In general, however, there should be no more than four research questions underpinning a single research problem. Questions of how and why concerning a research problem often require more analysis than questions about who, what, where, and when. "Framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for Novice Researchers on the Development of a Research-Worthy Problem." Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (2008); How to Write a Research Question. George Mason University; Invention: Developing a Thesis Statement. Hunter College; Problem Statements Power Point Presentation.
In general, however, there should be no more than four research questions underpinning a single research problem.
The statement need not be lengthy, but a good research problem should incorporate the following features:1.
Compelling Topic The problem chosen should be one that motivates you to address it but simple curiosity is not a good enough reason to pursue a research study because this does not indicate significance.
You should still ask yourself these latter questions, however.
Thinking introspectively about the who, what, where, and when of a research problem can help ensure that you have thoroughly considered all aspects of the problem under investigation and help define the scope of the study in relation to the problem. Do not state that the research problem as simply the absence of the thing you are suggesting.
Relevant Literature The selection of a research problem can be derived from a thorough review of pertinent research associated with your overall area of interest.
This may reveal where gaps exist in understanding a topic or where an issue has been understudied.Research may be conducted to: 1) fill such gaps in knowledge; 2) evaluate if the methodologies employed in prior studies can be adapted to solve other problems; or, 3) determine if a similar study could be conducted in a different subject area or applied in a different context or to different study sample [i.e., different setting or different group of people].Also, authors frequently conclude their studies by noting implications for further research; read the conclusion of pertinent studies because statements about further research can be a valuable source for identifying new problems to investigate.This approach also provides some practical knowledge which may help in the process of designing and conducting your study.Personal Experience Don't undervalue your everyday experiences or encounters as worthwhile problems for investigation.Think critically about your own experiences and/or frustrations with an issue facing society, your community, your neighborhood, your family, or your personal life.This can be derived, for example, from deliberate observations of certain relationships for which there is no clear explanation or witnessing an event that appears harmful to a person or group or that is out of the ordinary.In the social sciences, the research problem establishes the means by which you must answer the "So What? This question refers to a research problem surviving the relevancy test [the quality of a measurement procedure that provides repeatability and accuracy]. " question requires a commitment on your part to not only show that you have reviewed the literature, but that you have thoroughly considered its significance and its implications applied to obtaining new knowledge or understanding. Interdisciplinary Perspectives Identifying a problem that forms the basis for a research study can come from academic movements and scholarship originating in disciplines outside of your primary area of study. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (2008); Thesis and Purpose Statements. From a theory, the researcher can formulate a research problem or hypothesis stating the expected findings in certain empirical situations.Interviewing Practitioners The identification of research problems about particular topics can arise from formal interviews or informal discussions with practitioners who provide insight into new directions for future research and how to make research findings more relevant to practice.Discussions with experts in the field, such as, teachers, social workers, health care providers, lawyers, business leaders, etc., offers the chance to identify practical, “real world” problems that may be understudied or ignored within academic circles.