How to Write a Problem Statement for Your Dissertation?

After successfully specifying your project’s research problem, penning a problem statement pursues. Two crucial properties of an efficient problem statement are its conciseness and tangibility.

27.09.2022

How to Write a Problem Statement for Your Dissertation?

Penning a problem statement

After successfully specifying your project’s research problem, penning a problem statement pursues. Two crucial properties of an efficient problem statement are its conciseness and tangibility. Therefore, a productive problem statement should

a) lay the problem in its appropriate milieu, covering what you have already known

b) specifically define the issue to be covered, stating what you need to learn

c) depict the applicability of the problem, disclosing why you must learn about it

d) ultimately delineate the research objective, suggesting what you will or hope to discover.

What is the right time for writing a problem statement?

Many situations exist to render the writing of research problem indispensable. Penning a problem statement is critical in improvement projects for businesses and other organizations. If you wish to find and apply practical solutions, you should have a plainly-defined and easily comprehendible problem statement. Suppose it is the case. Then, the problem statement will be a separate document.

In academic research, thanks to a problem statement, you can contextualize and understand the vitality of your research problem. A problem statement can include many paragraphs and functions as the foundation for your research proposal. In contrast, it can merely have a couple of sentences in the introduction of your dissertation, thesis, or article. It would be best to remember that the problem statement primarily depends on whether you handle a practical, real-world problem or address a theoretical issue. Irrespective of the case, all problem statements undergo ingeniously similar processes. 

Stage 1: The problem contextualization

Ensure that you have framed your research problem in its given context and presented what has already been covered about that issue.

a. Down-to-earth research problems

Suppose you conduct practical research. In that case, you must concentrate on the tangible details of the situation addressing the following issues. You must state where and when the problem has originated. You must also note who the problem affects the most. On top of that, you must list the attempts to solve the issue. The pursuing sample problem might help you.

Sample problem

Students’ participation in clubs has dramatically declined over the past five years. The surveys have shown that this is especially true for engineering students. Even though the university administration has provided incentives to increase student involvement, the impact is not imminent.

b. Hypothetical research problems

Hypothetical research covers the scientific, social, geographical, or historical background. Therefore, it should address what has already been known about the problem, state whether the problem is specific or affects a larger geographical region, and how the literature has described and discussed the issue. The pursuing sample is helpful.

Sample problem

The “online economy” has boosted unprecedented levels in the past three years. It has raised e-commerce’s share of global retail trade from 14% in 2019 to approximately 17% in 2020. Because lockdowns befitted the new trend, businesses and consumers had to go digital, providing and purchasing more goods and services online. UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant stated: “Businesses and consumers that were able to ‘go digital’ have helped mitigate the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.’’

Stage 2: Depict why it is crucial

The problem statement is expected to cover the weight of the research and explain why the problem must be addressed. It does not necessarily suggest that you must conduct something groundbreaking or world-changing. Exceedingly critical illustrates that the problem is addressable and viable and clearly discusses a pertinent issue in your field.

Stage 3: Establish your objectives

Ultimately, the problem statement should formulate how you target addressing the problem. Your goal should be beyond finding a definitive solution. Instead, it should explore the reasons behind the problem and suggest more fundamental approaches to confronting or comprehending it.

The research aim should be inclusive and cover the entire research. More frequently, the literature uses the infinitive form. Therefore, you can find expressions such as “the objective of this study is to determine such and such; this research aims to investigate the following, and finally, we aim to explore…”

The research objectives include the tangible stages you follow to achieve the goal. They can have statements like “we will employ quantitative methods to identify parameters; we will utilize surveys to collect the data, and we will use ‘x’ statistical software for the statistical analysis.”

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Problem statement for dissertations and theses

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