A background question addresses a knowledge gap. It is asked by those who are relatively inexperienced with a topic or when they encounter a problem for the first time (Booth, 2006). It may be asking basic information about a topic of interest.
"What is neuropathic pain in patients with diabetes?"
"How does acetominophen work in the body?"
"What is capsacin?"
A foreground question addresses clinical decision-making. The clinician asks a foreground question when there are two or more competing options and must make a clinical decision. The level of prior knowledge with the topic must be greater to be able to pose this type of question. (Booth, 2006)
It asks for specific knowledge to inform clinical decisions or actions, and must take into consideration the patient and the desired clinical outcome. (Weinfeld & Finkelstein, 2005)
"Will acetaminophen or capsacin cream control neuropathic pain in a patient with diabetes?"
You will use "PICO" (see below) to help you create an answerable clinical question that will inform your search.
A qualitative question is asking why and how. It is looking for meaning and perspectives of the population of interest. See the definition of Qualitative Research to find out more about qualitative questions.
How do patients having neuropathic pain experience the pain management experience from attending pain management clinics?
Why do families choose palliative care for their dying relative?