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7 Rules to Choose a Good Research Problem Statement for PhD Thesis

Research Problem Statement

A research problem statement is the central idea of a PhD Thesis. It is a coherent and logical statement that captures the essence of the research. The reader gets clear about your research by just reading the problem statement. A problem statement is essentially the gap identified during the literature review. It entails stating the significance of the problem and how the researcher will address the gaps in the ensuing research. Writing a strong problem statement is essential for research and should not be taken lightly. Therefore, this article will discuss the rules for choosing a good research problem statement.

What Is A Research Problem Statement?

A research problem statement is a unified statement that delineates the problem and informs the reader what it is that the researcher wants to discuss. It is basically a gap identified in the literature, and the researcher informs the reader about the significance of discussing the issue and how the undertaken research will address the identified gaps.

What Is The Purpose Of A Research Problem Statement?

A research problem statement aims to minimise the broader area of research into a specific, to-the-point problem that can be remedied with careful consideration and targeted investigation. Problem statement helps you define the goals of your research and builds the foundation of your research. It develops the readers’ interest in your research and compels them to read further about the issue. It is imperative to remember that a strong research statement discusses a specific idea and

What Are The Attributes Of A Good Research Problem Statement?

A good research problem statement is a concise and straightforward statement. It does not refer to the conclusions or the findings of the research. It captures the essence of the research and provides its gist to the reader. A good problem statement has the following features:

  • A concise, clear and straightforward statement which delineates the issue being addressed by the researcher
  • Sets the foundation of the research by contextualising it into a coherent argument and converts a broader issue into a specific and focused statement
  • Generally derived from the gap identified in the literature
  • It is a coherent and logical statement and does not contain any generalities
  • Convinces the readers about the significance of the research
  • Informs the reader about the identified gaps and how your research will address the identified gaps

How To Choose A Good Research Problem Statement?

There are two phases involved in choosing a research problem statement. The first phase encompasses the planning stage; topic identification, preliminary literature review, gap identification and writing down the reasons for selecting the specified problem.

Step 1: Identify The Research Gaps

The first step to writing a good research problem statement is to identify the research gaps in the existing literature. To accomplish this, you must select a suitable topic that matches your interests and narrow it down to a specific issue. After narrowing down the scope of your topic, you must read the existing literature on the issue. The preliminary literature review helps you identify the existing research gaps. It is imperative to read contemporary research and acquaint yourself with the latest developments and breakthroughs in your area of interest. Reading the literature requires a comparative analysis and developing a pattern of thought which helps you contextualise the issue and write down a coherent research problem.

Step 2: Why Does The Problem Matter?

The next step is to brainstorm and note down the points, delineating the significance of the problem. You must conduct this activity and find the reasons to justify the issue’s significance. Write down three to four strong reasons that highlight the importance of the issue.

The second phase pertains to the writing process, which entails the following:

Step 3: Contextualise the Research Problem

The third step entails developing the context of the research problem. Context helps the readers understand the problem easily. A workaround for this is to imagine a version of reality without the issue. Help your audience imagine how things might be different if they had never encountered this issue. For example, if you are researching on corruption in the government sector in your country, you should start by making the reader imagine how society can be better off if the problem did not exist in the first place. After explaining an alternate vision of reality, you can state the research problem that brings the reader’s attention to the seriousness of the issue.

Step 4: Justify the Significance of the Research Problem

Step 2, which pertains to brainstorming, will help you easily write down this research problem statement section. You must convince the readers why discussing this issue is imperative and why it must be addressed. You need to highlight the significance of the research problem by stating the difference it would make if the current problem would be resolved. Your task here is to provide the reasons for discussing the issue, contextualising it in light of previous attempts, their inability to address the issue, and how your research would address the problem.

Step 5: Explain the Associated Costs

PhD dissertations are lengthy projects and usually require monetary resources because the research incurs some costs related to data collection and experimentation. Therefore, while writing the research problem statement, if there are any associated costs with your research, you must include the costs in the research problem. It is also a good strategy for research proposals when you want to acquire funding to conduct your research.

Step 6: Substantiate Your Claims

It is important to substantiate your claims in the problem statement with credible evidence. It is insufficient to merely state that the problem has a negative impact or that it is a pressing issue without substantiating it with credible data. So, you must support your research problem with factual data to substantiate the claims. Writing a strong research problem statement is a difficult task, and it must be a strong statement because the entire research revolves around the main idea. So, it is always a good idea to get PhD dissertation help from professional writers, and they can compose a logical and coherent statement for your research.


A good research problem statement captures the readers attention and compels them to read more about the issue. It is a concise and coherent statement which entails stating the problem, justifying its significance and explaining to the reader how your research will address the issue.