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  • How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples

How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples

Published on November 6, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 20, 2023.

A problem statement is a concise and concrete summary of the research problem you seek to address. It should:

  • Contextualize the problem. What do we already know?
  • Describe the exact issue your research will address. What do we still need to know?
  • Show the relevance of the problem. Why do we need to know more about this?
  • Set the objectives of the research. What will you do to find out more?

Table of contents

When should you write a problem statement, step 1: contextualize the problem, step 2: show why it matters, step 3: set your aims and objectives.

Problem statement example

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Frequently asked questions about problem statements.

There are various situations in which you might have to write a problem statement.

In the business world, writing a problem statement is often the first step in kicking off an improvement project. In this case, the problem statement is usually a stand-alone document.

In academic research, writing a problem statement can help you contextualize and understand the significance of your research problem. It is often several paragraphs long, and serves as the basis for your research proposal . Alternatively, it can be condensed into just a few sentences in your introduction .

A problem statement looks different depending on whether you’re dealing with a practical, real-world problem or a theoretical issue. Regardless, all problem statements follow a similar process.

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how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

The problem statement should frame your research problem, giving some background on what is already known.

Practical research problems

For practical research, focus on the concrete details of the situation:

  • Where and when does the problem arise?
  • Who does the problem affect?
  • What attempts have been made to solve the problem?

Theoretical research problems

For theoretical research, think about the scientific, social, geographical and/or historical background:

  • What is already known about the problem?
  • Is the problem limited to a certain time period or geographical area?
  • How has the problem been defined and debated in the scholarly literature?

The problem statement should also address the relevance of the research. Why is it important that the problem is addressed?

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to do something groundbreaking or world-changing. It’s more important that the problem is researchable, feasible, and clearly addresses a relevant issue in your field.

Practical research is directly relevant to a specific problem that affects an organization, institution, social group, or society more broadly. To make it clear why your research problem matters, you can ask yourself:

  • What will happen if the problem is not solved?
  • Who will feel the consequences?
  • Does the problem have wider relevance? Are similar issues found in other contexts?

Sometimes theoretical issues have clear practical consequences, but sometimes their relevance is less immediately obvious. To identify why the problem matters, ask:

  • How will resolving the problem advance understanding of the topic?
  • What benefits will it have for future research?
  • Does the problem have direct or indirect consequences for society?

Finally, the problem statement should frame how you intend to address the problem. Your goal here should not be to find a conclusive solution, but rather to propose more effective approaches to tackling or understanding it.

The research aim is the overall purpose of your research. It is generally written in the infinitive form:

  • The aim of this study is to determine …
  • This project aims to explore …
  • This research aims to investigate …

The research objectives are the concrete steps you will take to achieve the aim:

  • Qualitative methods will be used to identify …
  • This work will use surveys to collect …
  • Using statistical analysis, the research will measure …

The aims and objectives should lead directly to your research questions.

Learn how to formulate research questions

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You can use these steps to write your own problem statement, like the example below.

Step 1: Contextualize the problem A family-owned shoe manufacturer has been in business in New England for several generations, employing thousands of local workers in a variety of roles, from assembly to supply-chain to customer service and retail. Employee tenure in the past always had an upward trend, with the average employee staying at the company for 10+ years. However, in the past decade, the trend has reversed, with some employees lasting only a few months, and others leaving abruptly after many years.

Step 2: Show why it matters As the perceived loyalty of their employees has long been a source of pride for the company, they employed an outside consultant firm to see why there was so much turnover. The firm focused on the new hires, concluding that a rival shoe company located in the next town offered higher hourly wages and better “perks”, such as pizza parties. They claimed this was what was leading employees to switch. However, to gain a fuller understanding of why the turnover persists even after the consultant study, in-depth qualitative research focused on long-term employees is also needed. Focusing on why established workers leave can help develop a more telling reason why turnover is so high, rather than just due to salaries. It can also potentially identify points of change or conflict in the company’s culture that may cause workers to leave.

Step 3: Set your aims and objectives This project aims to better understand why established workers choose to leave the company. Qualitative methods such as surveys and interviews will be conducted comparing the views of those who have worked 10+ years at the company and chose to stay, compared with those who chose to leave.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

All research questions should be:

  • Focused on a single problem or issue
  • Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
  • Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly
  • Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly

Writing Strong Research Questions

Research objectives describe what you intend your research project to accomplish.

They summarize the approach and purpose of the project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement .

Your research objectives indicate how you’ll try to address your research problem and should be specific:

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How to Write a Statement of a Problem in Research with Steps

Published by Grace Graffin at August 11th, 2021 , Revised On October 3, 2023

Research is a systematic investigation to find new techniques, products or processes to solve problems. Apart from being systematic, research is empirical in nature: it’s based on observations and measurement of those observations.

It’s what comes before the development. Impacts and policies that are born in society are borne out of the research.

The most important step to perform any research is to identify a problem that needs to be solved. Therefore, it is necessary to define a research problem before starting the actual research process. Once a research problem has been identified, the next step is to write a problem statement.

Philosopher Kaoru Ishikawa said: “You will have a problem half-solved by defining it correctly on the first day.”

This quote perfectly reflects the importance of a problem statement in research. Before writing a problem statement, it is essential to pinpoint a specific problem, the difficulties you can expect to face as you try to solve it and the research gaps you aim to fill with your research.

The last part—how your research aims to fill a gap in the existing literature—will act as a springboard to the solution(s) that policy makers, for instance, might eventually take to solve that problem.

Filling a gap, therefore, is very important towards solving an existing problem.

What is a Problem Statement?

A problem statement is a clear and concise description of an issue or challenge that needs to be addressed. It typically outlines the existing gap between the current state (what currently is) and the desired state (what should be). Crafting a well-defined problem statement is critical for problem-solving, research, or project planning, as it serves as a guidepost and sets the direction for the subsequent steps.

Research Problem and Research Method – A Cyclical Process

The type of research strategy used in research determines whether you will be analysing theoretical problems to add value to existing knowledge, discussing practical issues to become an agent of change for an organisation or industry or looking at both aspects in relation to any given problem.

However, the kind of problem you aim to tackle with your research, to begin with, will also help you narrow down which research design , method or strategy to opt for.

This is therefore a cyclical process. Your research aim guides your research design can help you focus on a specific kind of research gap/problem.

However, generally, your research will focus on one or the other.

Here is all you need to know about how to write a statement of the problem in research, also called problem statement by some research writers .

Why do you Need a Statement of the Problem, to Begin with?

You need a statement of the problem to transform a generalised problem into a well-defined, brief, targeted statement to perform research in the decision-making process. The problem statement helps the researcher to identify the purpose of the ongoing research.

The problem statement in the dissertation is the pillar of the introduction chapter through which the reader can understand the research questions and scope of the project. If you do not define the problem statement properly, the results might become unmanageable.

Writing Problem Statement for a Business or Organisation

In the business world, problem statements provide the basis for the enhancement and refinement of projects. Without identifying and understanding the problem, it will be hard to find and effectively implement solutions.

A stand-alone document that solely provides an in-depth and detailed problem statement is usually the answer for organisations and businesses when it becomes imperative to find the solution to a problem.

Writing Problem Statement for Academic Research

statement of research problem

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Problem Statement – How to Write it

Ask yourself the following questions before writing the problem statement:

  • What is wrong in the research area/subarea XYZ?
  • Where did it happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • To what extent (how much)?
  • I know that because…(evidence)

‘What’ always defines the defect of the problem at hand and explains why it matters? ‘Where’ defines the geological location of the problem. ‘When’ defines the history and the pattern of the problem, the goal of the stated problem and the scope of research.

‘How much’ defines the trend of the problem as to how many objects are facing the same defect and to what extent. The last part, ‘I know this because…’, will help the researcher identify the standard(s) that he must meet.

Step 1: Understanding the Problem

The problem statement should provide a clear and concise background to the research problem you are investigating. Before starting your research , review the literature about the specific problem and find a gap to fill with your own research.

Practical Research Problem Statement

If you are doing experimental research , you can identify problems by talking to people working in a relevant field, studying research reports, and reviewing previous research. Here are some examples of practical research problems:

  • A problem that hinders the efficiency of a company
  • An institutional process that needs interventions
  • An area of concern in your field/sub-field of interest
  • Members of a society facing a specific difficulty

The problem statement should focus on the details related to the problem, such as:

  • When and where was the problem observed?
  • Who is/are affected by it?
  • What research has been conducted and what practical steps have been taken to resolve the problem?

Example of Practical Research Problem Statement

The production of a company is low for the months of July and August every year. Initial research has been conducted by the company, which revealed poor production in July and August is due to the unavailability of local raw material.

The company has made some effective attempts at engaging the local suppliers to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the raw material, but these efforts are yet to have any significant impact on the production levels.

Theoretical Research Problem Statement

According to USC Libraries, “A theoretical framework consists of concepts and, together with their definitions and reference to relevant scholarly literature, existing theory that is used for your particular study…theoretical framework must demonstrate an understanding of theories and concepts…relevant to the topic of your research paper and that relate to the broader areas of knowledge being considered.”

The theoretical research indirectly contributes to the change by identifying the problem, expanding knowledge and improving understanding. The researcher can find a specific problem by brainstorming the topic and reviewing already published theories and research.

When writing a problem statement based on a theoretical research problem , it is important to recognise the historical, geographical, social and scientific background. Here are the elements of the theoretical problem statement framework that you should consider:

  • What are the facts about the problem?
  • Does the problem relate to a certain geographical area or time period?
  • How is the problem discussed and explained in the existing literature?

Example of Theoretical Research Problem Statement

The production of a company is low for July and August every year. Initial research has been conducted by the company, which revealed poor production in July and August is due to the unavailability of local raw material. The company has made some effective attempts to engage the local suppliers to ensure an uninterrupted raw material supply. Still, these efforts are yet to have any significant impact on the production levels.

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Step 2 – Show why it’s Important and Relevant

By discussing the importance of the problem under investigation, you are demonstrating the relevance of your research. However, this does not mean that you will end up discovering something unimaginable or extraordinary.

The objective here is to clearly state how and why your research problem is relevant in your chosen area of study and why it requires further research.

As indicated previously, practical research deals with a problem affecting society, social group, firm or organisation on a broader scale. To elaborate on why it is important to solve this problem and why your research is significant, you could consider the following questions:

  • What will be the consequences if the problem remains unsolved?
  • Who do these consequences have the most implications for?
  • What is the wider relevance of the problem being investigated?

Low production in July and August negatively affects the company’s marketing capital, thereby becoming an area of deep concern for the directors and stakeholders. The marketing budget cut in July and August is hindering its ability to promote its products uninterruptedly.

Addressing this problem will have practical benefits for the company and help establish the reasons for disruption in raw material supply.

The relevance of all theoretical issues may not be too obvious, even though most theoretical problems do have practical implications. Here are some questions for you to ponder to establish the importance of your research problem:

  • Will your research help to advance understanding of the topic under investigation?
  • Are there any benefits of you resolving the problem for other researchers who wish to explore this topic further in the future?
  • What are the direct or indirect implications (s) of the problem you are trying to solving?

The new forms of employment such as freelance, contract-based work and zero-hour work arrangements are recognised as either a manipulative last option or a flexible active choice. It is necessary to conduct comprehensive qualitative research to uncover why fresh graduates take up these types of employment in the gig economy. There is a need to advance more vigorous concepts relating to instability and flexibility in modern forms of employment from employees’ perspectives, which will also help shape future policies.

Also see: How to Write the Abstract for Dissertation

Step 3 – Declaring the Problem

Before you jump on to state your research’s problem statements, it’s important to devote a sentence or two to let your readers know the precise, narrowed-down research problem you will be discussing about.

For language clarity purposes, here are some strong opening statements to achieve this step:

  • Recently, there has been growing interest in …
  • The possibility of…has generated wide interest in …
  • The development of…is a classic problem in…
  • The development of…has led to the hope that …
  • The…has become a favourite topic for analysis …
  • Knowledge of…has great importance for …
  • The study of…has become an important aspect of …
  • A central issue in…is…
  • The…has been extensively studied in recent years.
  • Many investigators have recently turned to …
  • The relationship between…has been investigated by many researchers.
  • Many recent studies have found out…

Step 4 – Establishing Aim and Objectives

The last step in writing a problem statement is to provide a framework for solving the problem. This will help you, the researcher, stay focused on your research aims and not stray; it will also help you readers keep in mind the reason as to why you conducted this study, to begin with.

A good problem statement does not provide the exact solution to any problem. Rather, it focuses more on how to effectively understand or tackle a problem by establishing the possible causes.

The aim of a research study is its end goal or overall purpose. Following are some examples of how you can craft your research aim statements:

  • This research study aims to investigate…
  • This paper is aimed at exploring…
  • This research aims to identify…

On the other hand, objectives are the smaller steps that a researcher must take to address the aim of the research. Once you have laid out the research problem your research will deal with, it’s important to next mention the how behind that. Objectives are mostly imperative statements, often beginning with transitive verbs like ‘to analyse,’ ‘to investigate,’ etc.

Some more examples are:

  • Statistical analysis will be conducted to determine…
  • Both quantitative and qualitative research methods will be employed to probe…
  • Face-to-face interviews will be carried out with the participants to establish…

Practical Research Aim and Objectives

This project aims to identify the causes of disturbed supply of raw material in the region, which resulted in low production for the company in July and August. This will be achieved by conducting interviews and surveys with the suppliers to understand why the supply is unpredictable in those two months and what can be done to ensure orderliness. Practical experiments will also be conducted to observe the effectiveness of proposed solutions.

Theoretical Research Aim and Objectives

This study aims to understand and unearth the experiences of fresh graduates in the modern economy. The sample population will participate in this study through qualitative research methods, which are expected to provide a deeper insight into the perceptions and motives of these fresh graduates working as freelancers and contract-based employees. The data collected from this exercise and the existing literature on the topic will be analysed in statistical analysis software.

TIP: Search the common themes of the problem statement in your field of research before writing a problem statement.

Also see: Argumentative Essay Writing Service

Problem Statement versus Significance of the Study

Even though both may sound similar, the statement of the problem and the significance of your study are going to be different. The latter does develop upon and from the former, though.

The problem statement tells your readers what’s wrong, whereas the significance of the study will tell them how your research contributed to that problem. You can’t have a significance of a study without mentioning the problem statement first.

Furthermore, signifying your study implies mentioning 4 key points related to it:

  • How your study will further develop the theory behind the existing problem
  • Practical solutions that might be implemented to solve the problem (especially in field research work)
  • Whether your study or research will pave way for innovative methods to solve the existing problem.
  • How your study can help in policy making and implementation, impact studies, etc.

Problem statement in research is the description of an existing issue that needs to be addressed. The problem statement is a focal point of any research and a bridge between the  literature review  and the  research methodology .

Problem statement often has three elements; the problem itself, the method of solving the problem, and the purpose. There are five aspects of every problem: What, Where, When, to what extent, and what defects you know about the topic. Here is an  example of a problem statement in a research proposal  for your better understanding.

If you wish to know more about how to start your research process, then you might want to take a look at the “ Starting the Research Process ” section on our website, which has several articles relating to a  research problem , problem statement, research aim and objectives, and  research proposal .

ResearchProspect is a UK-registered business that offers academic support and assistance to students across the globe. Our writers can help you with individual chapters of your dissertation or the full dissertation writing service , no matter how urgent or complex your requirements might be.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to write a problem statement.

Yes, the most important step to perform any research is to identify a problem that needs to be solved. Therefore, it is necessary to define a research problem before starting the actual research process .

How is a problem statement different from a problem statement written for an organisation?

In the business world, problem statements provide the basis for the enhancement and refinement of projects. Whereas, in academic research, A problem statement helps researchers understand and realise organised the significance of a research problem .

What is a practical research problem?

Doing experimental research can identify problems by talking to people working in a relevant field, studying research reports, and reviewing previous research. 

What is a theoretical research problem?

A theoretical research problem is when the researcher finds a specific problem by brainstorming and reviewing already published theories and research.

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What is a Problem Statement? [with examples]

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Table of Contents

The statement of the problem is one of the first things that a colleague or potential client will read. With the vastness of the information available at one’s fingertips in the online9 world, your work may have just a few seconds to draw in a reader to take a deeper look at your proposal before moving on to the next option. It explains quickly to the reader, the problem at hand, the need for research, and how you intend to do it.

A strong, clear description of the problem that drew you to your research has to be straightforward, easy to read and, most important, relevant. Why do you care about this problem? How can solving this problem impact the world? The problem statement is your opportunity to explain why you care and what you propose to do in the way of researching the problem.

A problem statement is an explanation in research that describes the issue that is in need of study . What problem is the research attempting to address? Having a Problem Statement allows the reader to quickly understand the purpose and intent of the research. The importance of writing your research proposal cannot be stressed enough. Check for more information on Writing a Scientific Research Project Proposal .

It is expected to be brief and concise , and should not include the findings of the research or detailed data . The average length of a research statement is generally about one page . It is going to define the problem, which can be thought of as a gap in the information base. There may be several solutions to this gap or lack of information, but that is not the concern of the problem statement. Its purpose is to summarize the current information and where a lack of knowledge may be presenting a problem that needs to be investigated .

The purpose of the problem statement is to identify the issue that is a concern and focus it in a way that allows it to be studied in a systematic way . It defines the problem and proposes a way to research a solution, or demonstrates why further information is needed in order for a solution to become possible.

What is Included in a Problem Statement?

Besides identifying the gap of understanding or the weakness of necessary data, it is important to explain the significance of this lack.

-How will your research contribute to the existing knowledge base in your field of study?

-How is it significant?

-Why does it matter?

Not all problems have only one solution so demonstrating the need for additional research can also be included in your problem statement. Once you identify the problem and the need for a solution, or for further study, then you can show how you intend to collect the needed data and present it.

How to Write a Statement of Problem in Research Proposal

It is helpful to begin with your goal. What do you see as the achievable goal if the problem you outline is solved? How will the proposed research theoretically change anything? What are the potential outcomes?

Then you can discuss how the problem prevents the ability to reach your realistic and achievable solution. It is what stands in the way of changing an issue for the better. Talk about the present state of affairs and how the problem impacts a person’s life, for example.

It’s helpful at this point to generally layout the present knowledge and understanding of the subject at hand, before then describing the gaps of knowledge that are currently in need of study. Your problem statement is a proposed solution to address one of these gaps.

A good problem statement will also layout the repercussions of leaving the problem as it currently stands. What is the significance of not addressing this problem? What are the possible future outcomes?

Example of Problem Statement in Research Proposal

If, for example , you intended to research the effect of vitamin D supplementation on the immune system , you would begin with a review of the current knowledge of vitamin D’s known function in relation to the immune system and how a deficiency of it impacts a person’s defenses.

You would describe the ideal environment in the body when there is a sufficient level of vitamin D. Then, begin to identify the problems associated with vitamin D deficiency and the difficulty of raising the level through supplementation, along with the consequences of that deficiency. Here you are beginning to identify the problem of a common deficiency and the current difficulty of increasing the level of vitamin D in the blood.

At this stage, you may begin to identify the problem and narrow it down in a way that is practical to a research project. Perhaps you are proposing a novel way of introducing Vitamin D in a way that allows for better absorption by the gut, or in a combination with another product that increases its level in the blood.

Describe the way your research in this area will contribute to the knowledge base on how to increase levels of vitamin D in a specific group of subjects, perhaps menopausal women with breast cancer. The research proposal is then described in practical terms.

How to write a problem statement in research?

Problem statements differ depending on the type and topic of research and vary between a few sentences to a few paragraphs.

However, the problem statement should not drag on needlessly. Despite the absence of a fixed format, a good research problem statement usually consists of three main parts:

Context: This section explains the background for your research. It identifies the problem and describes an ideal scenario that could exist in the absence of the problem. It also includes any past attempts and shortcomings at solving the problem.

Significance: This section defines how the problem prevents the ideal scenario from being achieved, including its negative impacts on the society or field of research. It should include who will be the most affected by a solution to the problem, the relevance of the study that you are proposing, and how it can contribute to the existing body of research.

