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A general rule of thumb in the social sciences is that a good research problem is one that would generate a variety of viewpoints from a composite audience made up of reasonable people. Researchability This isn't a real word but it represents an important aspect of creating a good research statement. It seems a bit obvious, but you don't want to find yourself in the midst of investigating a complex research project and realize that you don't have enough prior research to draw from for your analysis. University of North Carolina; Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements.
In short, a research topic is something to be understood; a research problem is something that needs to be investigated.
Research problems in the social and behavioral sciences are often analyzed around critical questions that must be investigated.
Personal Experience Don't undervalue your everyday experiences or encounters as worthwhile problems for investigation.
Think critically about your own experiences and/or frustrations with an issue facing society, your community, your neighborhood, your family, or your personal life.
A good problem statement begins by introducing the broad area in which your research is centered, gradually leading the reader to the more specific issues you are investigating.
The statement need not be lengthy, but a good research problem should incorporate the following features:1.
This may reveal where gaps exist in understanding a topic or where an issue has been understudied.
Research may be conducted to: 1) fill such gaps in knowledge; 2) evaluate if the methodologies employed in prior studies can be adapted to solve other problems; or, 3) determine if a similar study could be conducted in a different subject area or applied in a different context or to different study sample [i.e., different setting or different group of people].