Dissertation Problem Statement Guide

It is customary to find a research problem before writing the problem statement. The research problem comes from finding a gap in the literature. What constitutes a research problem has not received studies, and when you have a clear reason to study it. There are several ways that one can get a research problem. There are also several sites that offer writing help with multiple examples of dissertations.

Literature Review

A literature review is the most direct and easiest way to discover research problems. Therefore, a candidate needs to conduct a literature review as part of the dissertation proposal. The candidate must write notes as he or she reads the literature. The section dubbed recommendations for research can explicitly state the gaps in the study that one can fill.

Personal experience

Personal experience is an excellent way to discover research problems. The first thing is to get familiar with the literature to ensure no one has researched the problem.

Have a candid discussion with experts

Seeking the experts’ indulges is an excellent way to discover research problems and leads to more exciting challenges. Since experts have work experience in the field, they possess breadth and depth of knowledge.

Discuss with colleagues

Synergy applies here if you can have a candid discussion with your colleagues. Two people who have similar levels of expertise and knowledge in a subject, when they join their heads together, can yield exciting ideas that individual experts cannot produce.

Research agendas

A group of faculty members or an advisory may be working on progressive research agendas. Whereas the scope may get limited, you can gain by contributing to significant research endeavors.

Contradictory evidence

You can ask your advisors or comb through the literature and focus on contradicting evidence. If other evidence has contracting results, then you can consider exploring the area further.

Characteristics of a good research problem

  • You get interested in the problem: This point sounds obvious, but several doctoral candidates have found themselves in the middle of research projects for which they have little or no interest at all.
  • Manageable scope of the problem: Several students submit research problem statements beyond the scope of want that can get researched in a single dissertation project.
  • Have resources and time to investigate the research problem: This implies that you have the time and resources to handle the research problem within a prescribed timeline.
  • The research problems have practical or theoretical importance: The world is awash with many problems that do not require scientific injury. 
  • Ethical considerations of the problem: Scientific research has a trail of unethical conduct. It ranges from harmful psychological studies to the scientific inquiries of Nazis and even bad experiments on living animals.

Writing a dissertation problem statement

Once you have earmarked a research problem, you can plan how to address the specific area of study by writing the dissertation problem statement.

Components of dissertation problem statement

Try to find out:

  • The nature of the problem
  • What matters is the problem
  • If it addresses a gap in the literature review

Consider the following points:

  • Provide some background information: Some sentences can help your readers comprehend the research problem’s context.
  • State general research problem. It should be one sentence.
  • Build relevancy: Here, cite the research that supports the support the general problem.
  • Have a specific research problem: It should have the same words as the title and purpose statement.
  • Transition and conclusion: Include few sentences on the effects of the problem in society. 

Guidelines for writing problem statement

  • Remember to be concise: The wording needs to be easy and clear to follow and avoid complexity. 
  • Use citations: Ensure that you back them up with adequate and relevant sources for all your claims. A good number of studies are the continuation of previous work of researchers.
  • Focus on one problem: Avoid rolling many problems into your research problem statement. Your problem statement should not be too broad.
  • Do not provide ready solutions: Consider exploring possible avenues to the solutions that others can test empirically with other research data.
  • Remain in the alignment: The research problem statement must align with the title, gap from the literature review, research statement, and research questions.

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