Tips on Writing a Problem Statement

A problem statement is basically a statement that illustrates a clear vision and the overall method that will be used to solve the problem at hand. Usually used when doing research, a problem statement discusses any foreseeable tangible or intangible problems that the researcher may face throughout the course of the project.

Getting Started on a Problem Statement

Here are several key tips for writing a problem statement:

Tip One: Write out your vision.

In order to decide what must be done when solving the problem, it is important to understand the vision. Be sure to include the benefit of solving the problem. Take the time to write your vision clearly and concisely.

Tip Two: Write out your issue statement.

Write an issue statement that describes the problem and why solving the problem is important. This two-sentence statement simply describes the problems that you are encountering and specific issues related to the problem.

Tip Three: Organize your method.

Writing out the method that you plan to use to solve the problem is a crucial part of writing out your problem statement. It is through your method that you convey the steps that you will take in solving the problem.

Tip Four: Use your “Ws.”

Think back to grade school and you will recall how your English teacher probably taught you about the five “Ws” – who, what, where, when, and why – questions that you need to answer when writing an essay. As you proceed to write your problem statement, you should incorporated the five Ws, and answer them completely.

You should be thinking about:

  • Who the problem affects
  • What the outcome would be if the problem was not solved
  • Where the problem is taking place
  • When the problem needs to be fixed
  • Why is it important for the problem to be fixed

Here are a few examples of questions to be answered:

  • Is the problem short-term or will it continue into the future?
  • How many people are affected by this problem?
  • Would this research revise existing knowledge or practices? If so, how?

Once you answer the questions you have posed, you should have a pretty well rounded problem statement. Make a few drafts until the problem statement is as polished as possible.

Benefits of a Problem Statement

Writing a problem statement is essential because it can help you focus your research and create a more cohesive and guided project. In science or other areas of research, it is easy to get sidetracked by the wealth of knowledge and information that is available. By writing a problem statement, you can force yourself to remain focused on answering a specific question at hand. This allows you to ultimately achieve better results and not to waste time pursuing unnecessary avenues or detours from your main goal.

Thus, some tips on writing a problem statement can help you not just with the statement itself, but with the project as a whole.

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