Posted on: 23rd Mar 2020 627 Views

Defining Research Problems

The research problem can be referred to as the problem of a gap in knowledge, difficulty, issue which you intend to identify by performing investigation on a specific topic.  You should identify practical issues that can bring change.  Research can be also be performed on theoretical issues, as it will help you in increasing knowledge.

Defining Research Problems

By conducting research on specific issues will help you in expanding your knowledge and would assist you in bringing change.  You must make the selection of the problem on which investigation is to be performed based on the interest and type of investigation you intend to execute.  The problem statement is a part of the research proposal. You can also define issues in the introduction section of the research paper. The research problem is an initial step that helps you in developing knowledge about what you need to do and reason for the same.

Why is the research problem important?

Defining the research problem in the research paper is crucial as :

  • It provides a basis for an academic paper.
  • It is a well define problem statement which provides researcher ease in concentrating and managing a research project.


  1. It is always advisable to identify such research problems which result in the emergence of new concepts and relevant sources.
  2. While writing a research paper, you need to first define the research problem. It is the research problem which will help you should provide information about things which you are going to include in the research paper and reason for the same.

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How to define Research Problem?

Below is a step by step procedure which you need to perform for defining your research problem

Step 1:  Identification of a broad field of issue

It is a step where you need to identify the knowledge gap in the existing literature.  After identification of the knowledge gap, you should determine the way types of investigation which you are going to perform will help in filling that gap.

There are basically 2 broad fields of issues these are practical and theoretical research issues.

A.) Practical research issues

If in case you intend to perform research on practical issues, you can review existing literature and read reports for identifying the problem. You can also address the problem by communicating with people working with you or having a discussion with people working in similar fields.

Some of the practices researches are:

  • Issues related to work performance and operational efficiency.
  • Low productivity demands changes in business procedures.
  • Specific problems in working faced by employees in an organization.

“Practical research problem Examples:

 Example 1: There has been a continuous decrease in the number of voters in a particular location as compared to other regions in the nation”

Example 2: Marketing department in an organization has a high employee turnover rate which has a significant influence on productivity and profitability of firm”

B.) Theoretical research issues

Theoretical research mainly emphasizes increasing knowledge and understanding of a particular problem. A review of theories and debates related to the topic of investigation can be done. It is the strategy that will help you in addressing the knowledge gap.  You need to search for:

  • An issue which has not been studied earlier by the researcher
  • An argument between two or more perceptive
  • You can conduct an investigation on the situation which is not understood by other authors earlier.
  • A research question that has not been resolved.

Many researchers still think that in many circumstances theoretical issues have practical consequences. Theoretical researches are not effective in relation to finding a solution for immediate problems. You can utilize the case study approach for performing such types of investigation.

Theoretical Research Issues Examples:

  • The researcher has failed to understand the influence of deficiency of vitamin D on the heart.
  • An investigation needs to be executed for identifying the link between income, race and gender inequality, in relation to the millennial economy.
  •  There has been disagreement among historian related to the contribution made by the British in developing national identity of Scotland “

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Step 2: Develop an understanding of the problem

It is the step where you need to perform preliminary investigation for gathering more detail information about the problem. After that, you should clearly define a different aspect of the specific issue which you will address in your research paper. While defining the problem you must include the following two things these are:

A.) Researcher Perspective and background information

  • Do you need to define the target population whom the problem might affect?
  • Does existing investigation has been done on a specific problem?
  • Is any researcher has able to find a solution to the problem?
  • What are the arguments about the issue?

B.) Relevance and specificity

  • What specific region, people or time you concentrated on?
  • Which aspects of the issue do you think that cannot be handled?
  • What could be a result if a specific issue is not resolved?
  • Who will get benefits is a particular problem is resolved?

Specific Research Problem Example

A Multinational company is concentrating on increasing the customer base. But the marketing team in an organization does not have knowledge about marketing techniques that they can apply for attracting customers. Marketing team in a firm needs to conducts investigation as it will help them in identifying the best promotional strategies

After narrow downing the issue, you need to write a problem statement and research questions about which we will learn in later articles.

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