Solution: This section describes the aim and objectives of your research, and your solution to overcome the problem. Finally, it need not focus on the perfect solution, but rather on addressing a realistic goal to move closer to the ideal scenario.

Here is a cheat sheet to help you with formulating a good problem statement.

1. Begin with a clear indication that the problem statement is going to be discussed next. You can start with a generic sentence like, “The problem that this study addresses…” This will inform your readers of what to expect next.

2. Next, mention the consequences of not solving the problem . You can touch upon who is or will be affected if the problem continues, and how.

3. Conclude with indicating the type of research /information that is needed to solve the problem. Be sure to reference authors who may have suggested the necessity of such research.

This will then directly lead to your proposed research objective and workplan and how that is expected to solve the problem i.e., close the research gap.

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How to Write a Statement of the Problem for Your Research Proposal

Defining your research problem is essential when conducting an experiment. In this article, you will learn how to write a statement of the problem for your research proposal. Learn about the characteristics of a good statement of the problem and examples of research questions.

Updated on May 17, 2022

A researcher working on a problem statement for a new article

You are a great researcher. You are full of ideas and questions as to where to go next with your work. You would not be in this position if you were not good at coming up with interesting questions within your area.

One problem, though, is knowing where to spend your time, energy, and money. Which ideas, questions, and problems are worthwhile?

You need to be able to define a good research problem. A research problem addresses an existing gap in knowledge in your field and leads to further investigations by you and other researchers. Inspiring others with your research problem will lead to citations, enhancing your and your institution's impact.

In order to write a clear and useful problem statement, you need to describe a question and its consequences.

One key way to assess the ‘usefulness' of your research ideas is to learn how to express them as clear problems.

In this article, we will talk about how to write a statement of the problem for your next research proposal. This is important not just for assessing the ‘usefulness' of research ideas, but also for formulating a grant application or proposal. We'll talk about how to explain your research ideas to others in the form of a problem statement in your proposal.

What is a statement of the problem in research?

All research projects should start with a clear problem statement. A problem statement is a formulation of an issue which is usually a ‘gap' within your area. A research gap is an unanswered question, an issue, controversy, or untested hypothesis that has not yet been addressed.

The trick with research problems is working out whether they are actually worth investing the time, energy, and money to figure out. This comes with experience, or you could just read on!

Since a clear problem statement is going to form the basis of your next research project, the question is: How can I write one?

How is this done? The first step is to become familiar with the basic elements of a problem statement in effective research.

Characteristics of a problem statement

A research problem statement has two key attributes:

  • The problem must be challenging and original, but also potentially achievable by your team.
  • The problem must not be incremental. In other words, don't try to address a small change or advance on an existing study that leads to no new scientific insight. This could be damaging to your and your team's reputation, and will likely not lead to a meaningful publication.

Developing a ‘good' research problem statement, therefore, involves systematic planning and setting time-based, realistic objectives. Your problem has to be achievable.

You'll also need to apply feasible research methods based on an approach that best suits the research question. Your methods have to make sense. They must be usable. In other words, you must be able to acquire statistically sufficient and relevant data that is reproducible.

Finally, the problem you define means you'll need to train team members in this particular research area and methods.

Writing a statement of the problem

Stating a research problem is done by defining it within the general area of your research. This depends on your previous work and experience. It may be an area you want to move into or a topic related to what you have already worked on as a researcher. Examples could include a question in astrophysics within physics, robotics within engineering, nutrition within medicine, or marine biology within ocean and Earth science.

Once you've determined your overall area (and you'll know this already of course), it's time to drill down, decide, and define a research problem within that field.

First , your statement should identify a problem that needs to be addressed within your selected sub-area.

This will almost certainly require literature work, but the idea may arise from:

  • Discussions you've had with colleagues;
  • Discussions at a conference;
  • A paper you've read.

Second , your problem statement should be a “good research problem.” This will require further investigation and reading as you consider “what has been done?” and “what needs to be done?”

Third , search for more information, perhaps by:

  • Locating relevant books, papers and other materials;
  • Evaluating the quality and authority of the information collected;
  • Maintaining a regular literature review throughout the project;
  • Making regular notes on background material;
  • Deciding how this literature search will be carried out within the research group;
  • Deciding how information gained will be disseminated to the group (e.g., via each researcher carrying out a regular literature review in their sub-area and information disseminated at group meetings or via email at regular intervals).

This process may well change or modify how your research problem is stated or formulated.

Once your research problem has been identified, research questions within the problem need to be specified.

How long should your statement of the problem be?

Not too long. One page is more than enough for a clear and effective problem statement.

Research questions within your problem

The first stage of writing your research problem statement involves formulating your questions in a meaningful way. In the context of important questions, we are looking for things that many readers across different disciplines find to be interesting. But at the same time, set your question within your field.

Thus, once a research problem has been established, several questions can be written down. These questions should specify exactly what needs to be determined to address the problem.

These questions should also be specific enough that they can be answered using appropriate available research methods - or methods that could be made available to the research group (e.g. by buying or borrowing equipment).

These questions should require complex in-depth investigation, analysis, and argument. They should not be simple enough that they can be answered easily with well-established facts or yes/no answers.

All research questions should be focused, specific, appropriately complex, and relevant to the overall aims of the project.

Examples of questions and next steps

  • How do government regulations prevent companies from polluting water systems?
  • What factors have influenced population growth in the fastest growing countries?
  • How can a bespoke thermal desorption unit be designed and built for use in detection of trace particulate matter in a polluted environment (e.g., a busy city street)?
  • What methods and procedures can be used to understand, and hence control, fundamental chemical processes that occur in flames?
  • How can measurement protocols used in mass spectrometry in a university research laboratory be developed and standardized to enable direct comparison with related measurements in a government laboratory?

Once the problem and questions have been identified, the resources required to carry out the research will need to be assessed. This will involve:

  • Identifying the equipment needed. Find out what is available and what needs to be purchased.
  • Assessing which consumables (e.g., chemicals) are needed for the project, and determining if they can be obtained on a regular basis (i.e., in the right quantities at the appropriate times).
  • Identifying the software, data-analyses and other computer support needed. Assess what needs to be purchased.
  • Assessing what laboratory and office space is needed. And if more is required, discuss this with the relevant laboratory manager.
  • Identifying what support for travel is needed for the group, as well as what resources are required for the group to attend relevant conferences and training of group personnel.

Final thoughts

Defining and writing a clear statement of a problem as the basis of a project is the first - and most important - step in any research. The tips and ideas in this article will help you clearly identify the purpose of the research you are developing.

A clear research problem statement will likely form the skeleton of the Introduction of your final article. If you are able to clearly direct your reader (the most important person in the publishing process) to an important and interesting question, they will likely stay engaged, and use and cite your article in the future.

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What is a Problem Statement in Research?

What is a Problem Statement in Research? How to Write It with Examples

The question, “What is a research problem statement?” is usually followed by “Why should I care about problem statements, and how can it affect my research?” In this article, we will try to simplify the concept so that you not only grasp its meaning but internalize its importance and learn how to craft a problem statement.

To put it simply, a “problem statement” as the name implies is any statement that describes a problem in research. When you conduct a study, your aim as a researcher is to answer a query or resolve a problem. This learned information is then typically disseminated by writing a research paper that details the entire process for readers (both for experts and the general public). To better grasp this concept, we’ll try to explain what a research problem statement is from the viewpoint of a reader. For the purpose of clarity and brevity the topic is divided into subsections.

Table of Contents

What is a research problem?

A research problem is a clearly defined issue in a particular field of study that requires additional investigation and study to resolve. Once identified, the problem can be succinctly stated to highlight existing knowledge gaps, the importance of solving the research problem, and the difference between a current situation and an improved state.

But why is it important to have a research problem ready? Keep in mind that a good research problem helps you define the main concepts and terms of research that not only guide your study but help you add to or update existing literature. A research problem statement should ideally be clear, precise, and tangible enough to assist you in developing a framework for establishing the objectives, techniques, and analysis of the research project. Hence, any research project, if it is to be completed successfully,  must start with a well-defined research problem.

how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

What is research problem statement?

A research problem statement in research writing is the most crucial component of any study, which the researcher must perfect for a variety of reasons, including to get funding and boost readership. We’ve already established that a research article’s “research problem” is a sentence that expresses the specific problem that the research is addressing. But first, let’s discuss the significance of the problem statement in research and how to formulate one, using a few examples.

Do you recall the thoughts that went through your head the last time you read a study article? Have you ever tried to quickly scan the introduction or background of the research article to get a sense of the context and the exact issue the authors were attempting to address through the study? Were you stuck attempting to pinpoint the key sentence(s) that encapsulates the background and context of the study, the motivation behind its initial conduct, and its goals? A research problem statement is the descriptive statement which conveys the issue a researcher is trying to address through the study with the aim of informing the reader the context and significance of performing the study at hand . The research problem statement is crucial for researchers to focus on a particular component of a vast field of study, and for readers to comprehend the significance of the research. A well-defined problem allows you to create a framework to develop research objectives or hypotheses.

Now that we are aware of the significance of a problem statement in research, we can concentrate on creating one that is compelling. Writing a problem statement is a fairly simple process; first, you select a broad topic or research area based on your expertise and the resources at your disposal. Then, you narrow it down to a specific research question or problem relevant to that area of research while keeping the gaps in existing knowledge in mind. To give you a step-by-step instruction on how to write a problem statement for research proposal we’ve broken the process down into sections discussing individual aspects.

When to write a problem statement?

The placement of the research problem in the research project is another crucial component when developing a problem statement. Since the research problem statement is fundamental to writing any research project, it is best to write it at the start of the research process, before experimental setup, data collection, and analysis. Without identifying a specific research problem, you don’t know what exactly you are trying to address through the research so it would not be possible for you to set up the right conditions and foundation for the research project.

It is important to describe the research problem statement at the beginning of the research process to guide the research design and methodology. Another benefit of having a clear and defined research problem early on is that it helps researchers stay on track and focus on the problem at hand without deviating into other trajectories. Writing down the research problem statement also ensures that the current study is relevant, fitting, and fills a knowledge gap. However, note that a research statement can be refined or modified as the research advances and new information becomes available. This could be anything from further deconstructing a specific query to posing a fresh query related to the selected topic area. In fact, it is common practice to revise the problem statement in research to maintain specificity and clarity and to allow room to reflect advancement in the research field.

Bonus point:

A well-defined research problem statement that is referenced in the proper position in the research proposal/article is crucial to effectively communicate the goal and significance of the study to all stakeholders concerned with the research. It piques the reader’s interest in the research area, which can advance the work in several ways and open up future partnerships and even employment opportunities for authors.

What does a research problem statement include?

If you have to create a problem statement from scratch, follow the steps/important aspects listed below to create a well-defined research problem statement.

  • Describe the wide-ranging research topics

To put things in perspective, it is important to first describe the background of the research issue, which derives from a broad area of study or interest that the research project is concerned with.

  • Talk about the research problem/issue

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to state the problem or issues that the research project seeks to address in a clear, succinct manner, preferably in a sentence or two to set the premise of the entire study.

  • Emphasize the importance of the issue

After defining the problem your research will try to solve, explain why it’s significant in the larger context and how your study aims to close the knowledge gap between the current state of knowledge and the ideal scenario.

  • Outline research questions to address the issue

Give a brief description of the list of research questions your study will use to solve the problem at hand and explain how these will address various components of the problem statement.

  • Specify the key goals of the research project

Next, carefully define a set of specific and measurable research objectives that the research project aims to address.

  • Describe the experimental setup

Be sure to include a description of the experimental design, including the intended sample (population/size), setting, or context in the problem statement.

  • Discuss the theoretical framework

Mention the numerous theoretical ideas and precepts necessary to comprehend the study issue and guide the research activity in this section.

  • Include the research methodology

To provide a clear and concise research framework, add a brief description of the research methodologies, including collection and analysis of data, which will be needed to address the research questions and objectives.

Characteristics of a research problem statement

It is essential for a research statement to be clear and concise so that it can guide the development of the research project. A good research statement also helps other stakeholders in comprehending the scope and relevance of the research, which could further lead to opportunities for collaboration or exploration. Here is a list of the key characteristics of a research problem that you should keep in mind when writing an effective research problem statement.

  • The “need” to resolve the issue must be present.

It is not enough to choose a problem in your area of interest and expertise; the research problem should have larger implications for a population or a specific subset. Unless the significance of the research problem is elaborated in detail, the research is not deemed significant. Hence, mentioning the “need” to conduct the research in the context of the subject area and how it will create a difference is of utmost importance.

  • The research problem needs to be presented rationally and clearly

The research statement must be written at the start and be simple enough for even researchers outside the subject area to understand. The two fundamental elements of a successful research problem statement are clarity and specificity. So, check and rewrite your research problem statement if your peers have trouble understanding it. Aim to write in a straightforward manner while addressing all relevant issues and coherent arguments.

  • The research issue is supported by facts and evidence

Before you begin writing the problem statement, you must collect all relevant information available to gain a better understanding of the research topic and existing gaps. A thorough literature search will give you an idea about the current situation and the specific questions you need to ask to close any knowledge gaps. This will also prevent you from asking the questions or identifying issues that have already been addressed. Also, the problem statement should be based on facts and data and should not depend upon hypothetical events.

  • The research problem should generate more research questions

Ideally, the research problem should be such that it helps advance research and encourage more questions. The new questions could be specific to the research that highlights different components or aspects of the problem. These questions must also aid in addressing the problem in a more comprehensive manner which provides a solid foundation for the research study.

  • The research problem should be tangible

The research issue should be concrete, which means that the study project’s budget and time constraints should be met. The research problem should not call for any actions and experiments that are impractical or outside of your area of competence.

To summarize the main characteristics of a research problem statement, it must:

  • Address the knowledge gap
  • Be current and relevant
  • Aids in advancing the field
  • Support future research
  • Be tangible and should suit researcher’s time and interest
  • Be based on facts and data

  How to write a problem statement in research proposal

The format of a problem statement might vary based on the nature and subject of the research; there is no set format. It is typically written in clear, concise sentences and can range from a few sentences to a few pages. Three considerations must be made when formulating a problem statement for a research proposal:

  • Context: The research problem statement needs to be created in the right setting with sufficient background information on the research topic. Context makes it easier to distinguish between the current state and the ideal one in which the issue would not exist. In this section, you can also include instances of any prior attempts and significant roadblocks to solving the problem.
  • Relevance: The main goal of the researcher here is to highlight the relevance of the research study. Explain how the research problem affects society or the field of research and, if the study is conducted to mitigate the issue, what an ideal scenario would look like. Who your study will most affect if the issue is resolved and how it can impact future research are other arguments that might be made in this section.
  • Strategy: Be sure to mention the goals and objectives of your research, and your approach to solve the problem. The purpose of this section is to lay out the research approach for tackling various parts of the research subject.

Examples of problem statement in research proposal

To put what we learned into practice, let’s look at an example of a problem statement in a research report. Suppose you decide to conduct a study on the topic of attention span of different generations. After a thorough literature search you concluded that the attention span of university students is reducing over generations compared to the previous one, even though there are many websites and apps to simplify tasks and make learning easy . This decrease in attention span is attributed to constant exposure to digital content and multiple screens.

In this scenario, the problem statement could be written as – “The problem this study addresses is the lack of regulative measures to control consumption of digital content by young university students, which negatively impacts their attention span”. The research’s goals and objectives, which may employ strategies to increase university students’ attention span by limiting their internet exposure, can then be described in more detail in subsequent paragraphs.

Frequently asked questions

What is a problem statement.

A problem statement is a succinct and unambiguous overview of the research issue that the study is trying to solve.

What is the difference between problem statement and thesis statement?

A problem statement is different from a thesis statement in that the former highlights the main points of a research paper while emphasizing the hypothesis, whilst the latter identifies the issue for which research is being done.

Why is a problem statement needed in a research proposal?

A problem statement identifies the specific problem that the researchers are trying to solve through their research. It is necessary to establish a framework for the project, focus the researcher’s attention, and inform stakeholders of the study’s importance.

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How to Write a Problem Statement in Research with Examples

how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

What is a Research Problem Statement?

A research problem statement is a concise statement describing the problem or issue addressed by the research study. The research problem should be composed in a way that both experts and non-experts in the field can understand.

Every research paper describes the investigation of a problem: by adding knowledge to the existing literature, revisiting known observations, or finding concrete solutions. What contribution your publication makes to your field or the scientific community at large depends on whether your research is “basic” (i.e., mainly interested in providing further knowledge that researchers can later apply to specific problems) or “applied” (i.e., developing new techniques, processes, and products).

In any case, a research proposal or research paper must clearly identify and describe the “problem” that is being investigated, so that the reader understands where the research comes from, why the study is relevant, if the applied methods are appropriate, and if the presented results are valid and answer the stated questions. This is known as the “statement of the problem.”

Table of Contents:

  • What is a Research Problem?

How to Write a Problem Statement in a Research Paper

  • Statement of the Problem Example 
  • Where Does the Problem Statement Go in Your Paper?

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Understanding how to write a research problem.

Your research problem defines the gap in existing knowledge you want to address (e.g., global warming causes), an issue with a certain process (e.g., voter registration) or practices (e.g., patient treatment) that is known and well documented and needs a solution, or some surprising phenomena or earlier findings that point to the need for further investigation. Your approach can be theoretical or practical, and the specific type of problem you choose to address depends on the type of research you want to do. 

In any case, your paper should not repeat what other studies have already said. It also should not ask a question that is too broad in scope to be answered within your study, nor should it be so vague that your reader cannot grasp your motivation or focus. To avoid such problems, you need to clearly define your research question, put it into context, and emphasize its significance for your field of research, the wider research community, or even the general public.

When including your statement of the research problem, several key factors must be considered in order to make a statement that is clear, concise, relevant, and convincing to readers. Think about the following elements not as “steps” to writing your problem statement, but as necessary conditions on which your statement can be firmly grounded and stand out.

Provide context for your study

Putting your research problem in context means providing the reader with the background information they need to understand why you want to study or solve this particular problem and why it is relevant. If there have been earlier attempts at solving the problem or solutions that are available but seem imperfect and need improvement, include that information here.

If you are doing applied research, this part of the problem statement (or “research statement”) should tell the reader where a certain problem arises and who is affected by it. In basic or theoretical research, you make a review of relevant literature on the topic that forms the basis for the current work and tells the reader where your study fits in and what gap in existing knowledge you are addressing.

Establish the relevance of this research

The problem statement also needs to clearly state why the current research matters, or why future work matters if you are writing a research proposal. Ask yourself (and tell your readers) what will happen if the problem continues and who will feel the consequences the most. If the solution you search for or propose in your study has wider relevance outside the context of the subjects you have studied, then this also needs to be included here. In basic research, the advancement of knowledge does not always have clear practical consequences—but you should clearly explain to the reader how the insights your study offers fit into the bigger picture, and what potential future research they could inspire.

Define specific aims and Objectives

Now that the reader knows the context of your research and why it matters, briefly introduce the design and the methods you used or are planning to use. While describing these, you should also formulate your precise aims more clearly, and thereby bring every element in your paper together so that the reader can judge for themselves if they (a) understand the rationale behind your study and (b) are convinced by your approach.

This last part could maybe be considered the actual “statement of the problem” of your study, but you need to prepare the reader by providing all the necessary details before you state it explicitly. If the background literature you cite is too broad and the problem you introduced earlier seems a bit vague, then the reader will have trouble understanding how you came up with the specific experiments you suddenly describe here. Make sure your readers can follow the logical structure of your presentation and that no important details are left out.   

Research Problem Statement Example

The following is a sample statement of the problem for a practical research study on the challenges of online learning. Note that your statement might be much longer (especially the context section where you need to explain the background of the study) and that you will need to provide sources for all the claims you make and the earlier literature you cite. You will also not include the headers “context”, “relevance” and “aims and objectives” but simply present these parts as different paragraphs. But if your problem statement follows this structure, you should have no problem convincing the reader of the significance of your work.

