Research Problem: What Does It Imply?


It’s a clearly defined statement concerning the specific area of your choice, a difficulty that should be eliminated, a condition that needs improvement, an alarming problem that exists in practice or theory. It may be an assumption or assertion that you’d like to challenge. Sometimes it has a form of a question. A research problem is supposed to indicate a need for a thorough investigation, not to tell how something should be done. It shouldn’t be a value question or a research proposal. 

The task of the research problem is to:

  • Bring up the significance of the subject which is being studied. It should orient the reader to the importance of the study and hypotheses.
  • Present the problem in a specific context, which clarifies the parameters of the subject.
  • Indicate what is needed for conducting a study and provide a frame for results reporting.

Identifying The Research Problem

The next important step after choosing a theme for your paper is to state it as a specific research problem that points out the issue you’d like to analyze. Formulating the problem might be complicated and confusing for any student. Spending plenty of time exploring, reasoning, and examining various materials might be inevitable in the process of defining the research question. In order to resolve an issue, you must be well familiar with it.

You may face the problem that some topics are too wide to be researchable. To give an example: if you’d like to research child poverty, you may come to the realization that this problem doesn’t provide researchable questions. Social issues are extremely broad and usually take considerable time and resources, which means that your work might lack the required focus. Let’s assume that your question is, “What is the impact of social media on users?” How can you turn it into a precise research problem? First of all, try specifying the question. What type of social media are we talking about? Specify the users’ age. What kind of effect do you have in mind? Is it psychological or social? Let’s formulate the question: “What impact does regular use of Instagram have on the social behavior of high school students?” This question contains clearly defined concepts. Moreover, it can be easily researched using qualitative and quantitative methods.

We may stumble upon seemingly meaningful and clear research questions. The fact is that transforming them into a clearly defined research problem is not always easy and may take a lot of thinking. When you examine the problem thoroughly, you immediately realize how complex the process of formulation really is.

Research Problem Statement

A proper statement of the research problem is crucial for a successful paper. A number of researchable issues can be generated from a single subject since many various matters are likely to arise from a broad topic. Keep in mind that only one specific issue should be pursued in your study. If your chosen study area is unemployment, you should dissect it into subareas, for example, unemployment and crime, unemployment and economic growth, unemployment and depression, and so on. You may choose to study how unemployment affects the criminal rate in a specific area or how it leads to depression and mental health problems. Select the issue that truly interests you and draws your attention, as this may be the most important determinant of your project. If you lose interest in the topic, your research won’t produce satisfying results.

Research Problem Characteristics

Make sure that your research problem meets these criteria:

  • It reflects on significant problems, difficulties or needs;
  • It is based on accurate evidence (it is not a hypothesis);
  • It is relevant and manageable;
  • Is suggests a conclusive and significant hypothesis (without pointless answers).

Formulate your research question

By formulating the research problem adequately, you make the object of your study understandable not just for your, but target readers as well. Pay particular attention to providing relevant data while addressing the problem. A proper problem statement will help you stay on course with research and assess it. What are the effective ways to define a meaningful research problem? Consider this simple approach:

  • Specify the objectives of your research;
  • Explore its nature;
  • Review the context or conditions;
  • Estimate the potential effects of different approaches;
  • Determine variable relationships.

Specifying the research objectives

In order to conduct effective research, you should make a clear statement and define manageable objectives. A specific statement will also make it easier for professors to evaluate your project. 

You can divide objectives into two groups: main objectives and sub-objectives. The main objective is the primary purpose of your research. It presents the associations and relationships which you are going to explore. Sub-objectives introduce the specific contexts which will be investigated in the course of the study.

Reviewing the context

Working hard and examining numerous environmental variables is crucial for successful research. It will help you determine if the essential findings will provide sufficient data and evidence to be worth studying. Detect the specific environmental variables which may influence your research and start defining efficient techniques to control them.

Exploring the nature of your research problem

Research problems may be quite simple or extremely complex. The whole project depends on the relationships between variables. Some of them may be relevant, while others are minor and not important for your research.

Knowing the nature of your research problem makes it possible to develop constructive solutions. Consider focus groups and other significant information so as to understand all dimensions.

Determining variable relationships

Studies mostly focus on establishing a specific sequence of repeating behaviors. What does your research imply? In order to complete the entire process, you should:

  • Define the variables which have an impact on potential solutions to the research problem;
  • Decide on the extent to which you can use them in your project;
  • Identify functional relationships between the variables;
  • Select the most crucial variables for answering your research question.

While formulating the problem, it’s important to examine as many potential methods and variable relationships as possible.

Tips to help you formulate your research problem

You should define it in the early stage of your study. Previous research and experiments, as well as studies and literature reviews, may present some vague areas of interest. Potential for exploring and interesting results must be your focus. Consider reviewing some previous experiments. Try to dispute its results or methods, retest the hypothesis.

What about revising?

Feedback from professors, other students, or friends may be helpful, though a final decision should be up to you. Decide which advice is useful and pay attention to the following:

  • If many readers agree that your research problem is too wide;
  • If someone suggests that there’s a misunderstanding of the subject;
  • If there are specifics details concerning your misunderstanding; 
  • If readers advise you to narrow your subject down or find a way to focus it;
  • If your work receives comments regarding its clarity, terminology, and formulation.

How to know if you have a good research problem?

A simple self-test will help you understand if your research problem is adequate. Make sure that:

  • There are several potential answers to your research question;
  • Your research problem is testable and open-ended;
  • It can be broken into solvable parts;
  • It’s clear and specific;
  • There are no vague terms which would require defining them;
  • There are required evidence to address it;
  • It’s adequate to the length of your paper;
  • Premises are explicit; 
  • There’s an explanation of why your solutions are significant.

How does a formal version look?

Derive your research problem from the topic, which seems attractive after general reading or a discussion. Some instructors prefer general themes. To define a meaningful research problem and impress them, you should make it:

  • Relevant;
  • Fascinating;
  • Researchable;
  • Specific and focused.

Try to determine the possible outcome of your study. Can you assess the purpose of your study accurately? Will it bring noteworthy results?

Remember that your question should stay within limits determined by your teacher and have enough bearing on a selected topic. In order to be motivated and productive, you should find a subject that arouses your genuine interest. Don’t look for something broad or indefinite. If your research problem is too vague, you can focus on specific aspects, situations, events, or periods of time. Be aware that no more than a few answers are possible. Examine available materials and get a clear insight into the issue. Consider visiting academic libraries, look for relevant materials: books, databases, journals, magazines, and other available types of sources. Finding enough applicable data might be challenging and time-consuming. Ask yourself if you have enough resources and feel enthusiastic about the whole undertaking. Get to work if you’re fully satisfied. If not, take your time, think carefully, and determine what might concern you and what should be reconsidered. It is better to change the topic if you feel unsure and disinterested.

Consider The Benefits of Hiring Professionals

The methods and tips presented in this article can be very helpful in formulating a brilliant research problem for your study. If the process is still challenging, and you feel that you lack the required skill or time, consider getting professional help online. Experienced writers are ready to provide assistance with any kind of academic tasks. Their vast knowledge, well-honed skills, and huge experience guarantee the top-quality work and, as a result, your success.

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