Are you done with the research work of your dissertation? Or are you about to complete your Master or PhD soon? If yes, then the next step is writing a dissertation. While writing a thesis, you have to follow a pattern and some format. A problem statement is the first and foremost part that you will be dealing with. So, you might guess, mistakes in the first will leave a bad impression of your thesis. Probably, you wouldn’t like it. Hence, this guide is for you to avoid such mistakes in the problem statements.
Many o the students fail in understanding the definition of the problem statement. So, what is a problem statement in actual meaning? A problem statement refers to a critical issue that you will be addressing in your thesis. It also covers the gap in the existing knowledge using the results of your research. Along with covering gaps of previous knowledge, it should also leave some room for future investigations. A problem statement can be as little as a few sentences. But it can go up to several paragraphs. What matters is the delivery of the central focus of your research to the reader.
Features of a Good Problem Statement
A good problem statement describes the purpose of your study clearly and concisely. A good problem statement is the one that;
- That describes the central idea in a simple and direct way
- Allows you to have a full view of the thesis before reading
- It helps you to set the aims and objectives of your investigation
- Draws the attention of the reader towards your study
Mistakes to Avoid:
Now, after reading the introduction part, you will have an idea about the problem statement. Many of the researchers don’t take this part as a serious problem. But it’s the most important part of your dissertation. Let’s move on towards the mistakes you should avoid while developing a strong and healthy problem statement for your dissertation. These mistakes are as follows;
Ill-defined Research Context
Recommended by a dissertation writing service, the first thing is to develop a clear and concise research context. It should be easier for your readers to understand the whole idea of your research. The context of the research gives readers answers to many questions. The first question can be “why this research” when there is already so much data available. It would help if you addressed “why.” One hack for this is to describe an ideal world where the issue doesn’t exist. Tell your readers how the world will be if they don’t have these issues. This will help them conceptualize the question, “why this research?”. Hence, you should define the research context of your dissertation simply and clearly.
Overly Broad Topic
Trying to add value and stand out with your project is important. But this should not come through a topic which very broad. Sometimes, researchers choose a topic which too long to be covered in a single dissertation. You should have in mind that your problem statement is not the chapter of your thesis. It’s an opening part. It would help if you considered the limits of words or paragraphs in a problem statement. Time limit is also a major constraint. In most cases, you have to write your dissertation in the last semester of your study. So, choosing a topic that is too broad will leave you nowhere. You will be demanding extra time from your professors then. Hence, you should also consider the scarcity of time. Therefore, avoid choosing an overly broad topic.
Unclarity in Research Method
It is also a major mistake that most people do. No doubt, they will give an excellent answer to the question “why this research” but fail to explain “how”. “How’ is the most important of all. Sometimes, students start writing problem statements way before the actual research starts. At that time, they didn’t know about the methods they would be used to carry out research. So, researchers should avoid this unclarity and start writing when they are clear about their ideas and research. You should make sure how you will be collecting and analyzing data for your dissertation writing task. Thus, the problem statement demands clarity.
Do Not Mix Thesis Statement with Problem Statement
There lies a difference between a thesis statement and a problem statement. Both are different and have different implications. You should avoid confusing the thesis statement with the problem statement. So, what’s the difference? A thesis statement is a short paragraph that summarizes the central idea of an essay. In the thesis statement, the author makes a claim about a topic that is debatable. In contrast, it indicates the direction of your research. We can say that it is an open-ended query, not a claim. A good problem statement should act as the focus of the whole study. Therefore, you should avoid confusing the above mentioned closely related terms with each other.
Poorly Stating Financial Costs
If your project requires financial support, you should state the financial cost of the study in the problem statement. This is also one of the major mistakes that researchers often do. Having a clear idea of the cost of the project is a must. You can’t rely on expectations. Take a thorough tour of all the expenses. You should also take into consideration the market rates of the raw material. If you are to import the material from abroad, you will have to keep duty charges in mind. Hence, a complete financial analysis is also mandatory for a good problem statement.
In the end, I would say writing a sound problem statement is a must if you are seeking a scholarship from a professor. It should be pitching the core idea of your research and telling others it should be addressed. A sound problem statement will attract investors to support your research. Last but not least, don’t make the mistakes mentioned above and don’t take them as final words. You can search for other mistakes to avoid in the problem statement in Google. You will find many resources to help you.
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