Providing context: Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, most educational institutions around the world have transitioned to a fully online study model, at least during peak times of infections and social distancing measures. This transition has not been easy and even two years into the pandemic, problems with online teaching and studying persist (reference needed) . While the increasing gap between those with access to technology and equipment and those without access has been determined to be one of the main challenges (reference needed) , others claim that online learning offers more opportunities for many students by breaking down barriers of location and distance (reference needed) .  

Establishing relevance: Since teachers and students cannot wait for circumstances to go back to normal, the measures that schools and universities have implemented during the last two years, their advantages and disadvantages, and the impact of those measures on students’ progress, satisfaction, and well-being need to be understood so that improvements can be made and demographics that have been left behind can receive the support they need as soon as possible.

Defining aims and objectives: To identify what changes in the learning environment were considered the most challenging and how those changes relate to a variety of student outcome measures, we conducted surveys and interviews among teachers and students at ten institutions of higher education in four different major cities, two in the US (New York and Chicago), one in South Korea (Seoul), and one in the UK (London). Responses were analyzed with a focus on different student demographics and how they might have been affected differently by the current situation.

Where Does the Problem Statement Go in Your Paper? 

If you write a statement of the problem for a research proposal, then you could include it as a separate section at the very beginning of the main text (unless you are given a specific different structure or different headings, however, then you will have to adapt to that). If your problem statement is part of a research paper manuscript for publication in an academic journal, then it more or less constitutes your introduction section , with the context/background being the literature review that you need to provide here.

If you write the introduction section after the other parts of your paper, then make sure that the specific research question and approach you describe here are in line with the information provided in the research paper abstract , and that all questions you raise here are answered at the end of the discussion section —as always, consistency is key. Knowing where to put the research question can depend on several important contextual factors.

Receive instant editing with Wordvice AI, our automated AI Grammar Checker . Then hand over your manuscript or paper to a professional English editing service for paper editing , thesis editing , or other academic editing services .

And if you need advice on how to write the other parts of your research paper , on how to make a research paper outline if you are struggling with putting everything you did together, or on how to come up with a good research question in case you are not even sure where to start, then head over to the Wordvice academic resources website where we have a lot more articles and videos for you.

how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

The Research Problem & Statement

What they are & how to write them (with examples)

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewed By: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | March 2023

If you’re new to academic research, you’re bound to encounter the concept of a “ research problem ” or “ problem statement ” fairly early in your learning journey. Having a good research problem is essential, as it provides a foundation for developing high-quality research, from relatively small research papers to a full-length PhD dissertations and theses.

In this post, we’ll unpack what a research problem is and how it’s related to a problem statement . We’ll also share some examples and provide a step-by-step process you can follow to identify and evaluate study-worthy research problems for your own project.

Overview: Research Problem 101

What is a research problem.

  • What is a problem statement?

Where do research problems come from?

  • How to find a suitable research problem
  • Key takeaways

A research problem is, at the simplest level, the core issue that a study will try to solve or (at least) examine. In other words, it’s an explicit declaration about the problem that your dissertation, thesis or research paper will address. More technically, it identifies the research gap that the study will attempt to fill (more on that later).

Let’s look at an example to make the research problem a little more tangible.

To justify a hypothetical study, you might argue that there’s currently a lack of research regarding the challenges experienced by first-generation college students when writing their dissertations [ PROBLEM ] . As a result, these students struggle to successfully complete their dissertations, leading to higher-than-average dropout rates [ CONSEQUENCE ]. Therefore, your study will aim to address this lack of research – i.e., this research problem [ SOLUTION ].

A research problem can be theoretical in nature, focusing on an area of academic research that is lacking in some way. Alternatively, a research problem can be more applied in nature, focused on finding a practical solution to an established problem within an industry or an organisation. In other words, theoretical research problems are motivated by the desire to grow the overall body of knowledge , while applied research problems are motivated by the need to find practical solutions to current real-world problems (such as the one in the example above).

As you can probably see, the research problem acts as the driving force behind any study , as it directly shapes the research aims, objectives and research questions , as well as the research approach. Therefore, it’s really important to develop a very clearly articulated research problem before you even start your research proposal . A vague research problem will lead to unfocused, potentially conflicting research aims, objectives and research questions .

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

What is a research problem statement?

As the name suggests, a problem statement (within a research context, at least) is an explicit statement that clearly and concisely articulates the specific research problem your study will address. While your research problem can span over multiple paragraphs, your problem statement should be brief , ideally no longer than one paragraph . Importantly, it must clearly state what the problem is (whether theoretical or practical in nature) and how the study will address it.

Here’s an example of a statement of the problem in a research context:

Rural communities across Ghana lack access to clean water, leading to high rates of waterborne illnesses and infant mortality. Despite this, there is little research investigating the effectiveness of community-led water supply projects within the Ghanaian context. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effectiveness of such projects in improving access to clean water and reducing rates of waterborne illnesses in these communities.

As you can see, this problem statement clearly and concisely identifies the issue that needs to be addressed (i.e., a lack of research regarding the effectiveness of community-led water supply projects) and the research question that the study aims to answer (i.e., are community-led water supply projects effective in reducing waterborne illnesses?), all within one short paragraph.

Need a helping hand?

how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

Wherever there is a lack of well-established and agreed-upon academic literature , there is an opportunity for research problems to arise, since there is a paucity of (credible) knowledge. In other words, research problems are derived from research gaps . These gaps can arise from various sources, including the emergence of new frontiers or new contexts, as well as disagreements within the existing research.

Let’s look at each of these scenarios:

New frontiers – new technologies, discoveries or breakthroughs can open up entirely new frontiers where there is very little existing research, thereby creating fresh research gaps. For example, as generative AI technology became accessible to the general public in 2023, the full implications and knock-on effects of this were (or perhaps, still are) largely unknown and therefore present multiple avenues for researchers to explore.

New contexts – very often, existing research tends to be concentrated on specific contexts and geographies. Therefore, even within well-studied fields, there is often a lack of research within niche contexts. For example, just because a study finds certain results within a western context doesn’t mean that it would necessarily find the same within an eastern context. If there’s reason to believe that results may vary across these geographies, a potential research gap emerges.

Disagreements – within many areas of existing research, there are (quite naturally) conflicting views between researchers, where each side presents strong points that pull in opposing directions. In such cases, it’s still somewhat uncertain as to which viewpoint (if any) is more accurate. As a result, there is room for further research in an attempt to “settle” the debate.

Of course, many other potential scenarios can give rise to research gaps, and consequently, research problems, but these common ones are a useful starting point. If you’re interested in research gaps, you can learn more here .

How to find a research problem

Given that research problems flow from research gaps , finding a strong research problem for your research project means that you’ll need to first identify a clear research gap. Below, we’ll present a four-step process to help you find and evaluate potential research problems.

If you’ve read our other articles about finding a research topic , you’ll find the process below very familiar as the research problem is the foundation of any study . In other words, finding a research problem is much the same as finding a research topic.

Step 1 – Identify your area of interest

Naturally, the starting point is to first identify a general area of interest . Chances are you already have something in mind, but if not, have a look at past dissertations and theses within your institution to get some inspiration. These present a goldmine of information as they’ll not only give you ideas for your own research, but they’ll also help you see exactly what the norms and expectations are for these types of projects.

At this stage, you don’t need to get super specific. The objective is simply to identify a couple of potential research areas that interest you. For example, if you’re undertaking research as part of a business degree, you may be interested in social media marketing strategies for small businesses, leadership strategies for multinational companies, etc.

Depending on the type of project you’re undertaking, there may also be restrictions or requirements regarding what topic areas you’re allowed to investigate, what type of methodology you can utilise, etc. So, be sure to first familiarise yourself with your institution’s specific requirements and keep these front of mind as you explore potential research ideas.

Step 2 – Review the literature and develop a shortlist

Once you’ve decided on an area that interests you, it’s time to sink your teeth into the literature . In other words, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the existing research regarding your interest area. Google Scholar is a good starting point for this, as you can simply enter a few keywords and quickly get a feel for what’s out there. Keep an eye out for recent literature reviews and systematic review-type journal articles, as these will provide a good overview of the current state of research.

At this stage, you don’t need to read every journal article from start to finish . A good strategy is to pay attention to the abstract, intro and conclusion , as together these provide a snapshot of the key takeaways. As you work your way through the literature, keep an eye out for what’s missing – in other words, what questions does the current research not answer adequately (or at all)? Importantly, pay attention to the section titled “ further research is needed ”, typically found towards the very end of each journal article. This section will specifically outline potential research gaps that you can explore, based on the current state of knowledge (provided the article you’re looking at is recent).

Take the time to engage with the literature and develop a big-picture understanding of the current state of knowledge. Reviewing the literature takes time and is an iterative process , but it’s an essential part of the research process, so don’t cut corners at this stage.

As you work through the review process, take note of any potential research gaps that are of interest to you. From there, develop a shortlist of potential research gaps (and resultant research problems) – ideally 3 – 5 options that interest you.

The relationship between the research problem and research gap

Step 3 – Evaluate your potential options

Once you’ve developed your shortlist, you’ll need to evaluate your options to identify a winner. There are many potential evaluation criteria that you can use, but we’ll outline three common ones here: value, practicality and personal appeal.

Value – a good research problem needs to create value when successfully addressed. Ask yourself:

  • Who will this study benefit (e.g., practitioners, researchers, academia)?
  • How will it benefit them specifically?
  • How much will it benefit them?

Practicality – a good research problem needs to be manageable in light of your resources. Ask yourself:

  • What data will I need access to?
  • What knowledge and skills will I need to undertake the analysis?
  • What equipment or software will I need to process and/or analyse the data?
  • How much time will I need?
  • What costs might I incur?

Personal appeal – a research project is a commitment, so the research problem that you choose needs to be genuinely attractive and interesting to you. Ask yourself:

  • How appealing is the prospect of solving this research problem (on a scale of 1 – 10)?
  • Why, specifically, is it attractive (or unattractive) to me?
  • Does the research align with my longer-term goals (e.g., career goals, educational path, etc)?

Depending on how many potential options you have, you may want to consider creating a spreadsheet where you numerically rate each of the options in terms of these criteria. Remember to also include any criteria specified by your institution . From there, tally up the numbers and pick a winner.

Step 4 – Craft your problem statement

Once you’ve selected your research problem, the final step is to craft a problem statement. Remember, your problem statement needs to be a concise outline of what the core issue is and how your study will address it. Aim to fit this within one paragraph – don’t waffle on. Have a look at the problem statement example we mentioned earlier if you need some inspiration.

Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground. Let’s do a quick recap of the key takeaways:

  • A research problem is an explanation of the issue that your study will try to solve. This explanation needs to highlight the problem , the consequence and the solution or response.
  • A problem statement is a clear and concise summary of the research problem , typically contained within one paragraph.
  • Research problems emerge from research gaps , which themselves can emerge from multiple potential sources, including new frontiers, new contexts or disagreements within the existing literature.
  • To find a research problem, you need to first identify your area of interest , then review the literature and develop a shortlist, after which you’ll evaluate your options, select a winner and craft a problem statement .

how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

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SciSpace Resources

How to Write a Statement of the Problem in Research

Madalsa

Table of Contents

The problem statement is a foundation of academic research writing , providing a precise representation of an existing gap or issue in a particular field of study.

Crafting a sharp and focused problem statement lays the groundwork for your research project.

  • It highlights the research's significance .
  • Emphasizes its potential to influence the broader academic community.
  • Represents the initial step for you to make a meaningful contribution to your discipline.

Therefore, in this article, we will discuss what is a statement of the problem in research and how to craft a compelling research problem statement.

What is a research problem statement?

A research problem statement is a concise, clear, and specific articulation of a gap in current knowledge that your research aims to bridge. It not only sets forth the scope and direction of your research but also establishes its relevance and significance.

Your problem statement in your research paper aims to:

  • Define the gap : Clearly identify and articulate a specific gap or issue in the existing knowledge.
  • Provide direction : Serve as a roadmap, guiding the course of your research and ensuring you remain focused.
  • Establish relevance : Highlight the importance and significance of the problem in the context of your field or the broader world.
  • Guide inquiry :  Formulate the research questions or hypotheses you'll explore.
  • Communicate intent : Succinctly convey the core purpose of your research to stakeholders, peers, and any audience.
  • Set boundaries : Clearly define the scope of your research to ensure it's focused and achievable.

When should you write a problem statement in research?

Initiate your research by crafting a clear problem statement. This should be done before any data collection or analysis, serving as a foundational anchor that clearly identifies the specific issue you aim to address.

By establishing this early on, you shape the direction of your research, ensuring it targets a genuine knowledge gap.

Furthermore, an effective and a concise statement of the problem in research attracts collaborators, funders, and supporters, resonating with its clarity and purpose. Remember, as your research unfolds, the statement might evolve, reflecting new insights and staying pertinent.

But how do you distinguish between a well-crafted problem statement and one that falls short?

Effective vs. ineffective research problem statements

Imagine a scenario where medical researchers aim to tackle a new strain of virus. Their effective problem statement wouldn't merely state the existence of the virus. Instead, it would delve into the specifics — the regions most affected, the demographics most vulnerable, and the current limitations in medical interventions.

Whereas an ineffective research problem statement is vague, overly broad, or ambiguous, failing to provide a clear direction for the research. It may not be rooted in existing literature, might lack clarity on its significance, or could be framed in a way that makes the research objectives unachievable or irrelevant.

To understand it better, let's consider the topic of “Remote work and employee productivity.”

Effective problem statement

“Over the past decade, there has been a 70% increase in organizations adopting remote work policies. While some studies suggest remote work enhances employee productivity, others indicate potential declines due to distractions at home.

However, there’s a lack of comprehensive research examining the specific factors in a remote environment that influence productivity. This study aims to identify and analyze these factors, providing organizations with actionable insights to optimize remote work policies.”

Why is this statement of a problem in research effective?

  • Specificity : The statement provides a clear percentage to highlight the rise in remote work.
  • Context : It acknowledges existing research and the conflicting findings.
  • Clear gap identification : It points out the lack of comprehensive research on specific factors affecting productivity in remote work.
  • Purpose : The statement concludes with a clear aim for the research.

Ineffective problem statement

"People are working from home a lot now, especially since there are so many internet tools. Some say it's good; others say it's not that great. This research will just look into the whole work-from-home thing and see what's up."

Why is this statement of a problem in research ineffective?

  • Informal language : Phrases like "what's up" and "the whole work-from-home thing" are not suitable for academic writing.
  • Vagueness : The statement doesn't provide any specific data or context about the rise of remote work.
  • Lack of clear focus : It's unclear what aspect of remote work the research will address.
  • Ambiguous purpose : The statement doesn't specify the research's objectives or expected outcomes.

After gaining an understanding of what an effective research problem statement looks like, let's dive deeper into how to write one.

How to write a problem statement in research?

Drafting your research problem statement at the onset of your research journey ensures that your research remains anchored. That means by defining and articulating the main issue or challenge you intend to address at the very beginning of your research process; you provide a clear focus and direction for the entire study.

Here's a detailed guide to how you can write an effective statement of the problem in research.

Identify the research area : Before addressing a specific problem, you need to know the broader domain or field of your study. This helps in contextualizing your research and ensuring it aligns with existing academic disciplines.

Example: If you're curious about the effects of digital technology on human behavior, your broader research area might be Digital Sociology or Media Studies.

Conduct preliminary literature review : Familiarize yourself with existing research related to your topic. This will help you understand what's already known and, more importantly, identify gaps or unresolved questions in the existing knowledge. This step also ensures you're advancing upon existing work rather than replicating it.

Example: Upon reviewing literature on digital technology and behavior, you find many studies on social media's impact on youth but fewer on its effects on the elderly.

Read how to conduct an effective literature review .

Define the specific problem : After thoroughly reviewing the literature, pinpoint a particular issue that your research will address. Ensure that this chosen issue is not only of substantial importance in its field but also realistically approachable given your resources and expertise. To define it precisely, you might consider:

  • Highlighting discrepancies or contradictions in existing literature.
  • Emphasizing the real-world implications of this gap.
  • Assessing the feasibility of exploring this issue within your means and timeframe.

Example: You decide to investigate how digital technology, especially social media, affects the mental well-being of the elderly, given the limited research in this area.

Articulate clearly and concisely : Your problem statement should be straightforward and devoid of jargon. It needs to convey the essence of your research issue in a manner that's understandable to both experts and non-experts.

Example: " The impact of social media on the mental well-being of elderly individuals remains underexplored, despite the growing adoption of digital technology in this age group. "

Highlight the significance : Explain why your chosen research problem matters. This could be due to its real-world implications, its potential to fill a knowledge gap or its relevance to current events or trends.

Example: As the elderly population grows and becomes more digitally connected, understanding the psychological effects of social media on this demographic could inform digital literacy programs and mental health interventions.

Ensure feasibility : Your research problem should be something you can realistically study, given your resources, timeframe, and expertise. It's essential to ensure that you can gather data, conduct experiments, or access necessary materials or participants.

Example: You plan to survey elderly individuals in local community centers about their social media usage and perceived mental well-being, ensuring you have the means to reach this demographic.

Seek feedback : Discuss your preliminary problem statement with peers, mentors, or experts in the field. They can provide insights, point out potential pitfalls, or suggest refinements.

Example: After discussing with a gerontologist, you decide to also consider the role of digital training in moderating the effects of social media on the elderly.

Refine and Revise : Based on feedback and further reflection, revise and improve your problem statement. This iterative process ensures clarity, relevance, and precision.

Example: Your refined statement reads: Despite the increasing digital connectivity of the elderly, the effects of social media on their mental well-being, especially in the context of digital training, remain underexplored.

By following these detailed steps, you can craft a research problem statement that is both compelling and academically rigorous.

Having explored the details of crafting a research problem statement, it's crucial to distinguish it from another fundamental element in academic research: the thesis statement.

Difference between a thesis statement and a problem statement

While both terms are central to research, a thesis statement presents your primary claim or argument, whereas a problem statement describes the specific issue your research aims to address.

Think of the thesis statement as the conclusion you're driving towards, while the problem statement identifies a specific gap in current knowledge.

For instance, a problem statement might highlight the rising mental health issues among teenagers, while the thesis statement could propose that increased screen time is a significant contributor.

Refer to the comparison table between what is a thesis and a problem statement in the research below:

Aspect

Thesis Statement

Problem Statement

Definition

A concise statement that presents the main claim or argument of the research

A clear articulation of a specific issue or gap in knowledge that the research aims to address

Purpose

To provide readers with the primary focus or argument of the research and what it aims to demonstrate

To highlight a particular issue or gap that the research seeks to address

Placement

Found in the introduction of a thesis or dissertation, usually within the first 1-2 pages, indicating the central argument or claim the entire work

Positioned early in research papers or proposals, it sets the context by highlighting the issue the research will address, guiding subsequent questions and methodologies

Nature of statement

Assertive and argumentative, as it makes a claim that the research will support or refute

Descriptive and explanatory, as it outlines the issue without necessarily proposing a solution or stance

Derived from

Research findings, data analysis, and interpretation

Preliminary literature review, observed gaps in knowledge, or identified issues in a particular field

Word count

Typically concise, ranging from 1 sentence to a short paragraph (approximately 25-50 words)

Generally more detailed, ranging from a paragraph to a page (approximately 100-300 words)

Common mistakes to avoid in writing statement of the problem in research

Mistakes in the research problem statement can lead to a domino effect, causing misalignment in research objectives, wasted resources, and even inconclusive or irrelevant results.

Recognizing and avoiding these pitfalls not only strengthens the foundation of your research but also ensures that your efforts concede impactful insights.

Here's a detailed exploration of frequent subjective, qualitative, quantitative and measurable mistakes and how you can sidestep them.

Being too broad or too narrow

A problem statement that's too broad can lack focus, making it challenging to derive specific research questions or objectives. Conversely, a statement that's too narrow might limit the scope of your research or make it too trivial.

Example of mistake: "Studying the effects of diet on health" is too broad, while "Studying the effects of eating green apples at 3 pm on heart health" is overly narrow.

You can refine the scope based on preliminary research. The correct way to write this problem statement will be "Studying the effects of a high-fiber diet on heart health in adults over 50." This statement is neither too broad nor too narrow, and it provides a clear direction for the research.

