provide nurses a resource to understand and carryout the steps of performing an evidence-based practice (EBP) project.

Place on the Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram

Place on the Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram


Identifying the Problem and Developing a Clinical Question 

The clinical inquiry process always begins with identifying a problem or issue that requires attention. This process can be time-consuming and relies on evidence, (both internal and external data), as well as the expertise of others. In this section, we will present resources and ideas to help you consider the sources of problems and how to transform a broad and unclear question into a focused and precise one.

Developing the question is a crucial step, as it allows you to construct a narrative explaining why the identified issue within the clinical environment is indeed a problem. This narrative will enable you to communicate effectively with stakeholders, gather team members, establish a research project, and implement practice changes or adjustments with clarity.

Thoughfully identifying an issue and transforming it into an answerable question ensures that you can communicate your findings clearly, recruit team members, and effectively initiate research projects or implement practice changes and adjustments.

Purpose of a Clinical Question

Purpose of the Clinical Question 


A well-thought-out and carefully constructed clinical question is the cornerstone of success in any clinical inquiry. The clinical question serves multiple purposes, with its primary role being to assist individuals or groups in narrating the significance of their question and why others should take an interest and engage.

In clinical inquiry, a clinical question fulfills three main functions:

  1. Focus: A well-formulated clinical question aids in concentrating on the crucial aspects of the clinical issue or problem. It guides those posing the question to search for evidence effectively.

  2. Efficiency: As a well-crafted clinical question directs attention to the essential elements, it streamlines the search process, resulting in greater efficiency and time savings.

  3. Communication: A well-structured question plays a pivotal role in effective communication with stakeholders. It also facilitates the process of enlisting colleagues to collaborate as a team, determining optimal courses of action, and implementing potential practice changes.


Photo:  Kinner, C. (2008). Question mark sign [Photo].