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This approach also provides some practical knowledge which may help in the process of designing and conducting your study.
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.
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.
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.The problem that you choose to explore must be important to you, but it must also be viewed as important by your readers and to a the larger academic and/or social community that could be impacted by the results of your study. Supports Multiple Perspectives The problem must be phrased in a way that avoids dichotomies and instead supports the generation and exploration of multiple perspectives. A general rule of thumb in the social sciences is that a good research problem is one that would generate a variety of viewpoints from a composite audience made up of reasonable people. Researchability This isn't a real word but it represents an important aspect of creating a good research statement. 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.Explicitly listing your research questions at the end of your introduction can help in designing a clear roadmap of what you plan to address in your study, whereas, implicitly integrating them into the text of the introduction allows you to create a more compelling narrative around the key issues under investigation. The number of questions you attempt to address should be based on the complexity of the problem you are investigating and what areas of inquiry you find most critical to study. Practical considerations, such as, the length of the paper you are writing or the availability of resources to analyze the issue can also factor in how many questions to ask. The identification of a problem to study can be challenging, not because there's a lack of issues that could be investigated, but due to the challenge of formulating an academically relevant and researchable problem which is unique and does not simply duplicate the work of others.This can be an intellectually stimulating exercise.