Using unnecessary jargon or technical language

While academic writing often involves academic terms, overloading your problem statement with jargon can alienate readers and obscure the actual problem.

Example of Mistake: "Examining the diurnal variations in macronutrient ingestion vis-à-vis metabolic homeostasis."

To ensure it’s not complicated, you can simplify and clarify. "Examining how daily changes in nutrient intake affect metabolic balance" conveys the same idea more accessible.

Not emphasizing the "Why" of the problem

It's not enough to state a problem; you must also convey its significance. Why does this problem matter? What are the implications of not addressing it?

Example of Mistake: "Many students are not engaging with online learning platforms."

You can proceed with the approach of highlighting the significance here. "Many students are not engaging with online learning platforms, leading to decreased academic performance and widening educational disparities."

Circular reasoning and lack of relevance

Your problem statement should be grounded in existing research or observed phenomena. Avoid statements that assume what they set out to prove or lack a clear basis in current knowledge.

Example of Mistake: "We need to study X because not enough research has been done on X."

Instead, try grounding your statement based on already-known facts. "While several studies have explored Y, the specific impact of X remains unclear, necessitating further research."

Being overly ambitious

While it's commendable to aim high, your problem statement should reflect a challenge that's achievable within your means, timeframe, and resources.

Example of Mistake: "This research will solve world hunger."

Here, you need to be realistic and focused. "This research aims to develop sustainable agricultural techniques to increase crop yields in arid regions."

By being mindful of these common mistakes, you can craft a problem statement that is clear, relevant and sets a solid foundation for your research.

Over-reliance on outdated data

Using data that is no longer relevant can mislead the direction of your research. It's essential to ensure that the statistics or findings you reference are current and pertinent to the present scenario.

Example of Mistake: "According to a 1995 study, only 5% of the population uses the internet for daily tasks."

You always cross-check the dates and relevance of the data you're using. For a contemporary study on internet usage, you'd want to reference more recent statistics.

Not specifying the sample size or demographic

A problem statement should be clear about the population or sample size being studied, especially when making generalizations or claims.

Example of Mistake: "People prefer online shopping to in-store shopping."

Here, you would benefit from specifying the demographic or sample size when presenting data to avoid overgeneralization. " In a survey of 1,000 urban residents aged 18-35, 70% expressed a preference for online shopping over in-store shopping. "

Ignoring conflicting data

Cherry-picking data that supports your hypothesis while ignoring conflicting data can lead to a biased problem statement.

Example of Mistake: "Research shows that all students benefit from online learning."

You’ve to ensure a balanced view by considering all relevant data, even if it contradicts your hypothesis. " While many studies highlight the advantages of online learning for students, some research points to challenges such as decreased motivation and lack of face-to-face interaction. "

Making unsubstantiated predictions

Projecting future trends without solid data can weaken the credibility of your problem statement.

Example of Mistake: "The demand for electric cars will increase by 500% in the next year."

Base your predictions on current trends and reliable data sources, avoiding hyperbolic or unsupported claims. " With the current growth rate and recent advancements in battery technology, there's potential for a significant rise in the demand for electric cars. "

Wrapping Up

A well-crafted problem statement ensures that your research is focused, relevant, and contributes meaningfully to the broader academic community.

However, the consequences of an incorrect or poorly constructed problem statement can be severe. It can lead to misdirected research efforts, wasted resources, compromised credibility, and even ethical concerns. Such pitfalls underscore the importance of dedicating time and effort to craft a precise and impactful problem statement.

So, as you start your research journey , remember that a well-defined problem statement is not just a starting point; it guides your entire research journey, ensuring clarity, relevance, and meaningful contributions to your field.

Frequently Asked Questions

A problem statement is a clear, concise and specific articulation of a gap in current knowledge that your research aims to bridge.

The Problem Statement should highlight existing gaps in current knowledge and also the significance of the research. It should also include the research question and purpose of the research.

Clear articulation of the problem and establishing relevance; Working thesis (methods to solve the problem); Purpose and scope of study — are the 3 parts of the problem statement.

While the statement of the problem articulates and delineates a particular research problem, Objectives designates the aims, purpose and strategies to address the particular problem.

Here’s an example — “The study aims to identify and analyze the specific factors that impact employee productivity, providing organizations with actionable insights to optimize remote work policies.”

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How to Write a Problem Statement for Your Research Proposal

Rachel r.n..

  • July 4, 2024
  • How to Guides

Hey there, fellow students! Are you feeling a bit lost when it comes to writing a problem statement for your research proposal? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many of us have been there, staring at a blank page and wondering where to start. But fear not! This guide will walk you through the process step by step, using easy-to-understand language and plenty of examples.

A problem statement is like the foundation of your research project. It’s where you explain what issue you’re tackling and why it matters. Think of it as the “why” behind your research. By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear idea of how to craft a strong problem statement that will set your research proposal on the right track.

What You'll Learn

What Is a Problem Statement?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s break down what a problem statement actually is.

A problem statement is a clear, concise description of the issue that your research aims to address. It’s typically a short paragraph or two that outlines:

  • What the problem is
  • Who it affects
  • Why it’s important to solve
  • What might happen if it’s not addressed

Think of it as the “movie trailer” for your research. It should grab attention and make people want to know more about your project.

Example: Imagine you’re researching the impact of social media on college students’ mental health. Your problem statement might start like this:

“The increasing use of social media among college students has been linked to rising rates of anxiety and depression. Despite this concerning trend, many universities lack comprehensive strategies to address the negative effects of social media on student well-being. Without intervention, students may continue to struggle with mental health issues, potentially impacting their academic performance and overall quality of life.”

See how that sets the stage? It identifies the problem, who it affects, why it matters, and what could happen if it’s not addressed.

Why Is a Problem Statement Important?

You might be wondering, “Why do I need to spend so much time on this? Can’t I just jump into my research?” Well, here’s why a solid problem statement is crucial:

  • It focuses your research: A good problem statement helps you stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by interesting but irrelevant topics.
  • It justifies your work: It shows why your research is necessary and valuable.
  • It guides your methodology: Understanding the problem helps you choose the best methods to investigate it.
  • It helps you communicate your research: A clear problem statement makes it easier to explain your project to others, including your professors and peers.
  • It sets the foundation for your hypothesis: Once you’ve identified the problem, you can start thinking about potential solutions or explanations.

Key Components of a Strong Problem Statement

Now that we know what a problem statement is and why it’s important, let’s break down the essential parts that make it up. A strong problem statement typically includes the following components:

1. Background Information

This is where you set the scene. Provide some context about the issue you’re addressing. What’s the current situation? Has this been a long-standing problem, or is it a new development?

Example: “Over the past decade, social media use has skyrocketed among college students, with 90% reporting daily use of at least one platform.”

2. The Specific Problem

Here’s where you clearly state what the issue is. Be as specific as possible.

Example: “Recent studies have shown a strong correlation between increased social media use and higher rates of anxiety and depression among college students.”

3. Relevance

Explain why this problem matters. Who does it affect? What are the consequences if it’s not addressed?

Example: “This trend is particularly concerning for college students, as mental health issues can significantly impact academic performance, social relationships, and overall well-being.”

4. Objectives

What do you hope to achieve with your research? What questions are you trying to answer?

Example: “This study aims to investigate the specific aspects of social media use that contribute most to negative mental health outcomes among college students, with the goal of developing targeted interventions.”

5. A Call to Action

Suggest what needs to be done to address the problem or what your research will contribute to solving it.

Example: “By understanding the relationship between social media use and mental health, we can develop more effective strategies to support student well-being and create healthier digital habits.”

Steps to Write an Effective Problem Statement

Now that we know what goes into a problem statement, let’s walk through the process of creating one, step by step.

Step 1: Identify the Problem

The first step is to clearly identify what problem you want to address. Ask yourself:

  • What issue have you noticed?
  • What doesn’t work as well as it should?
  • What needs improvement?

To help you identify the problem, try these techniques:

  • Observe your surroundings and take note of issues you see
  • Talk to people who might be affected by the problem
  • Read current research in your field to spot gaps or unanswered questions

Example: Let’s say you’ve noticed that many of your classmates seem stressed and anxious, and you’ve heard them talk about feeling pressured to maintain a perfect image on social media. This observation could lead you to investigate the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students.

Step 2: Do Some Initial Research

Once you’ve identified a potential problem, it’s time to dig deeper. Look for existing information about the issue. This will help you understand the context and ensure your research will contribute something new.

  • Search academic databases for relevant studies
  • Look for statistics that highlight the problem
  • Check if there are any recent news articles about the issue

Example: In researching social media and mental health, you might find statistics showing increased rates of anxiety and depression among college students over the past decade, correlating with the rise of social media use. You might also find studies suggesting links between social media use and poor sleep habits, another factor in mental health.

Step 3: Specify the Problem

Now that you have some background information, you can narrow down and specify the exact problem you want to address. Be as clear and concise as possible.

Example: “The problem is that increased social media use among college students is correlated with higher rates of anxiety and depression , yet the specific mechanisms of this relationship are not well understood.”

Step 4: Show Why It’s Important

Explain why this problem matters. Who does it affect? What are the consequences if it’s not addressed? This helps justify why your research is necessary.

Example: “This issue affects millions of college students across the country. Poor mental health can lead to decreased academic performance, strained relationships, and in severe cases, can contribute to dropout rates or even suicidal thoughts. Understanding this problem is crucial for developing effective interventions to support student well-being.”

Step 5: Suggest the Consequences of Inaction

What might happen if this problem isn’t addressed? This helps emphasize the urgency and importance of your research.

Example: “If left unaddressed, the negative impact of social media on student mental health could lead to a continued rise in anxiety and depression rates among college students. This could result in increased dropout rates, lower academic achievement, and a generation of young adults ill-equipped to handle the stresses of post-college life.”

Step 6: Outline Your Objectives

What do you hope to achieve with your research? What questions do you want to answer?

Example: “This study aims to:

  • Identify which aspects of social media use are most strongly correlated with negative mental health outcomes among college students.
  • Understand the mechanisms by which social media use impacts mental health.
  • Develop recommendations for healthier social media habits and potential interventions to support student well-being.”

Step 7: Provide a Call to Action

Example: “By gaining a deeper understanding of how social media impacts student mental health, this research will provide valuable insights for developing targeted interventions. These could include educational programs on healthy social media use, changes to university policies, or the development of new support services for students struggling with social media-related mental health issues.”

Step 8: Put It All Together

Now that you have all the pieces, it’s time to put them together into a cohesive problem statement. Aim for a paragraph or two that flows logically from the problem to its importance to your proposed solution.

Example: “Over the past decade, social media use has become ubiquitous among college students, with 90% reporting daily use of at least one platform. Concurrent with this trend, rates of anxiety and depression among college students have risen dramatically. Recent studies suggest a strong correlation between increased social media use and poor mental health outcomes, yet the specific mechanisms of this relationship are not well understood.

This issue affects millions of college students across the country, potentially leading to decreased academic performance, strained relationships, and in severe cases, contributing to dropout rates or even suicidal thoughts. If left unaddressed, the negative impact of social media on student mental health could result in a continued rise in mental health issues, lower academic achievement, and a generation of young adults ill-equipped to handle the stresses of post-college life.

This study aims to identify which aspects of social media use are most strongly correlated with negative mental health outcomes, understand the mechanisms by which social media use impacts mental health, and develop recommendations for healthier social media habits. By gaining a deeper understanding of this issue, this research will provide valuable insights for developing targeted interventions, such as educational programs on healthy social media use, changes to university policies, or new support services for students struggling with social media-related mental health issues.”

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even with a step-by-step guide, it’s easy to stumble when writing a problem statement. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

1. Being Too Vague

One of the biggest pitfalls is not being specific enough about your problem. Avoid general statements like “Social media is bad for students.” Instead, be precise: “Daily use of social media for more than three hours is correlated with increased rates of anxiety and depression among college students.”

2. Making Unsupported Claims

Make sure any claims you make are backed up by evidence. If you say that social media use is increasing among students, have the stats to back it up.

3. Focusing on Solutions Instead of the Problem

Remember, this is a problem statement, not a solution statement. Focus on clearly defining the issue rather than jumping to how you’ll solve it.

4. Being Too Narrow or Too Broad

Strike a balance between being specific and keeping your research manageable. “The impact of social media on all aspects of human life” is too broad, while “The effect of Instagram likes on the self-esteem of 19-year-old female psychology majors at XYZ University” might be too narrow.

5. Using Jargon or Overly Complex Language

Remember your audience. If other students or non-experts in your field will read your proposal , keep your language clear and accessible.

6. Neglecting the “So What?” Factor

Always make it clear why your problem matters. What are the real-world implications?

7. Ignoring Existing Research

Your problem statement should show awareness of what’s already known about the issue. Don’t present a problem as if no one has ever thought about it before (unless it truly is a brand new issue).

Tips for Polishing Your Problem Statement

Now that you’ve crafted your problem statement, here are some tips to make it shine:

1. Keep It Concise

Aim for one or two paragraphs. If you find yourself writing a novel, you’re probably including too much detail.

2. Use Clear, Direct Language

Avoid flowery or overly academic language. Your goal is to communicate clearly, not to impress with big words.

3. Get Feedback

Share your problem statement with classmates, tutors, or your professor. Fresh eyes can often spot issues you’ve missed or suggest improvements.

4. Revise and Refine

Don’t expect to nail it on the first try. Write a draft, step away from it, then come back and revise. Repeat this process until you’re satisfied.

5. Ensure Logical Flow

Make sure your problem statement flows logically from the problem to its significance to your research objectives.

6. Check for Consistency

Ensure that your problem statement aligns with the rest of your research proposal. The problem you outline should clearly connect to your research questions, methodology, and expected outcomes.

7. Use Active Voice

Active voice makes your writing more direct and engaging. Instead of “The effects of social media on mental health will be studied,” write “This study will investigate the effects of social media on mental health.”

Examples of Problem Statements in Different Fields

To help you get a better idea of how problem statements can vary across different fields of study, let’s look at a few examples:

Problem: “Despite significant advancements in cancer treatments, pancreatic cancer continues to have one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer type. Current diagnostic methods often detect the disease only in its late stages, severely limiting treatment options. This study aims to identify early biomarkers for pancreatic cancer, potentially leading to earlier detection and improved patient outcomes.”

Computer Science

Problem: “As artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent in decision-making processes, concerns about algorithmic bias have increased. Studies have shown that AI systems can perpetuate and even amplify existing societal biases, particularly in areas like hiring, lending, and criminal justice. This research seeks to develop new methods for detecting and mitigating bias in machine learning algorithms, with the goal of creating more fair and equitable AI systems.”

Problem: “The COVID-19 pandemic forced a rapid shift to online learning, revealing significant disparities in digital access and literacy among students. Many students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, struggled to participate fully in remote education due to lack of devices, reliable internet, or necessary digital skills. This study aims to assess the long-term impacts of these disparities on student achievement and develop strategies for creating more equitable digital learning environments.”

Problem: “Recent studies have indicated a rise in loneliness and social isolation among young adults, despite increased connectivity through technology. This trend has been associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. However, the specific factors contributing to this paradox of connectivity and loneliness are not well understood. This research seeks to investigate the relationship between different types of technology use and feelings of social connection among young adults, with the goal of identifying protective factors against loneliness in the digital age.”

Environmental Science

Problem: “Microplastic pollution has become a pervasive environmental issue, with these tiny plastic particles now found in every corner of the globe, from the depths of the ocean to the air we breathe. While the prevalence of microplastics is well-documented, their long-term effects on ecosystems and human health remain largely unknown. This study aims to investigate the accumulation of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems and their potential impacts on aquatic life and water quality, providing crucial data for developing effective mitigation strategies.”

Related Articles

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How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples

The basics of writing a statement of the problem for your research proposal

Writing a problem statement might seem daunting at first, but with practice, it becomes easier. Remember, a good problem statement is clear, concise, and compelling. It should make your reader think, “Yes, this is indeed a problem that needs solving!”

As you work on your research proposal, keep coming back to your problem statement. Use it as a guide to ensure that every part of your proposal – from your literature review to your methodology – aligns with the problem you’re trying to solve.

And don’t forget, writing is a process. Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Write, revise, get feedback, and revise again. With each iteration, your problem statement will become stronger and clearer.

Lastly, remember why you’re doing this research in the first place. You’ve identified a problem that matters, something that needs attention and solutions. Your work has the potential to make a real difference. So take a deep breath, dive in, and happy researching!

Final Thoughts

Writing a problem statement is a skill that will serve you well beyond your college years. Whether you go into academia, business, or any other field, the ability to clearly articulate problems and why they matter is invaluable.

So don’t think of this as just another academic exercise. You’re developing a skill that will help you tackle real-world problems throughout your career. Who knows? The problem you’re addressing in your research proposal today could be the basis for groundbreaking work in the future.

Remember, every great solution starts with a well-defined problem. By mastering the art of writing problem statements, you’re taking the first step towards becoming a problem-solver and changemaker in your field.

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Research Method

Home » Problem Statement – Writing Guide, Examples and Types

Problem Statement – Writing Guide, Examples and Types

Table of Contents

Problem Statement

Problem Statement

Definition:

Problem statement is a clear, concise, and well-defined statement that outlines the issue or challenge that needs to be addressed. It is a crucial element in any project or research as it provides a clear understanding of the problem, its context, and its potential impact.

Types of Problem Statements

There are various types of problem statements, and the type of problem statement used depends on the context and purpose of the project or research. Some common types of problem statements are:

Business Problem Statement

Business Problem Statement identifies a problem or challenge within an organization that needs to be solved. It typically includes the impact of the problem on the organization and its stakeholders, such as customers, employees, or shareholders.

Research Problem Statement

Research Problem Statement outlines the research question or problem that the study aims to address. It describes the research objectives, the significance of the research, and the potential impact of the research findings.

Design Problem Statement

Design Problem Statement defines the problem or challenge that a design project aims to solve. It includes the user’s needs, the design constraints, and the desired outcomes of the design project.

Social Problem Statement

Social Problem Statement describes a problem or challenge in society that needs to be addressed. It typically includes the social, economic, or political impact of the problem and its effect on individuals or communities.

Technical Problem Statement

Technical Problem Statement defines a problem or challenge related to technology or engineering. It includes the technical requirements, constraints, and potential solutions to the problem.

Components of Problem Statement

The components of a problem statement may vary depending on the context and purpose of the project or research, but some common components include:

  • Problem description : This component provides a clear and concise description of the problem, its context, and its impact. It should explain what the problem is, who is affected by it, and why it needs to be addressed.
  • Background information : This component provides context for the problem by describing the current state of knowledge or practice related to the problem. It may include a review of relevant literature, data, or other sources of information.
  • Objectives : This component outlines the specific objectives that the project or research aims to achieve. It should explain what the project or research team hopes to accomplish by addressing the problem.
  • Scope : This component defines the boundaries of the problem by specifying what is included and excluded from the problem statement. It should clarify the limits of the project or research and ensure that the team remains focused on the core problem.
  • Methodology : This component outlines the approach or methodology that the project or research team will use to address the problem. It may include details about data collection, analysis, or other methods used to achieve the objectives.
  • Expected outcomes : This component describes the potential impact or outcomes that the project or research aims to achieve. It should explain how the solution or findings will address the problem and benefit the stakeholders.

How to write Problem Statement

Here are some general steps to follow when writing a problem statement:

  • Identify the problem : Clearly identify the problem that needs to be addressed. Consider the context, stakeholders, and potential consequences of the problem.
  • Research the problem: Conduct research to gather data and information about the problem. This may involve reviewing literature, analyzing data, or consulting with experts.
  • Define the problem: Define the problem clearly and concisely, using specific language and avoiding vague or ambiguous terms. Be sure to include the impact of the problem and the context in which it occurs.
  • State the objectives : Clearly state the objectives that the project or research aims to achieve. This should be specific and measurable, with clear outcomes that can be evaluated.
  • Identify the scope: Identify the boundaries of the problem, including what is included and excluded from the problem statement. This helps to ensure that the team remains focused on the core problem.
  • Outline the methodology : Outline the approach or methodology that the project or research team will use to address the problem. This should be based on research and best practices, and should be feasible and realistic.
  • Describe the expected outcomes : Describe the potential impact or outcomes that the project or research aims to achieve. Be specific about how the solution or findings will address the problem and benefit the stakeholders.
  • Revise and refine : Review the problem statement and revise it as needed to ensure clarity, accuracy, and completeness.

