Identification of the research problem is the most essential step to start and proceed with the research work in the PhD research study. The research problem identification process is a function of determining a generic problem in the field of research study that can be investigated to understand and find a solution to it.

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A research problem specifies an issue in the field of the study that indicates a need for meaningful investigation. An adequate statement of your research problem plays an important role in the success of your academic paper and research study. A research problem is the heart of the research study since it derives the research questions, ways to identify a research problem, research methodologies and identification of problem areas in research. It provides a framework for understanding the research findings. To identify a research problem one should find answers to these questions about what are the sources of a research problem, what is the importance of a research problem, how to identify a problem in research, how to state a problem in research, how to write a research problem, and what are the steps in the formulation of a research problem. A Researcher should research to identify knowledge gaps, the root cause of a problem, the most effective solution, and potential risks and benefits.

What is a research problem?

A research problem is a clear and definite statement about an area of concern where an investigation has to be done for improvement or for innovation and is proved by evidence. It is a statement that addresses challenges or contradictions in your field. Researchers use research problems to identify and define the aim of their study and analysis.

Identification of a research problem involves finding the research gap in existing research in a chosen field of research. The problem-identification process in research requires keen observation, interest, knowledge, wisdom and investigation to find and solve problems. There are different ways of identifying research problems, the first step is to analyse the sources of research problems. Problem identification and definition do not include evaluating outcomes. Research problems can arise from various sources, and determining them involves systematically identifying gaps in knowledge or understanding that can be addressed through research.

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People Also Ask

1. What is Problem Identification in Research?

Identification of a problem of research involves recognising and defining an issue or gap in existing knowledge that requires investigation. It is the process of pinpointing a specific topic or area that has yet to be fully explored or where there is a discrepancy between what is known and what needs to be known.

2. What is Problem Identification Research?

Problem identification research is a preliminary form of investigation focused on discovering and clarifying research problems. It involves systematically exploring various areas of knowledge to uncover issues that need further study.

3. What are the Sources of Identifying Research Problems?

a.Academic Literature, b.Professional Practice, c.Social and Environmental Observations, d. Stakeholder Input, e. Databases and Repositories

4. What is the First Step in Identifying a Research Problem?

The first step in identifying a research problem is conducting a thorough literature review, which involves Reviewing Existing Literature, Identifying Gaps and Limitations, and Formulating Questions.

5. What is the final step in the research problem identification process?

The final step in the research problem identification process is Formulation. This step involves clearly articulating the research problem into a concise problem statement. This formulation serves as the foundation for the research design, objectives, and methodology.

6. What is the Purpose of Developing a Research Title in the Research Problem Identification Process?

Developing a research title sets clear expectations, guides the organisation of the research, and facilitates the identification and review of relevant literature.

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At HIGS, you get the best customised research assistance and guidance from getting phd eligibility through phd entrance preparation to the final PhD viva preparation. Our domain experts will help you research and identify specific problem in research, types of research problems in research methodology, selection of research problem in research methodology and problem identification in research process, problem identification is the step of research. We guide the process of problem identification in research, research problem identification and sources, and identifying and defining a research problem. We provide problem identification research examples, steps to identify research problems or steps in identifying research problems, identification of the problem in research examples, identification of research problem examples or examples of problem identification research etc for scholars to get an idea of how to research. Whether you have any doubt about how to identify the problem in research or how to identify the research problem or how to identify problem in research or how can you identify a research problem, or how to find research problem or how to find the research problem in an article, we can clarify your doubts. Most students raise questions like, what is identification of problem in research, what criteria and sources for identifying the research problem, research problem identification and formulation, identifying and defining research problem, techniques of defining a research problem, problem identification steps in research, problem identification process in research methodology, identifying the problem and asking the question, identify the problem in research process. You can discuss with your domain specialists and get valuable assistance and guidance from experts.

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Research problem identification also takes place in the process of research implementation. Our implementation process takes place under the following criteria. They are,

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Our Other Services

Identifying a research problem is a crucial step in the research process, as it lays the foundation for the study's focus and direction. HIGS excels in problem definition in research, guiding researchers through the steps of identifying a research problem, and ensuring a comprehensive understanding and clear definition. We assist in pinpointing sources for research problem identification, including literature reviews, professional experiences, etc. HIGS provides expert analysis on how to identify a research problem in an article by examining gaps, inconsistencies, and areas lacking sufficient examination.

Our team specialises in utilising diverse ways to identify research problems, including problem identification research and problem solving research, ensuring that each issue is well-defined and researchable. HIGS helps researchers how to find a problem in research by leveraging academic databases, problem identification in marketing research, the importance of identifying research problem and providing tools for research topic identification. We ensure the criteria for selecting a research problem and evaluation that align with the research's goals and significance.

For detailed guidance, HIGS offers resources such as sources of research problem PDFs and identification of research problem PPTs, catering to various fields including marketing research and problem-solving research. Our experts support the research problem definition by clarifying the issue, its context, implications, selection and formulation of the research problem, thereby enhancing the study's impact and relevance.

