A 5 Step Guide to Writing a Problem Statement: Examples in Dissertation

A 5 Step Guide to Writing a Problem Statement: Examples in Dissertation

What is a problem statement in research paper/dissertation or thesis?

Statement of Problem in Research

Statement of Problem in Research

A problem statement in a research paper, dissertation, or thesis is a concise and clear description of an issue, gap in knowledge, or challenge that needs to be addressed through research. It articulates the problem’s significance, context, scope, and potential implications, providing a foundation for the study’s rationale and objectives.

As a researcher, you must ensure that your readers are able to understand the problem your research is addressing, as well as the root cause of the specific problem. Use a use a problem statement to justify why your study is important, and the explain the problem. As shown in the Introduction Chapter outline, the problem statement section must be linked and consistent with the information presented in the background information section. For example, in your systematic literature review or any primary study, you must have a problem statement section.

A 5-Step Guide to Writing a Problem Statement

Here’s a 5-step guide to writing a problem statement:

  1. Identify the Problem: Clearly define the specific issue or challenge that the research aims to address. Consider its significance, relevance, and impact within the context of the field or discipline.
  2. Provide Context: Provide background information to help readers understand the origins, scope, and implications of the problem. Review relevant literature, theories, and existing research to identify gaps in knowledge or understanding.
  3. State the Significance: Explain why the problem is worth addressing and its potential implications for theory, practice, or policy. Emphasize the urgency or importance of finding a solution and the potential benefits of addressing the problem. Why is addressing this problem important?
  4. Define the Scope: Clearly delineate the boundaries and scope of the problem to ensure clarity and focus. Specify what aspects of the problem will be addressed by the research and what will be excluded. Avoid making the problem too broad or too narrow. This generally entails description of the problem and should be used to describe the overall goal of the study or research project.
  5. Propose Objectives or Questions: Outline the specific goals or objectives that the research aims to achieve in addressing the problem. Formulate research questions or hypotheses that will guide the investigation and help achieve the research objectives.

By following these steps, you can craft a clear and compelling problem statement that provides a strong foundation for your research and guides the direction of your study, and describe the purpose of the problem statement. Through all these, you must explain problem that needs to be addressed.

How do you write a problem statement?

To write a problem statement, clearly identify the issue or gap in knowledge, explain its significance, and provide context. Define the problem’s scope and boundaries, outline its potential implications, and propose specific objectives or questions to address. Ensure clarity, conciseness, and alignment with research goals. Generally, problem statement helps in understanding of the problem to be addressed by the research as well as its proposed solutions. You must ensure that your problem statement is consistent with the research aim, objectives and questions. And if its is a primary quantitative research, it must be consistent with the research hypothesis.

Tips for writing an effective problem statement

As tips for writing an effective problem statement, clearly define the issue, its significance, and context. Be specific, concise, and avoid ambiguity. Ensure alignment with research objectives and relevance to the field. Use evidence to support claims and articulate the problem’s scope, boundaries, and potential implications for stakeholders. You must focus on ensuring that your study is describing how the population of interest has been affected by the problem as well as the importance of fixing the problem.

How to Write a Statement of Problem in Research Proposal

In a research proposal, state the problem clearly, emphasizing its significance and relevance. Provide context, background information, and evidence supporting the need for investigation. Define the problem’s scope, boundaries, and potential implications. Align the problem statement with research objectives and propose specific questions or hypotheses to address. problem statements don’t need to be very long, it’s more important to keep it precise. Therefore, the format is important.

Example of a good problem statement or problem statement example.

Here is an Example of Problem Statement with Background Information written by a team of experts at In this example, we have linked the problem statement to the background information section of the dissertation. This should focus on solve the problem. For similar writing approach crafted and personalized to your writing needs and instructions, please place your order here. Here is how to write one.

Problem Statement Example:

As discussed above a number of research studies have investigated on the predictors of antihypertensive medication adherence, though they are primarily quantitative in nature. Quantitative research reveals trends in a large population but does not evaluate participants’ deep emotions or feelings towards a topic as qualitative research could and thus one cannot determine to what extent the predictor’s impact on individuals at the individual level. Also, 80% of the studies are concentrated in the western region of Nigeria, which has two ethnic groups (Yoruba and Hausa). This raises the need to carry out similar research in other regions due to the difference in culture and ethnicity to determine if the same findings will be drawn.

Lastly, all the studies undertaken relied on the Morisky medication adherence scale (MMAS), which raises the concern about the acquisition of different results if other scales were used or a combination of scales. The addressing of the identified gaps is essential for drawing an effective conclusion and implementation of the necessary interventions to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. This systematic review will explore studies conducting on hypertensive medication adherence in Nigeria, which have recruited different groups of people, using different methods of assessing adherence, with patients using different medications. The findings will be used to inform future research as well as interventions to address hypertension medication adherence.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when writing a problem statement in research paper?

Common mistakes to avoid when writing a problem statement in a research paper include:

  1. Lack of Clarity: Failing to clearly define the problem or its significance can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. Problem statement is a short version of the specific problem that the study is trying to address.
  2. Overgeneralization: Making broad statements without specifying the scope or boundaries of the problem can weaken the statement’s impact.
  3. Ambiguity: Using vague or ambiguous language can obscure the problem’s definition and hinder understanding. Use problem statements section to make the reader understand what your research is all about.
  4. Lack of Justification: Failing to provide sufficient evidence or rationale for why the problem is worth addressing can weaken its relevance.
  5. Unrealistic Claims: Making exaggerated or unrealistic claims about the problem’s severity or implications can undermine credibility.
  6. Ignoring Stakeholders: Neglecting to consider the perspectives and needs of relevant stakeholders can result in overlooking key aspects of the problem.
  7. Neglecting Context: Failing to provide adequate background information or context for the problem can hinder understanding and relevance.
  8. Lack of Specificity: Being too broad or too narrow in defining the problem can make it difficult to formulate focused research objectives and hypotheses.
  9. Failure to Align with Research Objectives: The problem statement should align closely with the overall goals and objectives of the research, ensuring coherence and relevance.
  10. Inadequate Revision: Neglecting to revise and refine the problem statement based on feedback and further reflection can result in a weak or ineffective statement.

Frequently Asked Questions about Problem Statement in Research

What is a Problem Statement

A problem statement is a concise description of an issue that needs to be addressed. It defines the context, significance, and scope of the problem that the research aims to solve.

How to Write a Problem Statement

To write a problem statement, follow these steps:

  • Identify the problem succinctly.
  • Explain the impact of the problem.
  • Provide context and background information.
  • State the desired outcome or solution.
  • Ensure the problem statement is clear and specific.

Why is a Problem Statement Important?

An effective problem statement is essential for any research or dissertation as it sets the direction and scope of the study. A good problem statement helps in clearly understanding the issue at hand and proposing viable solutions.

Examples of Problem Statements in Dissertations

Problem statement examples in dissertations often focus on a specific research problem or question that needs to be addressed. Here is an example:

“The lack of access to quality education in rural areas is impacting the academic performance of students, leading to a persistent achievement gap.”

Characteristics of a Strong Problem Statement

A good problem statement should be:

  • Concise and specific.
  • Focused on the root cause of the issue.
  • Supported by evidence or data.
  • Relevant to the field of study.
  • Able to guide the research process.

The Importance of Understanding the Problem

Before writing problem statements, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the problem at hand. This involves identifying the affected stakeholders, analyzing the problem impacts, and considering potential solutions that can address the problem.

Dr. Robertson Prime, Research Fellow
Dr. Robertson Prime, Research Fellow