Applications of Problem Statement

Here are some of the applications of problem statements:

  • Research : In academic research, problem statements are used to clearly define the research problem, identify the research question, and justify the need for the study. A well-crafted problem statement is essential for the success of any research project.
  • Project management: In project management, problem statements are used to identify the issues or challenges that a project team needs to address. Problem statements help project managers to define project scope, set project goals, and develop project plans.
  • Business strategy: In business strategy, problem statements are used to identify business challenges and opportunities. Problem statements help businesses to define their strategic objectives, develop action plans, and allocate resources.
  • Product development : In product development, problem statements are used to identify customer needs and develop new products that address those needs. Problem statements help product developers to define product requirements, develop product features, and test product prototypes.
  • Policy-making: In public policy-making, problem statements are used to identify social, economic, and environmental issues that require government intervention. Problem statements help policymakers to define policy objectives, develop policy options, and evaluate policy outcomes.

Examples of Problem Statements

Examples of Problem Statements are as follows:

  • High student-to-teacher ratios are leading to decreased individualized attention and lower academic achievement.
  • Limited funding for extracurricular activities is limiting opportunities for student development and engagement.
  • The lack of diversity and inclusion in curriculum is limiting cultural understanding and perpetuating inequalities.
  • The need for continuous professional development for teachers is crucial to improving teaching quality and student outcomes.
  • Unequal access to education due to socio-economic status, geographical location, or other factors is contributing to disparities in academic achievement.
  • The shortage of healthcare professionals is leading to increased patient wait times and decreased quality of care.
  • Limited access to mental health services is contributing to the high prevalence of mental health issues and suicides.
  • The over-prescription of opioids is contributing to the current opioid epidemic and increasing rates of addiction and overdose.
  • Limited access to affordable and nutritious food is leading to poor nutrition and increased rates of chronic diseases.
  • The lack of standardized electronic health record systems is limiting coordination of care and leading to medical errors.

Environmental Science

  • Pollution from industrial and agricultural practices is contributing to climate change and increased health risks.
  • The overexploitation of natural resources is leading to decreased biodiversity and ecological imbalance.
  • Limited access to clean water is leading to health issues and affecting agriculture and economic development.
  • The destruction of natural habitats is leading to the extinction of many species and disrupting ecosystems.
  • Climate change is leading to more frequent and severe natural disasters, causing significant damage to infrastructure and displacement of populations.

Engineering

  • The inadequate design and maintenance of bridges and roads is leading to increased accidents and fatalities.
  • The lack of reliable and sustainable energy sources is contributing to environmental degradation and limiting economic growth.
  • The lack of cybersecurity measures in critical infrastructure is making it vulnerable to cyber attacks and compromising public safety.
  • The lack of efficient waste management systems is contributing to pollution and environmental degradation.
  • The need for developing technologies that are environmentally friendly and sustainable is crucial to addressing climate change.

Social Work

  • The lack of resources for mental health and social services is contributing to homelessness and the need for emergency assistance.
  • The high prevalence of child abuse and neglect is leading to long-term physical and emotional harm to children.
  • The lack of affordable and accessible childcare is limiting the opportunities for working parents, especially mothers.
  • The stigmatization of mental health issues is limiting access to mental health services and perpetuating discrimination.
  • The limited access to education, employment, and housing opportunities is contributing to poverty and social inequality.
  • The increasing use of ad-blocking software is limiting the effectiveness of traditional digital advertising.
  • The lack of transparency in digital advertising is leading to ad fraud and decreased trust in online marketing.
  • The need to adapt marketing strategies to changing consumer behaviors and preferences is crucial to reaching target audiences effectively.
  • The high competition in the marketplace is making it challenging for small businesses to compete with larger corporations.
  • The need to balance marketing goals with ethical considerations is crucial to maintaining consumer trust and avoiding negative publicity.
  • The high prevalence of anxiety and depression is leading to decreased productivity and increased healthcare costs.
  • The limited access to mental health services in certain geographic areas is limiting access to care and contributing to disparities in mental health outcomes.
  • The need for effective prevention and intervention programs for substance abuse and addiction is crucial to reducing rates of addiction and overdose.
  • The lack of awareness and understanding of mental health issues is perpetuating stigma and limiting access to care.
  • The need for culturally sensitive mental health services that are tailored to the needs of diverse populations is crucial to improving mental health outcomes.

Purpose of Problem Statement

The purpose of a problem statement is to clearly and concisely describe a specific problem or issue that needs to be addressed. It serves as a clear and succinct explanation of the problem, its context, and its importance, providing the necessary information to understand why the problem is worth solving. A well-crafted problem statement also helps to define the scope of the problem, which in turn helps to guide the research or problem-solving process. In essence, a problem statement sets the stage for identifying potential solutions and determining the best approach to solve the problem.

Characteristics of Problem Statement

The characteristics of a good problem statement include:

  • Clear and concise : A problem statement should be written in clear and concise language, free of technical jargon, and easily understandable to the intended audience.
  • Specific : The statement should clearly define the problem and its scope. It should identify the who, what, where, when, and why of the problem.
  • Measurable : A problem statement should be measurable in some way, whether through quantitative or qualitative methods. This allows for objective assessment of progress towards solving the problem.
  • Relevant : The problem statement should be relevant to the context in which it is presented. It should relate to the needs and concerns of stakeholders and the broader community.
  • Feasible : The problem statement should be realistic and achievable, given the available resources and constraints.
  • Innovative: A good problem statement should inspire creative and innovative solutions.
  • Actionable : The problem statement should lead to actionable steps that can be taken to address the problem. It should provide a roadmap for moving forward.

Advantages of Problem Statement

Advantages of Problem Statement are as follows:

  • Focus : A problem statement helps to clearly define the problem at hand and provides focus to the problem-solving process. It helps to avoid wasting time and resources on issues that are not relevant.
  • Alignment : A well-written problem statement ensures that everyone involved in the problem-solving process is on the same page and understands the issue at hand. This alignment helps to ensure that efforts are focused in the right direction and that everyone is working towards the same goal.
  • Clarity : A problem statement provides clarity about the nature of the problem and its impact. This clarity helps to facilitate communication and decision-making, making it easier to develop effective solutions.
  • Innovation : A well-crafted problem statement can inspire creativity and encourage innovative thinking. By clearly defining the problem, it can help to identify new approaches and solutions that may not have been considered before.
  • Measurability : A problem statement that is clear and specific can be used to measure progress and success. It helps to ensure that efforts are focused on addressing the root cause of the problem and that progress towards a solution can be tracked and evaluated.

Limitations of Problem Statement

While problem statements have many advantages, they also have some limitations, such as:

  • Limited Scope: A problem statement is usually focused on a specific issue or challenge. As a result, it may not capture the full complexity of a larger problem, which can limit the effectiveness of the solutions developed.
  • Lack of Detail : In some cases, problem statements may be too broad or lack sufficient detail, which can make it difficult to develop effective solutions. It’s important to ensure that the problem statement is specific enough to guide the problem-solving process.
  • Bias : The way in which a problem statement is written can sometimes reflect the biases or assumptions of the person or group writing it. This can lead to a narrow or incomplete understanding of the problem and limit the effectiveness of the solutions developed.
  • Inflexibility : A problem statement may be too rigid or inflexible, which can limit the exploration of alternative solutions. It’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to adapt the problem statement as new information or perspectives emerge.

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How to write a problem statement

how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

What is a problem statement?

Why write a problem statement, when are problem statements commonly written, how do i write a problem statement, the format of a problem statement, the trademarks of a good problem statement, an example of a problem statement, frequently asked questions about problem statements, related articles.

A problem statement is a clear and concise description of the problem or issue a team aims to address in a project.

A problem statement identifies a problem’s current state, desired future state, and the gaps that lie between the two. It doesn't define the solution to the problem or provide a road map for solving the problem; it only gives an outline of what the problem is.

However, the researcher or team can later use the problem statement to validate that their work delivered an outcome that resulted in the solution.

A problem statement is a useful communication tool, as it keeps the whole team on track and tells them why the project is important. A problem statement helps someone to define and understand the problem, identify the goals of the project, and outline the scope of work.

A problem statement is especially relevant for projects that aim to improve processes, as it allows for the easier development of solutions. Referencing it helps guide the activities carried out and aids the research team in staying focused. The information in a problem statement also helps a team make important decisions.

When the desired solution is implemented later on, a problem statement can help make sure that steps are put into place to prevent the original problem from recurring in the future.

Problem statements are used in both academic and business contexts. In a business environment, project managers can use them to help execute process improvement projects.

But in an academic setting, they can help researchers to contextualize and understand the significance of the problem in a research project. This guide focuses on academic problem statements.

Before planning or writing out your academic problem statement, ask yourself some important questions, and make notes with your answers:

  • What is the problem?
  • How often does the problem occur?
  • Where does the problem occur?
  • When does the problem occur?
  • Who does the problem impact?
  • What causes the problem?
  • How would things ideally work if the problem wasn't present?
  • Why is this a problem, and why does it matter?
  • What impact does the problem cause?
  • Which possible solution/s to the problem are you going to propose?
  • What are the predicted benefits or outcomes of your solutions?

When you write your problem statement, split it into four sections:

  • Problem: Here, simply define what your problem is, clearly and concisely. Make it no longer than one or two sentences.
  • Background: This is the section where you can describe what causes the problem, how often it occurs, where and when it occurs, and who the problem impacts.
  • Relevance: You'll want to show how the problem is relevant, as well as why it matters and requires a solution. This is a great space to specify why it's a problem and what impacts it causes. If it fits comfortably, you can also articulate how things would ideally work if the problem wasn't present.
  • Objectives: This section doesn't require great detail or length, as the problem statement isn't the area of your research project in which to specifically problem-solve. However, you should lay out a brief plan of what you're going to do to investigate and how that should help you formulate solutions. You can also hypothesize on possible solutions you're going to propose, and the benefits you predict from these.

A quality problem statement should be:

  • Concise: You should be able to summarize your problem, as well as the different elements of how and why it's a problem, in succinct sentences. If you can't, revisit your initial notes and clarify what you want to achieve with your project.
  • Specific: Only write about one issue in a problem statement, even if there's more than one impact of that issue. Your research and actions then only have to focus on solving the one problem, and there's no confusion.
  • Measurable: Be clear about how you're able to measure and convey both the problem and your proposed objectives. This is usually by communicating the problem in terms of degree and frequency.

Below is an academic problem statement example. You don't need to include any headers in your real problem statement, but we'll do so here to show you how the sections of the document function in practice.

There is worryingly low uptake of free cervical cancer screening in the UK amongst women aged 25 to 35.

According to an assessment conducted by X Health Trust, only 60% of 25- to 35-year-old female patients attended cervical cancer screening appointments within the last two years.

This could be due to several contributing factors:

  • Female patients in this age group may be more likely to believe they are not susceptible to cervical cancer due to their younger age.
  • There has been an absence of regular and informative public health announcements on this subject within the last seven years.
  • Cervical cancer screening has a reputation for being an unpleasant experience, which could be off-putting for patients due to attend one.

Cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer in females in the UK, representing a notable health risk. As of 2017, there were around 3,200 new cervical cancer cases, with 850 consequent deaths, in the UK every year.

Although mortality rates in the UK for cervical cancer are highest in females aged 85 to 89, incidence rates for the disease are still highest in females aged 30 to 34.

When cervical cancer is diagnosed at its earliest stage, 96% of people diagnosed will survive their disease for one year or more. This is compared with only 50% of people when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.

Screening is a vital health service as many cervical cancer patients will be symptomless until they are in a later stage of the disease.

We are going to conduct a survey of 10,000 females in the UK between the ages of 25 and 35. We will first ask them the question of whether they have attended a cervical screening appointment in the last five years. For those who answer “no,” we will then present them with multiple-choice options that answer the question, “why not?”

From the results we gather, we should be able to accurately assess the most common reasons why there is a low uptake in cervical cancer screening in this age group. We will then propose interventions to the medical community based on our findings.

Our ultimate goal is to increase the uptake of cervical cancer screening by females between 25 and 35 in the UK over the next five years.

🔲 Background

🔲 Relevance

🔲 Objectives

A problem statement helps you define and understand a problem, identify the goals of your project, and outline the scope of your work. A problem statement is especially important for projects that aim to improve processes, as it allows for the easier development of solutions.

A good problem statement is concise, specific and measurable. It summarizes the different elements of how and why it's a problem. It focusses on solving this one problem, and there is no confusion as to what the problem is and how it is solved. It is clear how the problem can be solved and how this can be measured.

To start a problem statement, first ask yourself some important questions to define the problem, like:

  • Which possible solutions to the problem are you going to propose?

When you write your problem statement, split it into these sections:

A smart problem statement is concise, specific and measurable. It should briefly describe the problem, where it is occurring, the timeframe over which it has been occurring, and the size and magnitude of the problem.

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3 Problem statement examples and steps to write your own

problem-statement-colleagues-gathered-talking-in-office

We’ve all encountered problems on the job. After all, that’s what a lot of work is about. Solving meaningful problems to help improve something. 

Developing a problem statement that provides a brief description of an issue you want to solve is an important early step in problem-solving .

It sounds deceptively simple. But creating an effective problem statement isn’t that easy, even for a genius like Albert Einstein. Given one hour to work on a problem, he’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes finding solutions. (Or so the story goes.)

Einstein was probably exaggerating to make a point. But considering his success in solving complex problems, we think he was on to something. 

As humans, we’re wired to jump past the problem and go directly to the solution stage. In emergencies, this behavior can be lifesaving, as in leaping out of the way of a speeding car. But when dealing with longer-range issues in the workplace, this can lead to bad decisions or half-baked solutions. 

That’s where problem statements come in handy. They help to meaningfully outline objectives to reach effective solutions. Knowing how to develop a great problem statement is also a valuable tool for honing your management skills .

But what exactly is a problem statement, when should you use one, and how do you go about writing one? In this article, we'll answer those questions and give you some tips for writing effective problem statements. Then you'll be ready to take on more challenges large and small.

What is a problem statement?

First, let’s start by defining a problem statement. 

A problem statement is a short, clear explanation of an issue or challenge that sums up what you want to change. It helps you, team members, and other stakeholders to focus on the problem, why it’s important, and who it impacts. 

A good problem statement should create awareness and stimulate creative thinking . It should not identify a solution or create a bias toward a specific strategy.

Taking time to work on a problem statement is a great way to short-circuit the tendency to rush to solutions. It helps to make sure you’re focusing on the right problem and have a well-informed understanding of the root causes. The process can also help you take a more proactive than reactive approach to problem-solving . This can help position you and your team to avoid getting stuck in constant fire-fighting mode. That way, you can take advantage of more growth opportunities.  

When to use a problem statement

The best time to create a problem statement is before you start thinking of solutions. If you catch yourself or your team rushing to the solution stage when you’re first discussing a problem, hit the brakes. Go back and work on the statement of the problem to make sure everyone understands and agrees on what the real problem is. 

Here are some common situations where writing problem statements might come in handy: 

  • Writing an executive summary for a project proposal or research project
  • Collaborating   on a cross-functional project with several team members
  • Defining the customer issue that a proposed product or service aims to solve
  • Using design thinking to improve user experience
  • Tackling a problem that previous actions failed to solve 

How to identify a problem statement

Like the unseen body of an iceberg, the root cause of a specific problem isn’t always obvious. So when developing a problem statement, how do you go about identifying the true, underlying problem?

These two steps will help you uncover the root cause of a problem :

  • Collect information from the research and previous experience with the problem
  • Talk to multiple stakeholders who are impacted by the problem

People often perceive problems differently. Interviewing stakeholders will help you understand the problem from diverse points of view. It can also help you develop some case studies to illustrate the problem. 

Combining these insights with research data will help you identify root causes more accurately. In turn, this methodology will help you craft a problem statement that will lead to more viable solutions. 

What are problem statements used for?

You can use problem statements for a variety of purposes. For an organization, it might be solving customer and employee issues. For the government, it could be improving public health. For individuals, it can mean enhancing their own personal well-being . Generally, problem statements can be used to:

  • Identify opportunities for improvement
  • Focus on the right problems or issues to launch more successful initiatives – a common challenge in leadership
  • Help you communicate a problem to others who need to be involved in finding a solution
  • Serve as the basis for developing an action plan or goals that need to be accomplished to help solve the problem
  • Stimulate thinking outside the box  and other types of creative brainstorming techniques

3 examples of problem statements

When you want to be sure you understand a concept or tool, it helps to see an example. There can also be some differences in opinion about what a problem statement should look like. For instance, some frameworks include a proposed solution as part of the problem statement. But if the goal is to stimulate fresh ideas, it’s better not to suggest a solution within the problem statement. 

In our experience, an effective problem statement is brief, preferably one sentence. It’s also specific and descriptive without being prescriptive. 

Here are three problem statement examples. While these examples represent three types of problems or goals, keep in mind that there can be many other types of problem statements.        

Example Problem Statement 1: The Status Quo Problem Statement

Example: 

The average customer service on-hold time for Example company exceeds five minutes during both its busy and slow seasons.

This can be used to describe a current pain point within an organization that may need to be addressed. Note that the statement specifies that the issue occurs during the company’s slow time as well as the busy season. This is helpful in performing the root cause analysis and determining how this problem can be solved. 

The average customer service on-hold time for Example company exceeds five minutes during both its busy and slow seasons. The company is currently understaffed and customer service representatives are overwhelmed.

Background:

Example company is facing a significant challenge in managing their customer service on-hold times. In the past, the company had been known for its efficient and timely customer service, but due to a combination of factors, including understaffing and increased customer demand, the on-hold times have exceeded five minutes consistently. This has resulted in frustration and dissatisfaction among customers, negatively impacting the company's reputation and customer loyalty.

Reducing the on-hold times for customer service callers is crucial for Example company. Prolonged waiting times have a detrimental effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to potential customer churn and loss of revenue. Additionally, the company's declining reputation in terms of customer service can have a lasting impact on its competitive position in the market. Addressing this problem is of utmost importance to improve customer experience and maintain a positive brand image.

Objectives:

The primary objective of this project is to reduce the on-hold times for customer service callers at Example company. The specific objectives include:

  • Analyzing the current customer service workflow and identifying bottlenecks contributing to increased on-hold times.
  • Assessing the staffing levels and resource allocation to determine the extent of understaffing and its impact on customer service.
  • Developing strategies and implementing measures to optimize the customer service workflow and reduce on-hold times.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the implemented measures through key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average on-hold time, customer satisfaction ratings, and customer feedback.
  • Establishing a sustainable approach to maintain reduced on-hold times, taking into account both busy and slow seasons, through proper resource planning, training, and process improvements.

Example Problem Statement 2: The Destination Problem Statement

Leaders at Example company want to increase net revenue for its premium product line of widgets by 5% for the next fiscal year. 

This approach can be used to describe where an organization wants to be in the future. This type of problem statement is useful for launching initiatives to help an organization achieve its desired state. 

Like creating SMART goals , you want to be as specific as possible. Note that the statement specifies “net revenue” instead of “gross revenue." This will help keep options open for potential actions. It also makes it clear that merely increasing sales is not an acceptable solution if higher marketing costs offset the net gains. 

Leaders at Example company aim to increase net revenue for its premium product line of widgets by 5% for the next fiscal year. However, the company currently lacks the necessary teams to tackle this objective effectively. To achieve this growth target, the company needs to expand its marketing and PR teams, as well as its product development teams, to prepare for scaling. 

Example company faces the challenge of generating a 5% increase in net revenue for its premium product line of widgets in the upcoming fiscal year. Currently, the company lacks the required workforce to drive this growth. Without adequate staff in the marketing, PR, and product development departments, the company's ability to effectively promote, position, and innovate its premium product line will be hindered. To achieve this kind of growth, it is essential that Example company expands teams, enhances capabilities, and strategically taps into the existing pool of loyal customers.