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Importance Of Problem Identification In Research

How to identify a Research Problem?

There are 7 factors by which you can easily identify the research problem,

  1. A research problem should imply explanations not just be answered with yes or no.
  2. It should clarify justifications regarding the true situation or observation is required.
  3. A research problem must suggest a relationship between the variables of the study.
  4. The research problem should be understandable in a simple and effective manner.
  5. A researchable problem should imply the interpretation and analysis of data.
  6. A research problem typically includes the variables that are the most relevant to the study.
  7. The research problem should have a positive impact on the study field such as direct application of the results in the field.
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Characteristics of a research problem

Research problems have certain specific characteristics. It is essential to follow these aspects to get a strong research topic and content. A good research problem should have the following standards:


A good research problem should be the innovation of a new process or product or principle that is new and Original.


A good research problem should draw the attention of other people and it must be in the interest of the researcher.


A research problem should focus on the improvement in the current state of existing technology.


The aim of the research is to improve the quality of life. Therefore a research problem should bring usefulness and be beneficial to its target population.


A good research problem should provide good value for money, time, resources, and manpower while conducting the research study and should be economical.

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How To Select The Research Problem?

  • The research problem must reflect the issues that produce a void in conceptual knowledge in a particular field.
  • The research problem should be reasonable and can be analyzed through research methodology.
  • It can be practical and manageable for the researchers involved in data collection and analysis.
  • It should convey the possible sources of the research problem and should rely on the evidence and data about the research.
  • The research problem should be helpful for further research and should be specifically stated and easy to measure.
  • The data about the research problem should be accessible using correct statical techniques to get a precise result.

Types Of Research Problems

There are three kinds of research problems, they are

1. Theoretical research problems:

Theoretical research problems provide information about a specific area of study. These are observation-based and provide explanations of the problem's nature. It focuses on discovering the new concept of knowledge regardless of its practical application. Also provides solutions to problems, formulates new theories and generates new concepts by gathering information and focusing on unresolved questions.

2. Applied research problems:

Applied research problems provide suitable and practical solutions to problems. This includes the practical use of theoretical knowledge to gain information on the issue of the study. It usually includes an exploratory hypothesis and typically tests its accuracy. There are two types of applied research namely technological applied research and scientific applied research.

3. Action research problems:

Action research problems provide solutions to time-sensitive problems. The researchers develop and implement strategies to do effective research and provide solutions to problems. Usually, action research problems can be a part of a huge significant ongoing process which combines research, analysis and action. This type of problem requires wide research data to find solutions.

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How Do You Identify a Research Problem?

The foundation of any strong research project lies in identifying and defining a research problem. The process of identification involves actively seeking out and pinpointing research problems. This can be achieved through various methods, including delving into existing literature to discover gaps in knowledge or identification research focused on current events or industry trends. One important source for the identification of a research problem would be a literature review. Identifying a research problem involves several steps and approaches:

A. Literature Review

Examine Existing Research: Review academic journals, articles, books, and other scholarly materials to find gaps or unanswered questions.

Identify Trends and Gaps: Look for areas where research is outdated, conflicting, or incomplete.

B. Practical Experience

Professional Insights: Utilize your own experience or challenges faced in a professional context.

Case Studies: Analyze specific instances or case studies to identify common problems or areas for improvement.

C. Observation

Field Study: Observe real-world settings and note issues or inefficiencies.

Interviews and Surveys: Engage with stakeholders or experts to gather insights on persistent issues.

D. Theoretical Framework

Conceptual Gaps: dentify inconsistencies or gaps within existing theories.

Hypothesis Generation: Formulate potential hypotheses based on observed phenomena or theoretical inconsistencies.

What Factors Should Researchers Consider When Identifying a Research Problem?

A. Relevance and Significance:
  • Consider the importance and potential impact of solving the problem.
  • Ensure the problem is relevant to current societal, academic, or professional contexts.
B. Feasibility:
  • Evaluate if you have the necessary resources to address the problem.
  • Make sure the problem is neither too broad nor too narrow, making it manageable within the constraints of the research.
c. Availability of Data:
  • Consider the reliability and validity of potential data sources
  • Assess if relevant data or information is available or can be reasonably gathered.
D. Ethical Considerations:
  • Evaluate the ethical implications of researching the problem.
  • Ensure the problem can be investigated in a way that respects participant rights and avoids harm.
E. Originality and Novelty:
  • Identify if the problem has been explored before and if your approach offers a new perspective.
  • Consider how addressing the problem will contribute to the body of knowledge.
F. Alignment with Researcher's Expertise and Interests:
  • Ensure the research problem aligns with your own knowledge, skills, and areas of interest.
  • Consider your passion for the topic, as it will sustain motivation and commitment throughout the research process.

How To Formulate Research Problem?

