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What is the Problem Statement and How Should it be Framed?

All scientific articles aim to add new ideas to the literature, revise known observations, or find new solutions to a problem.

As a general principle, a research proposal or research paper should clearly describe the research topic, thus allowing the reader to understand the context of the research, its relevance, the suitability of the methods used, and the validity of the results.

It is essential to define and present the problem that has inspired your research in an understandable, easily readable, and, above all, relevant way.

Often colleagues or potential sponsors start by reading the problem statement. Since your investigation will focus on the problem statement, knowing how to construct it is advantageous.

How is one built? It is important to understand the qualities of a good problem statement, as well as its elements and framework.

This is a guide to help you write a comprehensive problem statement for your research paper or proposal.

What is the problem statement in a research paper?

In the problem statement, you specify the problem that your research attempts to solve. Their study will use reliable results to fill the existing knowledge gap.

An effective problem statement may be as short as a few sentences or may extend to several paragraphs, but it should clearly state the reason for the study.

You should not overextend your problem statement. It should focus on a specific issue and contribute to the body of knowledge on the subject for further study.

In the case of a research proposal, you can write the problem statement as a separate part at the beginning, however, you will need to follow the instructions in the proposal if the proposal is formatted differently.

In the case of a research paper manuscript that is to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, the introduction will contain primarily the problem statement, along with background/contextual information.

Relevance of the problem statement

Defining a problem before starting a research project will allow you to clearly identify the objectives of the research, as well as give an idea of ​​its scope. Describe the current problem, the solution you propose, and the potential impact of the solution.

Both researchers and readers benefit from a well-written problem statement. Researchers use this statement to define the scope and outline of their project.

Creating a problem statement is a useful tool for researchers who need funding for their research. Help funders understand why you are a good candidate for funding.

A good problem statement should include the following elements

The reader learns what you plan to do to solve the problem and the reasoning behind it. Therefore, a good problem statement should include the following elements:

1. What is the research question?

The research problem that you propose is the engine of your study. In light of the results of your study, determine the gap that needs to be filled. In other words, you must state your research question clearly. You can think about these questions:

  • Does the problem statement make sense?

  • Do you know the underlying issue in this case?

  • How would a possible solution to the study problem change?

2. Controversies and Implications

In the next section of the problem statement, you should describe the current state of the investigation. There are three sections in this part: identify the problem, explain why it exists, and identify who is affected by the problem.

You should then explain what affects the issue has in the next section of the statement. Since this section describes how the problem affects the people affected by it, the severity of the problem is quantified.

3. Consideration of the importance of the study

In this section, you should explain why the research is valuable and why it is necessary. Discuss the relevance and impact of your study in this area. Be sure to highlight how your work contributes to the literature, as well as how it will provide value to others.

How to write an effective problem statement

1. Identify the problem

First of all, you have to identify the problem before starting to write the problem statement. Identifying the problem is the most important and crucial step.

2. Describe your optimal situation in your statement

As a next step, explain what the perfect environment would include in the absence of your problem. As part of your research to improve the process, you will need to describe what you hope your research will accomplish.

3. Outline of current gaps

The problem statement should include a section devoted to the real world. Here you should clearly explain the current situation. In this section, describe how, when, and where you identified the problem, as well as its cause and why it is a problem.

4. Describe the effects and the objective of the problem

Write a section on the impact of your problem statement. Here the problem is quantified and explained.

The information provided in this section can be used to identify specific numbers, such as the duration of a disease or the impact on a specific segment of the population. Valid data must be included here to support your claims.

As you describe the effects, you'll also need to detail your exact goals, allowing all aspects of your paper to come together so that the reader can make an informed decision about whether to accept your reasoning and whether they are convinced by your approach.

5. Outline a plan to solve the problem

A concluding section should conclude your statement. The purpose of this section is to identify how the research will advance toward the achievement of its objectives and the achievement of its goals.

Explain the possible solution, as well as its benefits to the world. The problem statement is one of the most crucial parts of a research proposal because it will help funders understand the initiative.

An example of a problem statement

This is an example of a Problem Statement on how the use of an XYZ material mask during Covid can affect a person's health.

A first step would be to outline the effect of Covid on the immune system and how it affects health.

Suppose you are wearing a mask and that the environment in which it is located is ideal for the user. Next, you must identify the problems associated with Covid and not wearing a mask, as well as the difficulties associated with it. In this case, you can see the common Covid problems that arise when a mask is not worn.

As you progress through this stage, you will be able to identify a topic and expand on it in a way that is appropriate for a research project. It may be that you propose a certain type of XYZ material for the production of masks that may be the most beneficial for people in Covid protection.

Please explain how your research will be able to contribute to the knowledge base on how this material will be best for masks not only for Covid but also for other respiratory conditions, perhaps COPD. Next, you will need to describe the practical application of your research proposal. You should focus on the "why" of your research problem.


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