Increasing net revenue for the premium product line is crucial for Example company's overall business success. Failure to achieve the targeted growth rate can lead to missed revenue opportunities and stagnation in the market. By expanding the marketing and PR teams, Example company can strengthen its brand presence, effectively communicate the value proposition of its premium product line, and attract new customers.

Additionally, expanding the product development teams will enable the company to introduce new features and innovations, further enticing existing and potential customers. Therefore, addressing the workforce shortage and investing in the necessary resources are vital for achieving the revenue growth objective.

The primary objective of this project is to increase net revenue for Example company's premium product line of widgets by 5% in the next fiscal year. The specific objectives include:

  • Assessing the current workforce and identifying the gaps in the marketing, PR, and product development teams.
  • Expanding the marketing and PR teams by hiring skilled professionals who can effectively promote the premium product line and engage with the target audience.
  • Strengthening the product development teams by recruiting qualified individuals who can drive innovation, enhance product features, and meet customer demands.
  • Developing a comprehensive marketing and PR strategy to effectively communicate the value proposition of the premium product line and attract new customers.
  • Leveraging the existing base of loyal customers to increase repeat purchases, referrals, and brand advocacy.
  • Allocating sufficient resources, both time and manpower, to support the expansion and scaling efforts required to achieve the ambitious revenue growth target.
  • Monitoring and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as net revenue, customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer satisfaction to measure the success of the growth initiatives.
  • Establishing a sustainable plan to maintain the increased revenue growth beyond the next fiscal year by implementing strategies for continuous improvement and adaptation to market dynamics.

Example Problem Statement 3 The Stakeholder Problem Statement

In the last three quarterly employee engagement surveys , less than 30% of employees at Eample company stated that they feel valued by the company. This represents a 20% decline compared to the same period in the year prior. 

This strategy can be used to describe how a specific stakeholder group views the organization. It can be useful for exploring issues and potential solutions that impact specific groups of people. 

Note the statement makes it clear that the issue has been present in multiple surveys and it's significantly worse than the previous year. When researching root causes, the HR team will want to zero in on factors that changed since the previous year.

In the last three quarterly employee engagement surveys, less than 30% of employees at the Example company stated that they feel valued by the company. This indicates a significant decline of 20% compared to the same period in the previous year.

The company aspires to reduce this percentage further to under 10%. However, achieving this goal would require filling specialized roles and implementing substantial cultural changes within the organization.

Example company is facing a pressing issue regarding employee engagement and perceived value within the company. Over the past year, there has been a notable decline in the percentage of employees who feel valued. This decline is evident in the results of the quarterly employee engagement surveys, which consistently show less than 30% of employees reporting a sense of value by the company.

This decline of 20% compared to the previous year's data signifies a concerning trend. To address this problem effectively, Example company needs to undertake significant measures that go beyond superficial changes and necessitate filling specialized roles and transforming the company culture.

Employee engagement and a sense of value are crucial for organizational success. When employees feel valued, they tend to be more productive, committed, and motivated. Conversely, a lack of perceived value can lead to decreased morale, increased turnover rates, and diminished overall performance.

By addressing the decline in employees feeling valued, Example company can improve employee satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, overall productivity. Achieving the desired reduction to under 10% is essential to restore a positive work environment and build a culture of appreciation and respect.

The primary objective of this project is to increase the percentage of employees who feel valued by Example company, aiming to reduce it to under 10%. The specific objectives include:

  • Conducting a comprehensive analysis of the factors contributing to the decline in employees feeling valued, including organizational policies, communication practices, leadership styles, and cultural norms.
  • Identifying and filling specialized roles, such as employee engagement specialists or culture change agents, who can provide expertise and guidance in fostering a culture of value and appreciation.
  • Developing a holistic employee engagement strategy that encompasses various initiatives, including training programs, recognition programs, feedback mechanisms, and communication channels, to enhance employee value perception.
  • Implementing cultural changes within the organization that align with the values of appreciation, respect, and recognition, while fostering an environment where employees feel valued.
  • Communicating the importance of employee value and engagement throughout all levels of the organization, including leadership teams, managers, and supervisors, to ensure consistent messaging and support.
  • Monitoring progress through regular employee surveys, feedback sessions, and key performance indicators (KPIs) related to employee satisfaction, turnover rates, and overall engagement levels.
  • Providing ongoing support, resources, and training to managers and supervisors to enable them to effectively recognize and appreciate their teams and foster a culture of value within their respective departments.
  • Establishing a sustainable framework for maintaining high employee value perception in the long term, including regular evaluation and adaptation of employee engagement initiatives to address evolving needs and expectations.

problem-statement-man-with-arms-crossed-smiling

What are the 5 components of a problem statement?

In developing a problem statement, it helps to think like a journalist by focusing on the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why or how. Keep in mind that every statement may not explicitly include each component. But asking these questions is a good way to make sure you’re covering the key elements:

  • Who: Who are the stakeholders that are affected by the problem?
  • What: What is the current state, desired state, or unmet need? 
  • When: When is the issue occurring or what is the timeframe involved?
  • Where: Where is the problem occurring? For example, is it in a specific department, location, or region?
  • Why: Why is this important or worth solving? How is the problem impacting your customers, employees, other stakeholders, or the organization? What is the magnitude of the problem? How large is the gap between the current and desired state? 

How do you write a problem statement?

There are many frameworks designed to help people write a problem statement. One example is outlined in the book, The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions, ” by Daniel Markovitz. A faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute, the author uses many case studies from his work as a business consultant.

To simplify the process, we’ve broken it down into three steps:

1. Gather data and observe

Use data from research and reports, as well as facts from direct observation to answer the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. 

Whenever possible, get out in the field and talk directly with stakeholders impacted by the problem. Get a firsthand look at the work environment and equipment. This may mean spending time on the production floor asking employees questions about their work and challenges. Or taking customer service calls to learn more about customer pain points and problems your employees may be grappling with.    

2. Frame the problem properly  

A well-framed problem will help you avoid cognitive bias and open avenues for discussion. It will also encourage the exploration of more options.

A good way to test a problem statement for bias is to ask questions like these:

Question

Action

Does the problem appear to have only one possible solution?

Look for ways to rephrase it to open up more possibilities.

Does the statement describe a symptom instead of the problem?

Dig deeper for the root cause.

Does the statement suggest the problem is that you don’t have enough time, money, or people?

Find a way to pose the problem that will lead to more creative solutions. 

Does the problem statement lack an obvious solution?

Great! You’re probably ready to start exploring solutions.

Does the statement stimulate brainstorming and discussion?

Good job! Keep the discussion going by asking why.

3. Keep asking why (and check in on the progress)

When it comes to problem-solving, stay curious. Lean on your growth mindset to keep asking why — and check in on the progress. 

Asking why until you’re satisfied that you’ve uncovered the root cause of the problem will help you avoid ineffective band-aid solutions.

What to avoid when writing a problem statement

When crafting a problem statement, it's essential to communicate the issue clearly and effectively. A well-formulated problem statement sets the stage for understanding and addressing the challenge at hand. However, there are common pitfalls that can undermine its clarity and purpose. Here's what you should avoid:

  • Vagueness : Be specific about the problem and its context.
  • Complexity : Keep the language simple and direct.
  • Overgeneralization : Avoid broad statements that don’t address specific issues.
  • Assumptions : Don’t presume solutions or causes without evidence.
  • Jargon : Use clear, accessible language that can be understood by all stakeholders.

Refining your problem statements

When solving any sort of problem, there’s likely a slew of questions that might arise for you. In order to holistically understand the root cause of the problem at hand, your workforce needs to stay curious. 

An effective problem statement creates the space you and your team need to explore, gain insight, and get buy-in before taking action.

If you have embarked on a proposed solution, it’s also important to understand that solutions are malleable. There may be no single best solution. Solutions can change and adapt as external factors change, too. It’s more important than ever that organizations stay agile . This means that interactive check-ins are critical to solving tough problems. By keeping a good pulse on your course of action, you’ll be better equipped to pivot when the time comes to change. 

BetterUp can help. With access to virtual coaching , your people can get personalized support to help solve tough problems of the future.

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Madeline Miles

Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

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  • How to Write a Problem Statement for your Research

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Every research starts with identifying a problem which is usually an existing gap in your field of study. Once you do this, the next step is to craft a statement of the problem that captures this issue and how you plan to resolve it. A statement of problem forms the basis of every systematic investigation. 

Seeing as a problem statement forms the core of your research, it makes sense to know how to write an effective one. So how do you go about this? First, you need to get acquainted with the features of a good problem statement plus its elements and structure. 

Use this guide to know how to write an effective statement of the problem for your systematic investigation. 

What is the Statement of the Problem in Research?

A statement of problem refers to the critical issue that your research seeks to address. In other words, it captures the existing knowledge gap that your study aims to bridge using reliable results or outcomes. A problem statement can be as little as a few sentences or go all the way to several paragraphs—what matters is it communicates the central focus of your study. 

As your study bridges this gap, it also leaves room for future investigations. The implication is that your problem statement should not be too broad; instead, it should address one specific issue and contribute to the knowledge pool for further research. 

Use for Free: Research Form Templates

What are the Features of a Good Problem Statement?  

A good problem statement captures the core purpose of your study in simple, clear, and direct terms. Some other tell-tale signs of a well-written research statement of problem include: 

  • A good problem statement is concrete and concise. It doesn’t capture ideas vaguely or ambiguously.
  • It allows you to contextualize the research problem.
  • A good problem statement helps you to set the aims and objectives of your systematic investigation. 
  • It justifies your research and draws attention to the study’s significance. 

Why is a Problem Statement Important in Research Writing?

Writing a good problem statement serves both the researcher and the readers. For the researcher, the problem statement helps you visualize the scope of your project and outline it accordingly. Also, it allows you to map out specific aims and objectives for your study. 

On the flip side, the problem statement helps the reader identify the core reason for your research and see how your work fits into the existing body of knowledge. It helps them get on the same page as you regarding the importance and significance of your systematic investigation. 

If you require funding for your research, a problem statement can help potential financiers to see why investing in your project is the right move to make. It gives them an overview of the existing problem, your solution, and the impact of your solution on the field of study. 

Elements and Structure of a Problem Statement

In its most basic form, a problem statement comprises three(3) elements which are: 

  • The research problem
  • The claim or working thesis
  • The significance of the study

In other words, it tells the reader what you’re trying to solve, how you plan to solve it, and why you want to solve it. 

1. The Research Problem

Your research problem is the reason for your systematic investigation. It is the gap you identified and planned to fill based on the results of your study. You can also think of this as the primary research question. 

A few questions you should ask yourself here include: 

  • Is it clear what’s being described in this problem statement?
  • Do I understand the main problem being described here?
  • Do I have a good grasp of what the main issue is here?

2. The Claim or Working Thesis 

Your working thesis is the first attempt at asserting your position, and it spells out your stance on the matter at a specific point in time. It’s called a “working” thesis because it is subject to change as your study progresses. In your working thesis, you have the chance to justify your position by providing primary and secondary claims that support your position. 

3. The Significance of the Study 

This is the point where you communicate the value of your research and show readers why it is necessary in the first place. Here, you can discuss the impact of your work and its relevance to your field of study. Don’t forget to highlight the contributions of your work to existing knowledge and how others will benefit from it. 

Read: Research Report: Definition, Types + [Writing Guide]

What is the Difference Between a Thesis Statement and a Problem Statement? 

A problem statement focuses on the specific issue you’ve identified and hope to resolve with your research. It comprises the research problem, claim, or working statement and the significance of your research. On the other hand, a thesis statement makes a specific claim or assertion open for debate. 

For example, the statement “writing is more of a science than an art” is an excellent example of a thesis statement because it proposes an idea that may be true or false. Once you establish the thesis statement for your research, you are expected to provide evidence and build a strong argument that supports this claim.

What are the Steps for Writing a Problem Statement? 

  • Define Your Research Context 
  • State Why The Problem Matters 
  • State the Financial Cost
  • Back Up Your Claims
  • Propose A Solution
  • Conclude By Summarizing the Problem and Solution

1. Define Your Research Context 

The first thing you need to do is build a solid context that makes it easier for readers to understand the problem. A hack for this is to describe an ideal world where the problem doesn’t exist. In other words, help your readers to visualize how different things would be if they didn’t have to deal with this problem in the first place. 

For example, if you’re researching the rise in the number of train accidents in London, start by describing how the process would function if the current problem didn’t exist. When you’ve done this, you can refer to the research problem at the end of your explanation. 

2. State Why the Problem Matters

You should let readers in on why the problem matters and why you must address it at this point. In other words, answer the question, “why is it important that we fix this particular problem?” What difference would it make? 

Your job here is to show the reader why your research problem is the biggest elephant in the room. You may also consider including what attempts have already been made to solve the problem and why they didn’t work out. 

3. State the Financial Cost

If there’s a financial implication of not fixing the problem, then it’s a good idea to state it here. This is more useful if you’re pitching for funding for your research. 

4. Back Up Your Claims

It’s not enough to say that the problem has some negative impact on other people or your organization; you must back up all of these claims with well-researched data. This is the point where you pull up information from relevant secondary data sources and reference them in your work. 

5. Proffer a Solution

Now that we know the problem, the next question is, “what can be done about it”? To answer this, you need to propose a practical solution to the research problem. Take time to demonstrate why this is the most pragmatic solution and why it will work. More importantly, focus on the impact of your solution and hint at its benefits. 

6. Conclude By Summarizing the Problem and Solution

Your conclusion should consist of the problem, why it needs to be fixed, and a summarized argument of why your solution is the best answer to the problem.

Sample Problem Statement 

Problem : The use of hard drugs amongst teenagers in the District of Columbia has increased significantly over the past decade. 

Background : According to the Drug Abuse Statistics Organization data, 50% of teenagers have misused a drug at least once. Teenagers in the District of Columbia are 11.94% more likely to have used drugs in the last month than the average American teen. Existing data shows that this is a significant problem but fails to address the root causes of rising teenage drug abuse in the state. Therefore, more research is required to identify why teenagers in Colombia abuse drugs and proffer solutions to this menace. 

Relevance : Young people who abuse drugs expose themselves to many risks, including life-threatening conditions and mental health-related problems. Drug abuse can impact the brain’s ability to function in the short term and prevent proper growth and development in the long term. Data shows that teenagers who use hard drugs are more likely to be disillusioned. Addressing this problem will give concerned parties the much-needed insights to help them curtail drug abuse. 

Objectives : This research aims to identify the root causes of teenage drug abuse and map out actionable solutions to address this. 

Mistakes to Avoid when Writing Problem Statements  

A good problem statement sets the tone for the rest of your dissertation, so you want to get it right. That said, here are some things you should have at the back of your mind as you craft a problem statement for your research paper. 

1. Make sure your problem statement is straight to the point. Every sentence should reinforce the importance of your study. 

2. Narrow the scope of your problem statement.

3. Avoid unnecessary jargon and highly technical language.

4. Build a logical argument that will convince the reader

5. Emphasize the “why” of the problem 

FAQ About Writing a Statement of the Problem

How do you identify a research problem?

The best way to identify a research problem is to read through existing studies to discover any gaps in knowledge. You can also discover research problems by observing your environment and identifying any contradictions that exist among perspectives. 

Conclusion 

Whether you’re seeking funding for your research or approval from your professor, you need to write a well-defined statement of the problem. A problem statement allows you to pitch the core idea of your study and show others why it is worth being addressed. It should draw attention to the core idea of your research, and convince others to invest in your systematic investigation. 

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How to write the Statement of a Problem

By charlesworth author services.

  • Charlesworth Author Services
  • 19 November, 2021

The first step in research is to outline the research problem – this might be an area of concern, a gap in the existing knowledge or a deviation in something that has been previously established, which warrants further investigation. 

Importance of the problem statement

The statement of a problem defines and describes the research hypothesis or question(s), along with the broad method that will be used to solve the problem . The statement of the problem serves as the basis for the introductory section of your project proposal. A well-formulated statement of the problem sets the stage for the rest of your study , including how you will address the problem and any anticipated outcomes or answers. Once you have very clearly laid out the core issue, problem or question that you’re investigating, you’ll have a much sharper focus for conducting and writing up the rest of your study. A clear and straightforward statement will also inform and impress your reader in grasping the issues that your proposed project will address.

Defining the ‘problem’

The research question should be compelling and must have an underlying basis. While formulating the problem statement, as a keen researcher, you should consider the current state of the topic in question, along with any other observations or educated guesses. 

As you are defining the ‘problem’ that you are addressing in your research, consider the following questions: 

  • What is the problem?
  • Why is it a problem, and why does it need to be resolved? 
  • What are the likely benefits of solving the problem? 
  • Besides the central question, what are smaller, specific questions that need to be asked and answered?

Clarifying and refining the problem statement

In the initial stages of writing, the problem statement might be a bit rough around the edges. A final and more refined form will emerge as you reflect more deeply over the topic and delve into the literature. The current status of the topic , including what is known and what is not , will help you refine your original problem statement to a clearer and more specific one.

Wrapping it up

To conclude the section, briefly summarise the problem and emphasise the need to fix it. All potential advantages and anticipated outcomes and implications should be mentioned here. Contextualising the problem in a broad sense will also strengthen your case.

Sample problem statement

In a detailed project proposal, the statement of the problem could be nearly a page long, over several paragraphs . In a report or paper, the problem is typically expressed in a few sentences in the Introduction . Here is an example based on a fictional study.

Early and targeted warning of dengue outbreaks is critical for vector control. Current studies have primarily focused on the role of weather conditions in dengue forecasting. Environmental and microenvironmental suitability for mosquito breeding has been sorely neglected as a crucial factor, particularly in the urban setting. The surge in dengue and other mosquito-borne infections in India metropolitan cities in 2020–2021 highlights the urgent need to identify conducive features to better track and predict outbreaks. This study proposes a framework for implementing intra-urban dengue forecasting by… Through this investigation, we aim to develop a set of early predictors for improved surveillance of dengue in large urban swathes in Indian metropolitan cities. 

Dos and don’ts of writing a problem statement

  • Write the actual problem statement as a declarative statement or as a question .
  • Explain in the statement how previous studies have not addressed the issue or have fallen short due to certain limitations.
  • Outline in your statement how you plan to overcome or circumvent previous roadblocks to fill these deficiencies.
  • Ensure the statement is lucid and to the point, without any distracting information.
  • Cite credible sources where needed.

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Image for How to Write a Statement of Need for Grants

How to Write a Statement of Need for Grants

What is a statement of need learn how to write an impactful one for grant proposals with our detailed guide, ensuring your nonprofit or school stands out..

As a nonprofit organization or school seeking funding, understanding how to write a grant proposal is crucial. At the heart of every successful grant application lies a well-crafted statement of need. Think of it as your proposal's elevator pitch – concise, impactful, and impossible to ignore.

This blog post will guide you through creating a compelling statement of need that strengthens your grant proposal and secures the support you need.

What is a Statement of Need?

statement1

A statement of need, also known as a needs statement, is a vital section of your grant proposal that clearly articulates the problem your organization aims to address. It provides context for your project, explaining why it's necessary and how it will benefit your target community or cause. After reading your statement of need, donors should feel confident that their contributions will support critical yet unmet public or community needs.

5 Key Elements of an Effective Statement of Need

If your organization has conducted a comprehensive program planning process or strategic planning, you're already ahead of the game. These processes typically uncover the key elements needed for a compelling statement of need. Let's break down the five core building blocks that form the foundation of an effective needs statement:

  • What: Clearly define the specific need or problem your project aims to address. Be concrete and avoid vague generalizations.
  • Who: Identify the target population affected by this need or problem. Provide demographic information and any relevant characteristics of this group.
  • Why: Explain the significance of this need or problem. Why is it important to address this issue now?
  • What If: Describe the potential consequences if the need or problem remains unaddressed. This helps create a sense of urgency and importance.
  • How: Demonstrate how you know this information. Reference your data sources, research methods, and any community engagement efforts that inform your understanding of the need.

