A research problem is a specific or clear statement about a problem or a condition that needs to improve, a difficulty to be overcome, or a difficult question found in scholarly literature, theory, or present system that shows a need for meaningful understanding and serious study. A research problem does not tell you how to achieve something, does not make a broad or wide claim, and does not offer a value question.
A research problem can also consider an interrogative sentence or phrase that asks what relationship exists between two or more variables.
The first and most significant element in the research process is to identify the source of a research problem. This article describes 7 possible sources of research problems that researchers should examine. These are issues that develop as a result of the workplace, needs assessment, and research agenda.
Practical research problems
When conducting practical research, you can discover a source of a research problem by reading reports, conducting additional research, or speaking with people who work in the relevant field or organisation. You could look for the following:
- Performance or efficiency issues.
- Processes that should make better.
- Professional’s major concerns.
- Difficulties that specific groups of individuals confront.
Theoretical research problems
If you are conducting theoretical research, you can identify a source of a research problem by examining existing research, theory, and discussions on your topic to uncover gaps in current knowledge. You could look for the following:
- A phenomenon or circumstance that has not been thoroughly investigated.
- A conflict between two or more points of view.
- A vastly complex situation or relationship.
- Answer to a difficult question.
Your daily experiences can use to generate study questions. It would be best to gain a new perspective on your personal experiences with a problem that impacts your family, personal life, or community. A personal experience-based research problem might arise from any situation and from anywhere. For example, you can create a source of a research problem out of incidents that appear unusual or from community interactions that lack obvious answers.
Interview sessions can be major sources of research problems. The method permits you to engage in formal and informal discussions with individuals who can provide important insights into the study and make findings more relevant to future research.
Consider speaking with experts on the topic you want to research; these professionals may include healthcare providers, corporate leaders, teachers, social workers, attorneys, and accountants, to name a few. Interacting with these specialists allows you to find real-world issues that academic scholars have ignored or understudied.
Theories explain how objects relate to one another; thus, theory deduction becomes a major source of a research problem. A researcher takes the deduction, arranges it in an experimental frame, and then develops a research topic and a theory that recommends certain findings based on supplied experiment findings. The study takes into account the connection to see if a theory accurately summarises the state of an affair. A systematic study follows to see whether the empirical data support or disprove the theory.
Literature of Interest
You must first evaluate research relating to your area of interest in order to develop a source of a research problem from relevant literature. This allows you to identify gaps in the topic and see how understudied your field of interest is. Data gathered from relevant literature is useful since it assists in the following:
Fill existing knowledge gaps based on specific research
- Determine whether present findings have implications for future research on the same topic.
- Check to see if a similar study can be conducted in a different location or applied in a different context.
- Determine whether the approaches employed in previous studies can be applied to solve future problems.
Previously, intuitions were considered a source of knowledge as well as a research challenge. Analytical thinking is known as a beneficial source of ideas for developing a good source of study problems.
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A research problem is a particular problem or research gap you want to fill through your research. You might look for practical difficulties that contribute to change or theoretical questions that improve understanding. More importantly, a research problem provides a more thorough framework for conducting comprehensive studies and explaining your findings.