Problem Statement - a Key Stage in Writing Research

Problem Statement - a Key Stage in Writing

The problem statement is aimed at educating and engaging the readers with the problem which is going to be investigated.

It regards the issue which is going to be addressed in the work or project under study. It is one of the significant sections of thesis as well as article writing, without which, no research can get started. Generally, it is initiated with providing the negative points aimed at defining the problem. Simply put, the problem statement should be clear and precise aimed at making the focus of the study clear and narrowed down.

The problem statement has its own subsections including:

  1. Introduction
  2. The operational and conceptual framework
  3. The research questions


An introduction is a key to the main issue and somehow a reasoning and justification of the issue under study. The length of the introduction should not exceed the length of the problem statement. Definitely, its length should be compatible with the length of the main text. As a suggestion, in order to ensure the direct relationship of the introduction with the main text, it is better to determine and write the main problem in a framework and accordingly, the introduction can be pursued.

It is through introduction that the main issue which is going to be elaborated in the research, is mentioned. The significance of the study as well as the reasons behind the research are the essential subjects which are paid due attention in this part. In fact, the researcher focuses on the point which might affect the current field’s status. The introduction orients the reader to the topic of the report, moving from broad concepts to more specific ideas [1] and from the known material to the unknown ones.

Moreover, it needs to be pointed out that mentioning a claim which is not included in the research’s title is not allowed. In other words, the content equivalence of this section with the other sections of the suggested frameworks should be taken into account.

Conceptual and operational definition

A description of this framework contributes to a research report in at least two ways because it (1) identifies research variables, and (2) clarifies relationships among the variables. Linked to the problem statement, the conceptual framework “sets the stage” for presentation of the specific research question that drives the investigation being reported [2].

Research Questions

As the last point, the research questions should be provided which have the features of being clear, specific, precise, etc.


A researcher initiates designing a study’s framework provided that it has the potentiality of being discussed or too put it briefly, the problem should be researchable. The following factors should be taken into consideration in the problem statement:

  1. The problem statement should possess a question form.
  2. The mentioned problem should be free of any ambiguity and vagueness.
  3. The use of any biased expressions or vocabularies are not ought to be allowed.
  4. The problem should be correct and specific enough to be controlled.
  5. The study’s research questions should be written.

Once the problem statement has been written, it can be reviewed in a regular interval to apply the necessary changes if needed.

A general example is hereby provided for more elaboration:

The importance of providing an on time as well as reasonable fee for teachers working at private sectors has long been recognized. However, numerous institutes are still paying by delays as well as based on low amount, which can frequently be traced to ineffective identification and treatment of the issue. When a problem is not properly identified during scheduling, subsequent conflicts in the field are inevitable. First, the traditional scheduling as well as the viewpoints, which are widely dominated as a basis, greatly limit the capability for farther scheduling over the mentioned issue. Second, the value and challenges of teachers in private sectors are not taken into consideration as it is supposed to be and accordingly, many teachers leave their careers. In a nutshell, there is a need for a better understanding of the condition and the career’s nature so that the necessary actions can be carried out by the policy makers to ensure the teachers’ satisfaction.

More specifically, the following research questions need to be addressed:

1. What are the reasons for not increasing the private sector teachers’ fee?

2. What are the current practice as well as advancements in solving the mentioned issue?


[1] Zeiger, M. (1999). Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers. 2nd Ed. London, U.K.: McGraw-Hill.

[2] McGaghie, W. C., Bordage, G., & Shea, J.A. (2001). Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. Academic Medicine, 76 (9), 923-924.