While focusing on these building blocks, it's also crucial to consider the broader landscape of services in your community. If other organizations are working on similar issues, your needs statement should:

  • Identify gaps in existing services: Highlight what's currently missing or inadequate in addressing the need.
  • Explain your unique approach: Clearly articulate how your program or project will fill these gaps and add value to existing efforts.
  • Avoid criticism: While it's important to differentiate your approach, be cautious not to criticize other organizations. The nonprofit sector thrives on collaboration, not competition.
  • Prevent duplication: As you investigate community needs, ensure your proposed services don't unnecessarily duplicate existing efforts.
  • Consider collaborations: Where services may overlap, explore opportunities for strategic partnerships that can enhance overall impact.

By addressing these elements, you demonstrate a thorough understanding of both the need and the current landscape of services. This comprehensive approach strengthens your statement of need and shows funders that you've done your homework and are proposing a well-thought-out, strategic solution.

Remember, a strong statement of need doesn't exist in isolation. It should seamlessly connect to the rest of your grant proposal, setting the stage for your project description, goals, and evaluation plan.

How to Write an Effective Statement of Need

Crafting a compelling statement of need is a crucial skill for any nonprofit seeking grant funding. This section of your proposal sets the stage for your entire project, highlighting why your work is necessary and impactful. Let's break down the key elements of a strong needs statement.

statement2

Start with a Clear Problem Definition

Begin your statement by clearly articulating the issue your organization aims to address. Use specific, data-driven language to paint a vivid picture of the need. For example:

"In Sunnyville, 25% of children experience food insecurity, translating to approximately 2,500 children who may not have reliable access to nutritious meals."

This approach immediately grounds your statement in concrete facts, giving readers a clear understanding of the scope of the problem.

Provide Context and Depth

Once you've introduced the core issue, expand on the who, what, and why of the situation:

Who is affected by this problem? What are the root causes and contributing factors? Why is this issue significant to your community?

Use a mix of qualitative and quantitative data to support your claims. This could include statistics from reputable sources, expert opinions, or findings from community surveys.

Demonstrate Your Research

Show grant reviewers that your organization has a deep understanding of the issue. Reference recent studies or community assessments. If you've conducted original research, highlight key findings. This demonstrates your organization's commitment and expertise in addressing the need.

Address Existing Efforts

As we mentioned earlier, you can acknowledge other initiatives addressing similar issues in your community. Then, clearly explain why there's still an unmet need. Highlight how your proposed project will fill gaps or complement existing services without criticizing other organizations.

statement3

Illustrate Potential Impact

After outlining the problem, provide a glimpse of what success could look like. Describe how your community would benefit if your project received funding. Use specific, measurable outcomes to make your vision tangible.

Keep it Concise and Focused

Aim for a statement of need that is comprehensive yet concise. Typically, 2-4 well-crafted paragraphs should suffice. Ensure each sentence contributes meaningfully to your argument.

Highlight Your Organization's Unique Qualifications

Explain why your organization is particularly well-suited to address this need. This could include your track record, specialized expertise, or unique approach. Be confident in stating your qualifications without overstating them.

Remember, an effective statement of need balances emotional appeal with factual evidence. It should leave readers with a clear understanding of the problem and a sense of urgency to support your solution.

Tip: Before finalizing your statement of need, have somebody unfamiliar with your project review it. If they can clearly articulate the problem and your proposed solution after reading, you've crafted a strong statement.

Examples of Compelling Statements of Need

statement4

To illustrate the principles we've discussed, let's look at two example statements of need for different organizations. These examples demonstrate how to integrate data, context, and urgency into a concise, compelling narrative.

Example 1: Urban Youth Education Initiative

"In Metro City, the high school dropout rate has reached a critical 35%, significantly higher than the national average of 15%. This translates to approximately 3,000 students annually leaving school without the fundamental skills necessary for gainful employment or higher education. The economic impact is severe: high school dropouts in our city earn an average of $10,000 less annually than graduates.

The repercussions extend beyond individuals. Our city's unemployment rate is three percentage points higher than neighboring urban areas, and local businesses report difficulty finding qualified entry-level workers. Moreover, the cycle perpetuates: children of parents without a high school diploma are 40% more likely to drop out themselves, according to a recent study by Metro University.

While existing programs have made strides, they currently reach only 25% of at-risk students. Our proposed "Stay in School" initiative aims to fill this gap by providing targeted interventions to the remaining 75%, potentially increasing the graduation rate by up to 10% within three years.

Urban Youth Education Initiative is uniquely positioned to address this crisis. With our decade-long track record of successful youth mentorship programs and partnerships with 15 local high schools, we have the infrastructure and community trust to implement this program effectively. Our team includes former educators and social workers who have firsthand experience with the challenges these students face.

The need for action is urgent. Every year we delay, another cohort of students risks leaving school without the tools they need to succeed. By addressing this issue now, we can break the cycle of educational underachievement and create lasting positive change in Metro City."

Example 2: GreenSpace Community Gardens

"In the densely populated Riverside neighborhood of Urbanville, 40% of residents live in a food desert, lacking access to fresh, affordable produce within a mile of their homes. This affects approximately 25,000 individuals, predominantly in low-income households. According to the Urbanville Health Department, this area also has rates of obesity and diet-related diseases 20% higher than the city average.

The root causes are complex: limited grocery stores in the area, high poverty rates restricting food budgets, and lack of transportation options to reach supermarkets in other neighborhoods. A community survey conducted by GreenSpace revealed that 75% of residents express a desire for better access to fresh vegetables but feel limited by their circumstances.

While food banks provide some relief, they often struggle to offer fresh produce. The city's lone farmers market is located 3 miles away, inaccessible to many Riverside residents without cars. Our proposed "Grow Riverside" project aims to establish five community gardens in strategically located vacant lots, providing both immediate access to fresh produce and educational opportunities in nutrition and gardening.

GreenSpace Community Gardens has a proven model, having successfully established and maintained three community gardens in similar urban environments over the past five years. Our team includes master gardeners, nutritionists, and community organizers with deep ties to Riverside. We've already secured partnerships with two local schools and a senior center to ensure broad community engagement.

The potential impact is significant. Similar projects in other cities have shown a 15% increase in vegetable consumption among participants and a 10% decrease in household food insecurity within the first year. Moreover, these gardens create green spaces that improve mental health and community cohesion, addressing multiple facets of well-being. The time to act is now. With each passing season, Riverside residents continue to lack access to the nutrition they need. By implementing "Grow Riverside," we can plant the seeds of health and community resilience that will bear fruit for generations to come."

Summary of Examples

These examples demonstrate how to effectively incorporate the key elements of a strong statement of need:

They start with clear, data-driven problem definitions. They provide context, explaining who is affected and why the issue is significant. They demonstrate thorough research, citing specific studies and surveys. They address existing efforts and explain how the proposed projects fill gaps. They illustrate potential impact with specific, measurable outcomes. They highlight the organizations' unique qualifications to address the needs. They create a sense of urgency, emphasizing the importance of immediate action.

By following these examples and incorporating our tips, you can craft a compelling statement of need that effectively communicates your project's importance and increases your chances of securing grant funding.

statement5

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Creating a strong statement of need requires understanding your community's challenges, a clear vision for change, and persuasive communication. Follow the guidelines and examples in this blog to build a narrative that resonates with funders and strengthens your grant proposal. Research, refine, and perfect this crucial element to increase your chances of securing the necessary funding.

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  • How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples

How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples

Published on 8 November 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George.

A problem statement is a concise and concrete summary of the research problem you seek to address. It should:

  • Contextualise the problem. What do we already know?
  • Describe the exact issue your research will address. What do we still need to know?
  • Show the relevance of the problem. Why do we need to know more about this?
  • Set the objectives of the research. What will you do to find out more?

Table of contents

When should you write a problem statement, step 1: contextualise the problem, step 2: show why it matters, step 3: set your aims and objectives.

Problem statement example

Frequently asked questions about problem statements

There are various situations in which you might have to write a problem statement.

In the business world, writing a problem statement is often the first step in kicking off an improvement project. In this case, the problem statement is usually a stand-alone document.

In academic research, writing a problem statement can help you contextualise and understand the significance of your research problem. It is often several paragraphs long, and serves as the basis for your research proposal . Alternatively, it can be condensed into just a few sentences in your introduction .

A problem statement looks different depending on whether you’re dealing with a practical, real-world problem or a theoretical issue. Regardless, all problem statements follow a similar process.

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The problem statement should frame your research problem, giving some background on what is already known.

Practical research problems

For practical research, focus on the concrete details of the situation:

  • Where and when does the problem arise?
  • Who does the problem affect?
  • What attempts have been made to solve the problem?

Theoretical research problems

For theoretical research, think about the scientific, social, geographical and/or historical background:

  • What is already known about the problem?
  • Is the problem limited to a certain time period or geographical area?
  • How has the problem been defined and debated in the scholarly literature?

The problem statement should also address the relevance of the research. Why is it important that the problem is addressed?

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to do something groundbreaking or world-changing. It’s more important that the problem is researchable, feasible, and clearly addresses a relevant issue in your field.

Practical research is directly relevant to a specific problem that affects an organisation, institution, social group, or society more broadly. To make it clear why your research problem matters, you can ask yourself:

  • What will happen if the problem is not solved?
  • Who will feel the consequences?
  • Does the problem have wider relevance? Are similar issues found in other contexts?

Sometimes theoretical issues have clear practical consequences, but sometimes their relevance is less immediately obvious. To identify why the problem matters, ask:

  • How will resolving the problem advance understanding of the topic?
  • What benefits will it have for future research?
  • Does the problem have direct or indirect consequences for society?

Finally, the problem statement should frame how you intend to address the problem. Your goal here should not be to find a conclusive solution, but rather to propose more effective approaches to tackling or understanding it.

The research aim is the overall purpose of your research. It is generally written in the infinitive form:

  • The aim of this study is to determine …
  • This project aims to explore …
  • This research aims to investigate …

The research objectives are the concrete steps you will take to achieve the aim:

  • Qualitative methods will be used to identify …
  • This work will use surveys to collect …
  • Using statistical analysis, the research will measure …

The aims and objectives should lead directly to your research questions.

Learn how to formulate research questions

You can use these steps to write your own problem statement, like the example below.

Step 1: Contextualise the problem A family-owned shoe manufacturer has been in business in New England for several generations, employing thousands of local workers in a variety of roles, from assembly to supply-chain to customer service and retail. Employee tenure in the past always had an upward trend, with the average employee staying at the company for 10+ years. However, in the past decade, the trend has reversed, with some employees lasting only a few months, and others leaving abruptly after many years.

Step 2: Show why it matters As the perceived loyalty of their employees has long been a source of pride for the company, they employed an outside consultant firm to see why there was so much turnover. The firm focused on the new hires, concluding that a rival shoe company located in the next town offered higher hourly wages and better “perks”, such as pizza parties. They claimed this was what was leading employees to switch. However, to gain a fuller understanding of why the turnover persists even after the consultant study, in-depth qualitative research focused on long-term employees is also needed. Focusing on why established workers leave can help develop a more telling reason why turnover is so high, rather than just due to salaries. It can also potentially identify points of change or conflict in the company’s culture that may cause workers to leave.

Step 3: Set your aims and objectives This project aims to better understand why established workers choose to leave the company. Qualitative methods such as surveys and interviews will be conducted comparing the views of those who have worked 10+ years at the company and chose to stay, compared with those who chose to leave.

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement.

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

Research objectives describe what you intend your research project to accomplish.

They summarise the approach and purpose of the project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement .

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis – a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

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What Is Project 2025, and Why Is Trump Disavowing It?

The Biden campaign has attacked Donald J. Trump’s ties to the conservative policy plan that would amass power in the executive branch, though it is not his official platform.

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Kevin Roberts, wearing a dark suit and blue tie and speaking into a microphone at a lectern. The lectern says, “National Religious Broadcasters, nrb.org.”

By Simon J. Levien

Donald J. Trump has gone to great lengths to distance himself from Project 2025, a set of conservative policy proposals for a future Republican administration that has outraged Democrats. He has claimed he knows nothing about it or the people involved in creating it.

Mr. Trump himself was not behind the project. But some of his allies were.

The document, its origins and the interplay between it and the Trump campaign have made for one of the most hotly debated questions of the 2024 race.

Here is what to know about Project 2025, and who is behind it.

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025 was spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation and like-minded conservative groups before Mr. Trump officially entered the 2024 race. The Heritage Foundation is a think tank that has shaped the personnel and policies of Republican administrations since the Reagan presidency.

The project was intended as a buffet of options for the Trump administration or any other Republican presidency. It’s the latest installment in the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Leadership series, which has compiled conservative policy proposals every few years since 1981. But no previous study has been as sweeping in its recommendations — or as widely discussed.

Kevin Roberts, the head of the Heritage Foundation, which began putting together the latest document in 2022, said he thought the American government would embrace a more conservative era, one that he hoped Republicans would usher in.

“We are in the process of the second American Revolution,” Mr. Roberts said on Real America’s Voice, a right-wing cable channel, in early July, adding pointedly that the revolt “will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

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Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

At michigan state university, call for proposals for pac period 3 for non-proprietary research.

16 July 2024

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) is a  U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC) User Facility , open to all interested researchers, subject to applicable laws and DOE-SC regulations. Beam time for non-proprietary experiments is granted based on a merit review of proposals. There is no charge for users who are doing non-proprietary work, with the understanding that they are expected to publish their results. 

With this call, we invite proposals for beam time to be considered at the third meeting of the FRIB Program Advisory Committee (PAC3) in January 2025. All proposals for review by FRIB PAC3 need to be submitted online by 11 pm EST on 9 October 2024 to allow for scientific and technical review of the proposals prior to the PAC3 meeting.

FRIB PAC3 will consider proposals for experiments using fast, stopped and reaccelerated rare-isotope  beams from the FRIB linac. Newly offered for PAC3: 

  • Additional primary beams from the FRIB linac and increased primary beam intensity (see the FRIB beams page ); 
  • The S2 vault is an experimental area that will house the Sweeper magnet and the MoNA/LISA neutron array. The S2 beamline will also have space for auxiliary instruments and may be used as a general purpose beamline

Please review the  Areas and Instruments in Operation  page for a list of experimental areas and instruments that are available at FRIB . In preparation of proposals, all users are expected to follow the  FRIB Research Code of Conduct .

Members of the FRIB PAC are listed on the  Program Advisory Committee page. The contents of this Call for Proposals can be found on the  Call for Proposals for PAC Period 3 for Non-Proprietary Research  page.

Timeline for FRIB PAC3

11 September 2024   Last date for rare isotope beam rate requests
9 October 2024Proposals submitted online by 11 p.m. EST
January 2025FRIB PAC3 Meeting
January 2025List of approved experiments posted to the FRIB website and spokespersons notified

The FRIB Scientific Director, Alexandra Gade, is the non-voting PAC convener and the Manager for User Relations, Jill Berryman, is the PAC administrator. 

Beam information

The  FRIB PAC3 beams page  provides:

  • available FRIB primary beams
  • estimates for rare isotope beam rates 
  • beam list for stand-alone operation at ReA3, ReA6, or the stopped beam area

FRIB Rare Isotope Scientists will assist in calculation of beam rates and purities, and will need to validate any assumed rare isotope beam rates prior to proposal submission. Once you have decided on an isotope of interest for the proposal, please contact Jill Berryman , Manager for User Relations, to be assigned a Rare Isotope Scientist Contact. The Rare Isotope Scientist Contact will help you with the detailed calculation of the beam(s) you wish to propose for your experiment. The deadline for making your request is 11 September 2024. FRIB rare isotope scientists strive for a two-week response time for requests.

Workforce Development/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) impact

The proposal form includes a required section on Workforce Development/DEI impact. Outcomes from the proposed work to support training and workforce diversity, equity, and development of an inclusive community should be listed. 

Collaboration organization 

The proposal form includes a required section on Collaboration Organization. Please provide a brief statement on collaboration organization that addresses the following points:

  • Responsibilities of participants, 
  • How conflicts will be resolved, 
  • How the collaboration will interface with FRIB. 

The PAC will use this information to assess how likely the collaboration will be able to carry out the proposed work.  Examples of what could be used for this section are available on the Collaboration Organization Guidelines page.

Submitting your proposal

The contact spokesperson of the experiment must register on the FRIB User Portal  to start their proposal. After registering, navigate to the Proposal Application. The Proposal Application will walk the contact spokesperson through all of the necessary information including: 

  • New for PAC3: Can specify if the proposal has applied interest (for example, isotope production, stockpile stewardship, radiation effects, nuclear energy applications) and/or can specify that the proposal would benefit from a PAC reviewer familiar with and cleared to discuss measurements relevant to the NNSA mission
  • Note: All participants must be registered in the FRIB User Portal prior to being added to the proposal
  • New for PAC3: Co-spokespeople may edit the proposal as well as the contact spokesperson
  • beam type, location/beamline, instruments
  • scheduling information
  • special requests
  • status of previous experiments at FRIB
  • workforce development/DEI impact (see above)
  • collaboration organization (see above)
  • beam parameter worksheets 
  • instrument worksheets
  • safety information 
  • the proposal text

The body of the proposal, or proposal text, can be uploaded directly in the Proposal Application as a pdf. The proposal text should be no more than four 8.5x11 in pages, 10 pt Arial font, 1.5 spaced, with additional pages allowed for references, tables, and figures.  Please include the following in the proposal text:

  • Scientific motivation
  • Specific goals of the proposed experiment
  • what is to be measured;
  • figure/diagram of experimental instrument;
  • demonstration of technical feasibility of measurement (by simulation and/or reference to prior work);
  • justification for beam on target time requested 
  • counting rate estimates (including assumptions), expected statistics, and level of uncertainty in the final measurement;
  • explanation of other time requested (include time for debugging the experimental setup, calibrations, any test runs, and any stable beam runs necessary for reference, etc.);
  • an indication of present state of readiness of the experiment and an estimated earliest date for the run;
  • a clear statement of any technical assistance (design, fabrication, installation, etc.) that may be requested from FRIB;
  • list of items that would be brought to FRIB;

Proposal evaluation

The PAC evaluation is based on:

  • The full scientific value of the results
  • The technical feasibility of the proposal
  • The ability and past record of the collaboration to successfully conduct the proposed experiment, including the status of previously approved experiments at FRIB
  • The ability and past record of the collaboration to publish results in a timely manner

A first and second specialist reviewer will be assigned to each proposal. There will be no oral presentations, but at the latest 10 days prior to the PAC3 meeting, the reviewers may submit questions to the spokespersons. The questions and responses will be made available to all PAC members. 

Based on its evaluation, the PAC will make recommendations for allocation of beam to the FRIB Laboratory Director. The FRIB Laboratory Director will decide what beam time is granted. Approximately 5 percent of beam time will be reserved for discretionary experiments. Approved proposals will be valid for a two-year period.

Technical review

Prior to the PAC meeting, technical experts (FRIB staff members) will review each proposal to assess its technical feasibility from the point of view of FRIB. Any issues identified in the technical review will be promptly communicated to the spokesperson of the proposal, and the issue(s) along with response(s) from the spokesperson will be distributed to the PAC. FRIB staff having access to pre-decisional proposals attest to disclose all actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest during the review.

Safety and compliance

FRIB users must perform their experiments safely and within the FRIB regulatory framework. To allow us to assess any hazards associated with the specific experimental set-up, the Safety Information Worksheet must be completed as part of the proposal package. FRIB safety experts will review all proposals upon receipt for safety issues. Any findings identified in the safety review will be promptly communicated to the spokesperson of the proposal, and the finding(s) along with response(s) from the spokesperson will be distributed to the PAC. For approved proposals, any specialized or non-commercial equipment brought to FRIB will require an evaluation be prepared with FRIB staff to review potential hazards and planned mitigation strategies. Transportation of all radioactive source materials and activated materials (for example, targets) must comply with the FRIB Laboratory radioactive materials license and must be approved in writing by the FRIB Laboratory Radiation Safety Officer. 

