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 about what are the sources of research problem. 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 and research methodologies and provides a framework for understanding the research findings.
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.
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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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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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There are three kinds of research problems, they are
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.
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.
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.
There are 6 steps in the formulation of a research problem that will upgrade the scope of the research. They are
Identify the area of interest01
Learn more about problem02
Review the context of the information03
Determine relationships between variables04
Select and include important variables05
Receive feedback and revise06
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.
3.Critical Appraisal of Literature
5.Performance Improvement Activities
7.Consultations With Experts
10.Exposure to field situations
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.