Perfecting Your Problem Statement: The Soul Of Your Research

Understanding your problem will transport you from where you are to where you need to or want to be. You need to write it down, particularly in a thesis work. Read on or watch the video to know why drafting this section is crucial.

Tutors India scientific experts illustrate how to clearly, concisely, and succinctly write a problem statement in your master’s dissertation. Typing that problem statement will no longer be problematic.

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Defining A Problem Statement

A problem statement (200 words) runs to a few paragraphs in length. Clearly (unambiguously) and precisely explains the problem your research project discusses, solves, or sheds light on. Essentially, a problem statement will detail the negative points of the current scenario and explain why this is important. It also serves as a great communication channel to get the support for your research project. Therefore, your research proposal is evaluated based on the problem statement.

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Crafting A Problem Statement

Here Are Some Formatting Pointers To Sketch A Problem Statement In Your Master’s Thesis Writing:

1. Answers the “so what” question

  • State why you are doing research in particular area and answer all questions.
  • By writing a draft and rewriting a couple of times—it’s an iterative process.

2. Evaluate your statement with that of your colleagues

  • See how others write it.

3. Quantify the statement

  • Or wait until you get data and then quantify it; state time frames of occurrence.
  • State the type of research you will employ in the study.

4. Focus only on one problem

  • Use facts, not bias.
  • Prioritize the actual problem. Not merely data set comparison

5. Do not state a solution in the problem statement

  • Because that will be done at a later stage.
  • Remember this: scholarly work answers more than just a yes or no.

6. “Why, what, where, when, and, who”—these 5 whys are the basis of the structure

7. Pass the OCP (originality and contributory and practicality) assessment

  • The research is authentic and novel. Never done before.
  • The research contributes to the field of study. A difference maker, practically and theoretically.
  • It can be done or can be researched.

8. Style

  • Brevity is the key; a few sentences comprising about two hundred (200) words are ample for a dissertation.
  • In some cases, the length and format vary. For example, business case studies.
  • Cite references if applicable. Check with your institution. APA style and Harvard referencing and MLA are some of the popular styles for PhD research papers.

9. Methods

10. Sample size

  • The population for the study and why you chose this population.

11. Identify lacunae

  • Type a problem statement that assesses gaps and needs in research.
  • Briefly state any previous literature on the topic.

12. In a business analysis setting, follow this structure

  • Ideal: Goals, to-be situation, or expected outcomes
  • Reality: Current scenario, as-is situation, or what’s happening now?
  • Consequences: Effects on business in terms of productivity, costs, revenue, and more.
  • Proposal: Discuss solutions, further research and suggestions.

Statement Of Problem: Example

The overall research question: Do age and long-distance running affect foot health of runners aged 35–40 years?

Considering a population (2018) of 10,000 long-distance runners aged above 35 years, the research questions the following lacunae: 1) could it be a fact that runners in the age bracket 35–45 years are susceptible to complications in the feet such as heel pain, runner’s knee, and 2) Is it true that there a decline in leg’s bone density levels as a due to age and high-impact sport? 3) Do vitamin C, fiber, and protein based foods reverse the negative effects? And finally, 4) Does running and nutrition enhance bone density despite nearing the age of 40? Furthermore, attrition in the sport is high.

Previous research states that 7 out of 10 runners drop out of the sport (Willy, 2016) due to running injuries and need for rest.

The paper investigates participants from the following states in the US: California, New York, Alabama, Texas, Florida, Alaska, Utah, and Tennessee; the research sheds light on the aforementioned injuries.

Hence, consider these hypotheses:

  1. Age and high-impact sport have a bearing on feet injuries.
  2. Bone density declines as we age, particularly in the case of runners.
  3. Nutrition is pivotal to reverse the negative impact of this sport.
  4. Arch support or prosthetics are imperative to diminish impact of running on hard surfaces.

Researcher will use T-test, ANOVA, and weighted average to analyze data and draw inferences and test hypothesis.

The evaluation committee members will review your solution to the problem and then evaluate your work.

To conclude, review, draft and redraft the statement of problem till you get it right. That’s how you sharpen it!

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Links, References, Related Posts

– Writing the Problem Statement: The Key to Your Dissertation

– The Interrelation Between The Research Gap and Problem Statement Of Your Master’s Dissertation: Can a Problem Statement Survive Without Identifying The Research Gap?

– Writing The Thesis Statement: A Vital Part Of Your Doctoral Dissertation

– How To Write a Dissertation in a Day

– How To Complete Your Academic Paper By Top European Academic Experts

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