Letters of intent

Letters of Intent will be accepted for the following: Programs that require significant investments in new instruments, requests for new beams or beam properties, and ideas for future experiments utilizing GRETA with reaccelerated beams 1 . Letters of Intent describing future proposals utilizing GRETA with reaccelerated beams should—in addition to the science case—describe any auxiliary detectors that would be used and the required beam intensity needed for a successful measurement. The Letter of Intent may be sent to the Manager for User Relations as a pdf. The sender of the Letter of Intent will receive feedback from the PAC on how a proposal for the science described might be received in the future and may receive guidance on what would be expected in a full proposal.

Proposals will be kept confidential as allowed by State of Michigan law, but will be available to PAC members, FRIB operations, and technical staff as needed.

Please contact the Manager for User Relations Jill Berryman with any questions you may have.

1 Once GRETA is operational at FRIB, the array will be offered for S800 and ReA experiments at a future PAC.

Watch CBS News

What is Project 2025? What to know about the conservative blueprint for a second Trump administration

By Melissa Quinn , Jacob Rosen

Updated on: July 11, 2024 / 9:40 AM EDT / CBS News

Washington — Voters in recent weeks have begun to hear the name "Project 2025" invoked more and more by President Biden and Democrats, as they seek to sound the alarm about what could be in store if former President Donald Trump wins a second term in the White House.

Overseen by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the multi-pronged initiative includes a detailed blueprint for the next Republican president to usher in a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch.

Trump and his campaign have worked to distance themselves from Project 2025, with the former president going so far as to call some of the proposals "abysmal." But Democrats have continued to tie the transition project to Trump, especially as they find themselves mired in their own controversy over whether Mr. Biden should withdraw from the 2024 presidential contest following his startling debate performance last month.

Here is what to know about Project 2025:

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025 is a proposed presidential transition project that is composed of four pillars: a policy guide for the next presidential administration; a LinkedIn-style database of personnel who could serve in the next administration; training for that pool of candidates dubbed the "Presidential Administration Academy;" and a playbook of actions to be taken within the first 180 days in office.

It is led by two former Trump administration officials: Paul Dans, who was chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management and serves as director of the project, and Spencer Chretien, former special assistant to Trump and now the project's associate director.

Project 2025 is spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation, but includes an advisory board consisting of more than 100 conservative groups.

Much of the focus on — and criticism of — Project 2025 involves its first pillar, the nearly 900-page policy book that lays out an overhaul of the federal government. Called "Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise," the book builds on a "Mandate for Leadership" first published in January 1981, which sought to serve as a roadmap for Ronald Reagan's incoming administration.

The recommendations outlined in the sprawling plan reach every corner of the executive branch, from the Executive Office of the President to the Department of Homeland Security to the little-known Export-Import Bank. 

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with advisers in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D,C., on June 25, 2019.

The Heritage Foundation also created a "Mandate for Leadership" in 2015 ahead of Trump's first term. Two years into his presidency, it touted that Trump had instituted 64% of its policy recommendations, ranging from leaving the Paris Climate Accords, increasing military spending, and increasing off-shore drilling and developing federal lands. In July 2020, the Heritage Foundation gave its updated version of the book to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. 

The authors of many chapters are familiar names from the Trump administration, such as Russ Vought, who led the Office of Management and Budget; former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller; and Roger Severino, who was director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Vought is the policy director for the 2024 Republican National Committee's platform committee, which released its proposed platform on Monday. 

John McEntee, former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office under Trump, is a senior advisor to the Heritage Foundation, and said that the group will "integrate a lot of our work" with the Trump campaign when the official transition efforts are announced in the next few months.

Candidates interested in applying for the Heritage Foundation's "Presidential Personnel Database" are vetted on a number of political stances, such as whether they agree or disagree with statements like "life has a right to legal protection from conception to natural death," and "the President should be able to advance his/her agenda through the bureaucracy without hindrance from unelected federal officials."

The contributions from ex-Trump administration officials have led its critics to tie Project 2025 to his reelection campaign, though the former president has attempted to distance himself from the initiative.

What are the Project 2025 plans?

Some of the policies in the Project 2025 agenda have been discussed by Republicans for years or pushed by Trump himself: less federal intervention in education and more support for school choice; work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults on food stamps; and a secure border with increased enforcement of immigration laws, mass deportations and construction of a border wall. 

But others have come under scrutiny in part because of the current political landscape. 

Abortion and social issues

In recommendations for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agenda calls for the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its 24-year-old approval of the widely used abortion pill mifepristone. Other proposed actions targeting medication abortion include reinstating more stringent rules for mifepristone's use, which would permit it to be taken up to seven weeks into a pregnancy, instead of the current 10 weeks, and requiring it to be dispensed in-person instead of through the mail.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that is on the Project 2025 advisory board, was involved in a legal challenge to mifepristone's 2000 approval and more recent actions from the FDA that made it easier to obtain. But the Supreme Court rejected the case brought by a group of anti-abortion rights doctors and medical associations on procedural grounds.

The policy book also recommends the Justice Department enforce the Comstock Act against providers and distributors of abortion pills. That 1873 law prohibits drugs, medicines or instruments used in abortions from being sent through the mail.

US-NEWS-SCOTUS-ABORTION-PILL-NEWSOM-TB

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade , the volume states that the Justice Department "in the next conservative administration should therefore announce its intent to enforce federal law against providers and distributors of such pills."

The guide recommends the next secretary of Health and Human Services get rid of the Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force established by the Biden administration before Roe's reversal and create a "pro-life task force to ensure that all of the department's divisions seek to use their authority to promote the life and health of women and their unborn children."

In a section titled "The Family Agenda," the proposal recommends the Health and Human Services chief "proudly state that men and women are biological realities," and that "married men and women are the ideal, natural family structure because all children have a right to be raised by the men and women who conceived them."

Further, a program within the Health and Human Services Department should "maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family."

During his first four years in office, Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military. Mr. Biden reversed that policy , but the Project 2025 policy book calls for the ban to be reinstated.

Targeting federal agencies, employees and policies

The agenda takes aim at longstanding federal agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. The agency is a component of the Commerce Department and the policy guide calls for it to be downsized. 

NOAA's six offices, including the National Weather Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, "form a colossal operation that has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future U.S. prosperity," the guide states. 

The Department of Homeland Security, established in 2002, should be dismantled and its agencies either combined with others, or moved under the purview of other departments altogether, the policy book states. For example, immigration-related entities from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Health and Human Services should form a standalone, Cabinet-level border and immigration agency staffed by more than 100,000 employees, according to the agenda.

The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen on a law enforcement vehicle in Washington on March 7, 2017.

If the policy recommendations are implemented, another federal agency that could come under the knife by the next administration, with action from Congress, is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agenda seeks to bring a push by conservatives to target diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, initiatives in higher education to the executive branch by wiping away a slew of DEI-related positions, policies and programs and calling for the elimination of funding for partners that promote DEI practices.

It states that U.S. Agency for International Development staff and grantees that "engage in ideological agitation on behalf of the DEI agenda" should be terminated. At the Treasury Department, the guide says the next administration should "treat the participation in any critical race theory or DEI initiative without objecting on constitutional or moral grounds, as per se grounds for termination of employment."

The Project 2025 policy book also takes aim at more innocuous functions of government. It calls for the next presidential administration to eliminate or reform the dietary guidelines that have been published by the Department of Agriculture for more than 40 years, which the authors claim have been "infiltrated" by issues like climate change and sustainability.

Immigration

Trump made immigration a cornerstone of his last two presidential runs and has continued to hammer the issue during his 2024 campaign. Project 2025's agenda not only recommends finishing the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but urges the next administration to "take a creative and aggressive approach" to responding to drug cartels at the border. This approach includes using active-duty military personnel and the National Guard to help with arrest operations along the southern border.

A memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that prohibits enforcement actions from taking place at "sensitive" places like schools, playgrounds and churches should be rolled back, the policy guide states. 

When the Homeland Security secretary determines there is an "actual or anticipated mass migration of aliens" that presents "urgent circumstances" warranting a federal response, the agenda says the secretary can make rules and regulations, including through their expulsion, for as long as necessary. These rules, the guide states, aren't subject to the Administration Procedure Act, which governs the agency rule-making process.

What do Trump and his advisers say about Project 2025?

In a post to his social media platform on July 5, Trump wrote , "I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them."

Trump's pushback to the initiative came after Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said in a podcast interview that the nation is "in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be."

The former president continued to disavow the initiative this week, writing in another social media post  that he knows nothing about Project 2025.

"I have not seen it, have no idea who is in charge of it, and, unlike our very well received Republican Platform, had nothing to do with it," Trump wrote. "The Radical Left Democrats are having a field day, however, trying to hook me into whatever policies are stated or said. It is pure disinformation on their part. By now, after all of these years, everyone knows where I stand on EVERYTHING!"

While the former president said he doesn't know who is in charge of the initiative, the project's director, Dans, and associate director, Chretien, were high-ranking officials in his administration. Additionally, Ben Carson, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Trump; John Ratcliffe, former director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration; and Peter Navarro, who served as a top trade adviser to Trump in the White House, are listed as either authors or contributors to the policy agenda.

Still, even before Roberts' comments during "The War Room" podcast — typically hosted by conservative commentator Steve Bannon, who reported to federal prison to begin serving a four-month sentence last week — Trump's top campaign advisers have stressed that Project 2025 has no official ties to his reelection bid.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, senior advisers to the Trump campaign, said in a November statement that 2024 policy announcements will be made by Trump or his campaign team.

"Any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions," they said.

While the efforts by outside organizations are "appreciated," Wiles and LaCivita said, "none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign."

In response to Trump's post last week, Project 2025 reiterated that it was separate from the Trump campaign.

"As we've been saying for more than two years now, Project 2025 does not speak for any candidate or campaign. We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy & personnel recommendations for the next conservative president. But it is ultimately up to that president, who we believe will be President Trump, to decide which recommendations to implement," a statement on the project's X account said.

The initiative has also pushed back on Democrats' claims about its policy proposals and accused them of lying about what the agenda contains.

What do Democrats say?

Despite their attempts to keep some distance from Project 2025, Democrats continue to connect Trump with the transition effort. The Biden-Harris campaign frequently posts about the project on X, tying it to a second Trump term.

Mr. Biden himself accused his Republican opponent of lying about his connections to the Project 2025 agenda, saying in a statement that the agenda was written for Trump and "should scare every single American." He claimed on his campaign social media account  Wednesday that Project 2025 "will destroy America."

Congressional Democrats have also begun pivoting to Project 2025 when asked in interviews about Mr. Biden's fitness for a second term following his lackluster showing at the June 27 debate, the first in which he went head-to-head with Trump.

"Trump is all about Project 2025," Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman told CNN on Monday. "I mean, that's what we really should be voting on right now. It's like, do we want the kind of president that is all about Project '25?"

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, one of Mr. Biden's closest allies on Capitol Hill, told reporters Monday that the agenda for the next Republican president was the sole topic he would talk about.

"Project 2025, that's my only concern," he said. "I don't want you or my granddaughter to live under that government."

In a statement reiterating her support for Mr. Biden, Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida called Project 2025 "MAGA Republicans' draconian 920-page plan to end U.S. democracy, give handouts to the wealthy and strip Americans of their freedoms."

What are Republicans saying about Project 2025?

Two GOP senators under consideration to serve as Trump's running mate sought to put space between the White House hopeful and Project 2025, casting it as merely the product of a think tank that puts forth ideas.

"It's the work of a think tank, of a center-right think tank, and that's what think tanks do," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

He said Trump's message to voters focuses on "restoring common sense, working-class values, and making our decisions on the basis of that."

Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance raised a similar sentiment in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," saying organizations will have good ideas and bad ideas.

"It's a 900-page document," he said Sunday. "I guarantee there are things that Trump likes and dislikes about that 900-page document. But he is the person who will determine the agenda of the next administration."

Jaala Brown contributed to this report.

Melissa Quinn is a politics reporter for CBSNews.com. She has written for outlets including the Washington Examiner, Daily Signal and Alexandria Times. Melissa covers U.S. politics, with a focus on the Supreme Court and federal courts.

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IMAGES

  1. 12+ Research Problem Statement Templates in PDF

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  2. Research Problem Statement Examples

    how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

  3. 50 Printable Problem Statement Templates (MS Word) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

  4. FREE 14+ Research Proposal Problem Statement Samples in PDF, DOC

    how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

  5. Example of Problem Statement in Research Proposal

    how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

  6. 50 Printable Problem Statement Templates (MS Word) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to make statement of the problem in research proposal

VIDEO

  1. what is Research Problem

  2. 10 Effective Tips for writing Problem statement

  3. Thesis Proposal Writing Guideline -1

  4. Lecture 7: Writing a Grant Proposal or A Research proposal

  5. Statement of the Problem

  6. Basic Content of Senior Essay & Thesis research Proposal

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Problem Statement

    Step 3: Set your aims and objectives. Finally, the problem statement should frame how you intend to address the problem. Your goal here should not be to find a conclusive solution, but rather to propose more effective approaches to tackling or understanding it. The research aim is the overall purpose of your research.

  2. How to Write a Statement of a Problem in Research

    Step 1: Understanding the Problem. The problem statement should provide a clear and concise background to the research problem you are investigating. Before starting your research, review the literature about the specific problem and find a gap to fill with your own research. Practical Research Problem Statement.

  3. What is a Problem Statement? [with examples]

    The purpose of the problem statement is to identify the issue that is a concern and focus it in a way that allows it to be studied in a systematic way. It defines the problem and proposes a way to research a solution, or demonstrates why further information is needed in order for a solution to become possible.

  4. How to Write a Statement of the Problem for Your Research Proposal

    Developing a 'good' research problem statement, therefore, involves systematic planning and setting time-based, realistic objectives. Your problem has to be achievable. You'll also need to apply feasible research methods based on an approach that best suits the research question. Your methods have to make sense.

  5. The basics of writing a statement of the problem for your research proposal

    The ultimate goal of a statement of the problem is to transform a generalized problem (something that bothers you; a perceived lack) into a targeted, well-defined problem; one that can be resolved through focused research and careful decision-making. Writing a statement of the problem should help you clearly identify the purpose of the research ...

  6. What is a Problem Statement in Research? How to Write It with Examples

    How to write a problem statement in research proposal. The format of a problem statement might vary based on the nature and subject of the research; there is no set format. It is typically written in clear, concise sentences and can range from a few sentences to a few pages. ... Examples of problem statement in research proposal. To put what we ...

  7. How to Write a Problem Statement in Research with Examples

    If you write a statement of the problem for a research proposal, then you could include it as a separate section at the very beginning of the main text (unless you are given a specific different structure or different headings, however, then you will have to adapt to that). If your problem statement is part of a research paper manuscript for ...

  8. The Research Problem & Problem Statement

    A research problem can be theoretical in nature, focusing on an area of academic research that is lacking in some way. Alternatively, a research problem can be more applied in nature, focused on finding a practical solution to an established problem within an industry or an organisation. In other words, theoretical research problems are motivated by the desire to grow the overall body of ...

  9. How to Write a Statement of the Problem in Research

    Your problem statement in your research paper aims to: Define the gap: Clearly identify and articulate a specific gap or issue in the existing knowledge. Provide direction: Serve as a roadmap, guiding the course of your research and ensuring you remain focused. Establish relevance: Highlight the importance and significance of the problem in the ...

  10. How to Write a Problem Statement for Your Research Proposal

    Make sure your problem statement flows logically from the problem to its significance to your research objectives. 6. Check for Consistency. Ensure that your problem statement aligns with the rest of your research proposal. The problem you outline should clearly connect to your research questions, methodology, and expected outcomes. 7. Use ...

  11. Problem Statement

    Here are some general steps to follow when writing a problem statement: Identify the problem: Clearly identify the problem that needs to be addressed. Consider the context, stakeholders, and potential consequences of the problem. Research the problem: Conduct research to gather data and information about the problem.

  12. How to write a problem statement

    The format of a problem statement. When you write your problem statement, split it into four sections: Problem: Here, simply define what your problem is, clearly and concisely. Make it no longer than one or two sentences. Background: This is the section where you can describe what causes the problem, how often it occurs, where and when it ...

  13. How to write a statement of problem for your research proposal

    Sep 14, 2018. The statement of the problem is a crucial part of a research proposal. It is therefore, very important to write a well-articulated and persuasive problem statement for your research proposal. However, many researchers find this task difficult. This podcast will teach you how write a problem statement in 3 easy steps.

  14. How to write a statement of the problem in research?

    The basics of writing a statement of the problem for your research proposal [Downloadable template] 8 Things to remember when writing a statement of the problem; 3 Easy steps to write an effective statement of problem; Please go through these tutorials carefully and try to come up with a problem statement for your research.

  15. How to Write a Problem Statement (With 3 Examples)

    Gather data and observe. Use data from research and reports, as well as facts from direct observation to answer the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. Whenever possible, get out in the field and talk directly with stakeholders impacted by the problem. Get a firsthand look at the work environment and equipment.

  16. How to Write a Problem Statement for your Research

    That said, here are some things you should have at the back of your mind as you craft a problem statement for your research paper. 1. Make sure your problem statement is straight to the point. Every sentence should reinforce the importance of your study. 2. Narrow the scope of your problem statement.

  17. HOW TO WRITE A SIMPLE PROBLEM STATEMENT IN 4 STEPS WITH ...

    From the statements the problem is low uptake of technological advancements and this is. localized or experienced in South African low income earning villages. STEP 3: The Gap the Research Intends ...

  18. How to write the problem statement for your research

    The statement of a problem defines and describes the research hypothesis or question(s), along with the broad method that will be used to solve the problem. The statement of the problem serves as the basis for the introductory section of your project proposal. A well-formulated statement of the problem sets the stage for the rest of your study ...

  19. How to Write a Problem Statement for Your Research: A ...

    In this video, I will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write Problem Statement of your research paper, thesis, dissertation, or research proje...

  20. PDF How to write an effective research problem statement

    The answer is yes, for at least three reasons. 1) branding is important - a good title will help the reviewer establish a connection with your proposal 2) a negative first impression will likely linger with the reviewer while reading the rest of the problem statement, and 3) if the title is confusing, chances are the rest of the problem ...

  21. How to Write a Statement of Need for Grants

    This section of your proposal sets the stage for your entire project, highlighting why your work is necessary and impactful. Let's break down the key elements of a strong needs statement. Start with a Clear Problem Definition. Begin your statement by clearly articulating the issue your organization aims to address.

  22. How to Write a Problem Statement

    Step 3: Set your aims and objectives. Finally, the problem statement should frame how you intend to address the problem. Your goal here should not be to find a conclusive solution, but rather to propose more effective approaches to tackling or understanding it. The research aim is the overall purpose of your research.

  23. What Is Project 2025, and Who Is Behind It?

    The Biden campaign has attacked Donald J. Trump's ties to the conservative policy plan that would amass power in the executive branch, though it is not his official platform. By Simon J. Levien ...

  24. Secret Service faces serious questions about security footprint and

    Notably, the shooter's location was outside the security perimeter, raising questions about both the size of the perimeter and efforts to sweep and secure the American Glass Research building ...

  25. Suspect came within inches of killing Trump, but left few clues as to

    Crooks was employed as a dietary aide at a nursing home at the time of the shooting, the home's administrator said in a statement.

  26. Q: How to write a problem statement for my research?

    Answer: A research problem is an area of concern or a gap in the existing knowledge that points to the need for further understanding and investigation. A problem statement is used in research work as a claim that outlines the problem addressed by a study. The problem statement briefly explains the problem that the research will address.

  27. Call for proposals for PAC Period 3 for non-proprietary research

    The body of the proposal, or proposal text, can be uploaded directly in the Proposal Application as a pdf. The proposal text should be no more than four 8.5x11 in pages, 10 pt Arial font, 1.5 spaced, with additional pages allowed for references, tables, and figures.

  28. 8 Things to remember when writing a statement of the problem

    Infographic: 8 Things to remember when writing a statement of the problem. For any research project, the first and most important step is to identify and delineate the research problem i.e. to define the gap in existing knowledge that your research will address. A statement of the problem helps you outline and present this research problem in a ...

  29. What is Project 2025? What to know about the conservative blueprint for

    In a statement reiterating her support for Mr. Biden, Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida called Project 2025 "MAGA Republicans' draconian 920-page plan to end U.S. democracy, give handouts to the ...