How to Write a Problem Statement In a Research Paper

In just about every sphere of life, problems, big and small, can arise at any time. The purpose of problem statements is to identify these and get them resolved. In the world of business, they’re used to improve projects and potentially increase profitability. In academia, people write such statements to narrow their focus and help them understand the significance of their research project.

On this page, we’ll discuss these in more detail and explain the process of writing a problem statement. Carry on reading to learn more and see how this particular piece of writing can benefit a research essay.

Table of contents

What Is A Problem Statement?

The definition of a problem statement is this: a summary of the research problem you’re addressing in your academic writing. It describes whatever your academic research is all about and explains why you’re writing about the topic. In essence, it says that there’s a particular research problem, and you’re trying to propose a solution or at least encourage others to come up with one. It’s not to be confused with a thesis statement, which is a summary of your text as a whole.

It’s important that you know how to write a problem statement because it’s a key part of your document. Having a convincing statement can make readers feel more engaged with what you’ve written. If they’re encouraged to read your research more carefully and concentrate more, they’re likely to respond to it better.

There are lots of interesting topics to research for academic essays. They can be grouped into two categories: theoretical and practical. A theoretical piece of writing is all about gathering knowledge about a particular topic, examining debates on it and improving understanding of it. On the other hand, a practical research essay seeks to find and implement solutions to real-world problems, bringing about some kind of social change.

3 Main Parts of the Problem Statement

You should come up with a structured research paper outline before you start writing. Being organised helps you write better and put together your research more coherently. This, in turn, makes it easier for people to read and engage with your writing.

Problem Statement Guiding Questions

There are three main parts to writing a research problem statement. These are explained in more detail below:

Summarising the Research Problem

For practical pieces of writing, the problem statement should be a detailed summary of the concern along with its causes and effects. It also helps to mention any previous attempts at solving the problem and how yours differs. Having facts and figures makes your problem statement more effective

If your subject matter is theoretical, you should think about the social aspects of your topic and how it’s been addressed in the past. You should also look at current debates on it and how the topic fits into today’s world

Explaining its Importance

In practical essays, the problem statement should stress the importance of the concern and why it needs to be addressed. It should highlight the negative effects that the problem has caused, is causing and may continue to cause if not solved

For a theoretical one, the problem statement is meant to justify the need for the research. It should prove to the reader that the topic is worthwhile and that your research can be beneficial to those interested in the topic

Showing What You’re Going to Do

If it’s a practical essay, the third part should be about your intentions. You should explain what your objectives are and how you’re going to achieve them. These should come with set targets and goals. You may not come up with a definitive answer to the research problem, but you’re making a contribution at least

In a theoretical one, the last part should be a summary of the steps you’re taking in your research. It should explain what you want to add to the topic and how you’re going to go about doing so

If you visit a site that writes papers for you, some of the writers may approach problem statements in different ways. There’s no set structure; you won’t get penalised if you deviate from the one above. However, as long as the statement is organised and clear, it should pass as a valuable part of your research document.

How to Write a Statement of the Problem in 5 Steps

Some students hire research paper writers to produce first-draft essays for them. You should always hand in written texts that are yours only. However, having others produce essays can help you think about how you’re going to write your final copy.

  • 1️⃣ Identify the Problem. Ask yourself what the problem is. What’s the key fault or concern that’s driven you to undertake your research?
  • 2️⃣ Assess its Effects. For this part, consider the effects the problem is having. If your subject matter’s practical, think about how these may change or even worsen if the problem doesn’t get resolved. If it’s theoretical, concentrate your thoughts on how your research may improve another person’s understanding of the topic
  • 3️⃣ Determine Your Desired Outcome. Come up with a realistic scenario that you want your research to produce. For practical essays, you should have a tangible fix to a real-world concern in mind. If it’s a theoretical essay, your desired outcome could be more awareness of or debates about the topic
  • 4️⃣ List the Benefits of Your Desired Outcome. For your research to be worthwhile, your proposal should solve the central problem and have positive, long-lasting effects. Think about how your desired outcome may affect not just the problem, but other areas too
  • 5️⃣ Outline What You Intend to Do. This part should be a summary of the steps you’re going to take to hopefully solve the problem

Example of a Problem Statement in Research

Now that we’ve looked at the steps of writing a problem statement, we’ll show you two examples.

This first one is a statement for a practical essay on getting more women into engineering jobs:

Statistics show that just 16.5% of engineers in the UK are female. This deters some women from applying to jobs in an industry they may well prosper in. Ideally, the female sex would have greater representation in engineering. If this were the case, women would have more choices of careers. The intention of this research essay is to highlight the reasons why so few engineers are female and propose methods to get more young girls interested in the subject

 

This second example is for a theoretical piece of writing:

The representation of children in the plays of Shakespeare is an under-researched topic. The lack of focus on this area results in the playwright’s treatment of minors being largely ignored. It would be encouraging to see more articles, essays and even books written about child characters in Shakespearean players. Having more research into this area could improve our understanding of children in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. This essay intends to discuss the role and contribution of children in Shakespearean players to encourage further debate about them.

 

Both of the examples above highlight the research problem, talk about its effects, and explain what the overall aim of the work is. They’re succinct and concise. Each of them summarises the aim of the research and discusses it in enough detail for the reader to understand. Problem statements can be short, like these, or even shorter. Sometimes, they’re up to a page long.

It’s important to point out that the problem statement shouldn’t include the findings of the research. It should explain what the intention is, of course, but the results should be kept until the end of the text. After the statement, the rest of the text should be an in-depth discussion of the topic, which should build up to the results.

If you’re buying research papers online to help with your writing process, read through the problem statements and see how they compare. This can help you come up with a direct and informative problem statement of your own.

Conclusion

Having a problem statement in your research is important because it identifies the reason you’re producing the essay. The best problem statements convince the reader that the issue exists and that the course of action you’re proposing could be effective at solving it. Writing them is straightforward, so long as you’re knowledgeable about your topic and believe in what you’re writing. Be sure to include one in every academic document, so your research is taken more seriously.

FAQs About Problem Statements In Research Papers

How long should a problem statement be?

It’s generally accepted that a problem statement should be roughly a page in length or less. For some papers, it can be just one or two sentences in length. For more in-depth pieces of writing, make the problem statement longer.

What does a problem statement look like?

The problem statement is simply some text outlining the reason for your research. It should be part of the introduction to your writing. It should identify the problem and let the reader know your intentions for solving it.

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