Problem Formulation

Topics: Scientific method, Research, Science Pages: 7 (805 words) Published: November 28, 2014
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

PROBLEM FORMULATION

OBJECTIVE

At the end of the session, participants will be
able to
• Identify elements of good problem
statement
• Analyses a problem statement (an
approach)
• Develop a basic problem statement

INTRODUCTION

As human beings, we are
curious about the unknowns.
We ask many questions and
try to find out answers to
them

INTRODUCTION

When you hear a person
speaking a different dialect,
you may ask which country
the person initially came
from

INTRODUCTION

When you see an unusual color
a local lake has, you may ask
what type of pollution has
caused it. However, not every
question can become a research
problem

INTRODUCTION

A research problem has to
indicate the possibility of
empirical investigation-that
is, of data collection and
analysis

INTRODUCTION

In order to make your
research problem
appropriate, we need to
follow some guidelines, which
is the objective of this
session

DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU SEE A PROBLEM?

MotIvatIon

• Writing a clear problem statement to define
and guide an inquiry is a PROBLEM
• The issue of how to write a problem
statement becomes important
• Defining a research problem is the driving
factor in any scientific process, and is the
foundation of any research method and
experimental design, from true experiment to
case study.

Common Steps in Conducting Research

In developing a problem statement, consider the followings:







Do I know the field and its literature well?
What are the important research questions in my field?
What areas need further exploration?
Could my study fill a gap? Lead to greater understanding?
Has a great deal of research already been conducted in this
topic area?
• Has this study been done before? If so, is there room for improvement?
• Is the timing right for this question to be answered? Is it a hot topic, or is it becoming obsolete?
• Will my study have a significant impact on the field?

Functions of Problem Statement

In order to demonstrate that
your problem is researchable,
the
statement
of
research
problem should perform the
following functions:

1.
2.
3.
4.

The
The
The
The
and

context of research;
focus of research;
significance of research;
framework for results
conclusions.

Types of Research Questions

Quantitative research questions
usually include:
1. Descriptive research
questions;
2. Relational research
questions;
3. Difference research questions.

Logic of Quantitative Problems
The quantitative research problems
are formulated through a deductive
logic, that is starting with a general
construct or theory, then identifying
some
operational
variables
to
quantify the general construct or
theory, and finally deciding on which
variables to be observed:
1. Review of the construct;
2. Identification of variables;
3. Operational
definitions
variables.

of

Research Hypothesis
For quantitative research, the framework
of results and conclusions is presented in
the format of hypothesis. In order to make
a hypothesis useful in a research, research
hypothesis has to meet the following
criteria:
A hypothesis should state the expected
pattern, relationship or difference between
two or more variables;
1. A hypothesis should be testable;
2. A hypothesis should offer a tentative
explanation based on theories or
previous research;
3. A hypothesis should be concise and lucid.

The problems of everyday life are
difficulties to be avoided, if possible.
Research problems are eagerly sought
after. The difference is that research
problems represent opportunities as well as
trouble
spots.
Because
scientific
knowledge is provisional, all empirical
findings and theories are in principle
problematic and are, therefore, subject to
further investigation.

Many scientists hold that research
problems should be formulated by:
a. Carefully...
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