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Wednesday, November 29, 2023


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You have probably asked yourself many times: how do I start the problem statement? or how to make a statement of the problem? Do not worry, here we will give you a series of practical examples and tips so that you can write it quickly and concretely.

In general, what you should bring is:

  • Put the problem in context  (what do we already know?)
  • Describe the precise question of the investigation (what do we need to know?)
  • Show the relevance of the problem (why do we need to know?)
  • Establish the objectives of the investigation (what will we do to find out?)

When should you write a problem statement?

In companies and other organizations, writing a statement is an important step in improvement projects. A clearly defined and well understood problem is crucial to finding and implementing effective solutions. In this case, the problem statement is usually a separate document.

In academic research, writing problem statement can help you contextualize and understand the importance of the research problem . In addition to the fact that it can have several paragraphs and serve as the basis for your research proposal.

The problem statement will look different depending on whether it is a real world practical problem or a theoretical scientific problem. But all problem statements follow a similar process.

Step 1: Contextualize the problem

The problem statement should frame your research problem in its particular context and provide some background on what is already known about it.

Practical Research Problems

For practical research, focus on the specific details of the situation:

  • Where and when does the problem arise?
  • Who does the problem affect?
  • What attempts have been made to resolve the problem?

Example of practical research problem

Voter turnout in Region X has been steadily declining over the past ten years, in contrast to other areas of the country. According to surveys conducted by the Y organization, participation is lowest among those under 25 and those with low incomes. 

There have been some effective attempts to engage these groups in other regions, and in the last two elections parties A and B increased their campaign efforts in region X, but these interventions have yet to have any significant effect on turnout.

theoretical research problems

For theoretical research, think about the scientific, social, geographic, and/or historical background :

  • What is known about the problem?
  • Is the problem limited to a certain time period or geographic area?
  • How has the problem been defined and debated in the academic literature?

Example of a theoretical research problem

Over the past ten years, the “gig economy” has become an increasingly important segment of the job market. Those under the age of 30 are more likely to engage in freelance, contract, or zero-hour work arrangements rather than traditional full-time jobs.

Research on the reasons for and consequences of this change has focused on objective measures of earnings, hours of work, and employment conditions, but there has been little work exploring the subjective experiences of young people about the gig economy.

Step 2: Show why it’s important

The problem statement should also address the relevance of the research: why is it important that the problem be solved?

This does not mean that you have to do something innovative or change the world. It is more important that the problem is researchable, feasible, and clearly addresses a relevant problem in your field.

Practical Research Problems

Practical research is directly relevant to a specific problem affecting an organization, institution, social group or society in general. To clarify why your research problem is important, you can ask yourself:

  • What will happen if the problem is not resolved?
  • Who will feel the consequences?
  • Does the problem have broader relevance (for example, are similar problems found in other contexts)?

Example of practical research problem

Low voter turnout has been shown to have negative associations with social cohesion and civic engagement, and is becoming an area of ​​growing concern in many European democracies. 

When specific groups of citizens lack political representation, they are likely to be further excluded over time, leading to an erosion of trust in democratic institutions. 

Addressing this problem will have practical benefits for the X region and will contribute to the understanding of this widespread phenomenon.

theoretical research problems

Sometimes theoretical issues have clear practical consequences, but sometimes their relevance is less immediately obvious. To identify why the problem is important, ask:

  • How will solving the problem advance understanding of the topic?
  • What benefits will it have for future research?
  • Does the problem have direct or indirect consequences for society?

Example of a theoretical research problem

In the gig economy literature, these new forms of employment are sometimes characterized as a flexible active option and sometimes as an exploitative last resort. 

To gain a fuller understanding of why youth engage in the gig economy, in-depth qualitative research is required. 

Focusing on workers’ experiences can help develop stronger theories of flexibility and precariousness in contemporary employment, as well as potentially inform future policy goals.

Step 3: Establish your goals and objectives

Finally, the problem statement should frame how you intend to approach the problem. Your goal should not be to find a conclusive solution, but rather to look for the reasons behind the problem and propose more effective approaches to address or understand it.

The objective is the overall purpose of your research. It is usually written in the infinitive form:

  • The objective of this study is  to determine  …
  • This project aims  to explore  …
  • My goal is  to investigate  …

Goals are the concrete steps you will take to achieve the goal:

  • Qualitative methods will be used to  identify  …
  • I will use surveys to  collect  …
  • Through statistical analysis, the research  will measure  …

Example 1 of theoretical research objectives.

The goal of this research is to investigate effective turnout strategies to increase voter turnout in region X.

You will identify the most significant factors in non-voting through surveys and interviews, and you will conduct experiments to measure the effectiveness of different strategies.

Example 2 of theoretical research objectives.

This project aims to better understand the experiences of young people in the gig economy. Qualitative methods will be used to gain deep insight into the motivations and perceptions of those under 30 who are engaged in freelance and zero-hour jobs in various industries.

These data will be contextualized with a review of recent literature on the gig economy and statistical analysis of demographic changes in the workforce.

Author Bio

My name is Emma Perez, and I have a keen interest in the field of writing. I have written a couple of articles on various gemstones, fashion and would love to express my opinion on more such stones. Hope it has maximized your knowledge of gemstone jewelry and satisfied your quest to buy turquoise jewelry from an authentic place. We believe in quality and offer the same in our information and products.

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