There are 6 steps in the formulation of a research problem that will upgrade the scope of the research. They are

Step 1: Identify the area of interest
Choosing an area of interest is the first step in the research process. The research must be in the field and subject that was keenly interesting to the researcher since it brings enthusiasm to the research work and avoids boredom. The most important ingredient in a successful research project is the passion of the researcher.
Step 2: Learn more about problem
To learn about the problems in the study field, reading is the best way to access knowledge and become familiar with your topic area. Reading other people's research makes you familiar with what is known in the field as well as where the gaps are. Learning about problems helps to identify different sources of research problem.
Step 3: Review the perspective of information
Reviewing the context of the research involves defining components of the research problem and testing the environmental variables in the project. This helps create a focus on the components of research problem. It may also help determine which variables are present in the research.
Step 4: Determine relationships between variables
After identifying the variables involved in the research, learn how they're related to one another and how these relationships may contribute to your research problem. There are different types of variables such as independent variables, dependent variables, control variables, confounding variables, latent variables and so on.
Step 5: Select and include important variables
Selecting the essential variables can help to understand the outlook of the research and the potential impact of the solution. A clear and reasonable research problem mostly includes the components that are the most applicable to the study. The researcher has to summarise considerations and influence these variables.
Step 6: Evaluation and Revise
Evaluation allows us to calculate the solution to the research problem and also verify the originality of the research concept and examine whether this research is already done or in an ongoing process. Revising your research problem can be a significant step in establishing effective and precise research.

Sources Of Research Problem Identification

Since the beginning of research activities, despite studies on a wide range of issues and concerns, unexplored areas remain as a result of the dynamic nature of subjects of interest. It is always possible to have knowledge gaps. There are different sources of research problems from where the research idea begins. The 10 important sources of research problems are given below.

1.Personal Experience

2.Practical Experience

3.Critical Appraisal of Literature

4.Previous Research

5.Performance Improvement Activities

6.Existing Theories

7.Consultations With Experts

8.Brainstorming Sessions


10.Exposure to field situations

Personal Experience:

Personal experience is the best source of knowledge for research problems. All other experiences come from it and are a first-hand description that comes from a trusted authority. All the other sources are intertwined in some way starting with personal experience.

Practical Experience:

Practical experience means performing scientific analytical tests in a laboratory setting using equipment, instruments etc. While doing tests researchers can find problems in obtaining correct results. It provides a source for research in a study field.

Critical Appraisal of Literature:

When we critically study books or articles or research reports relating to the subject of our interest, pertinent questions may arise in our minds. These may strike the reader's mind indirectly by stimulating questions like what additional research is needed.

Previous Research:

Previous research provides substantial information for the research being done. Usually, at the end of a research, further research problems are suggested, which is a sound foundation for research findings. Based on the shortcomings of previous research the research problem arises.

Performance improvement activities:

Performance improvement activities are the processes that were done to improve the quality and outcomes to meet regulatory requirements. During this process, you may find several issues merged in it that require answers through the research. Thus it serves as an important source of research problems.

Existing Theories:

Research may also be a process of theory development and theory testing. If an existing theory is used in developing a researchable problem, a specific statement from the theory must be isolated and used as a good source for the research problem.

Consultations with experts:

Experts are believed to have sound experience in their respective fields, which may suggest a significant problem to be studied. In addition, experts may help in finding a current problem of discipline to be solved, which may serve as the basis for formulation of the research problem.

Brainstorming Sessions:

Brainstorming sessions are good techniques to find new questions and research problems. It is an intensified discussion among core field-interested people in the profession conducted to find more ideas to formulate a good research problem.


Typically intuitions are considered good sources of knowledge as well as sources to find new research problems. It is believed that the reflective mind is a good source of ideas, which may be used to formulate a good research problem and create solutions for problems.

Exposure to field situations:

During field exposure, researchers get a variety of experiences like helping to contextualize conflicts, that provide knowledge for further improvements in the field. These experiences may provide plenty of ideas to formulate research problems.

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1. What is Problem Identification and Definition in the Research Process?

Identification of a research problem concerns recognizing a prevalent social issue or phenomenon that can be investigated and researched to identify a solution. To identify such a research problem, a researcher needs observation, knowledge, wisdom, and skills.

2. What is the Identification of a Research Problem?

The identification of a research problem is a crucial initial step in the research process. It involves recognizing an issue, gap, or area of concern that requires investigation and for which no adequate solutions or explanations currently exist. This process helps define the scope and direction of the research study, setting the foundation for all subsequent research activities.

3. What are Research Problems or How Do You Define Research Problems?

Research problems are questions or issues that researchers aim to resolve or address through systematic investigation. They are the foundational elements that guide the research process and provide direction and purpose to a study.

4. What is the Purpose of Developing a Research Title for the Research Problem?

Developing a research title is an essential step in the research problem identification process. The research title serves as the first point of communication about the research and plays a crucial role in shaping the reader's understanding and expectations. It encapsulates the essence of the research problem and provides a clear, concise summary of the study's focus.