Introduction to Problem Statement
Introduction to Problem Statement


A problem statement means to address the inconsistencies, limitation and disadvantages of the current system, which gives the idea to the researchers for the improvement of these deficiencies.


“A problem statement is a concise description of the issue that needs to be addressed by a problem solving team and should be presented to them or created by them before they try to solve the problem. When bringing together a team to achieve a particular purpose provide them with a problem statement” [2].


A Problem statement means “to orientate thinking and to attract the attention of the reader towards the problem being investigated. The researcher needs to convince the reader that the topic chosen consists of important problems and solving them will contribute towards knowledge development. Needs to highlight briefly the background on what is to be investigated, which has been stated in greater detail in the background of the study (e.g. History, development, current status and problems that exist)” [1].

Introduction: According to kerlinger and lee (2000), the identification of the research problem is “the most difficult and important part of the whole [research] process”[3].

The identification of the problem statement is not an easy task for the researcher to identify it clearly. It can waste or take an important time from the researcher to formulate a clear and complete research statement, because they does not know in advance that what type of question they should answer. There is no absolute scientific method to directly identify a research problem, but following some scientific procedures makes it so easy. However the literature review makes help the researcher in problem formulation. No one can do proper research until she has not cleared that why she is going to research. If she considers the research paper only for the receiving of degree or for some promotion, then it is very difficult to achieve a good interest or value in their research. A valuable research mean that how it affect the future research and others researchers. So a problem statement needs to answer some question that makes interest in the readers.

The first question from answering the question that “Why we deal with the research?”, a clear statement of the problem not only make it meaning full but also make it addressing that problem. A careful statement of the problem leads to solution of the problem. Kerlinger and Lee (2000) suggested that “if one wants to solve a [research] problem, one must generally know what the problem is” [3].  “If, for example, an institution is faced with a situation in which its customer base shrinking, the appropriate course of action would be radically different if the problem causing that undesirable situation is one of poor service than if it is one of high prices or one of not knowing just what the customer value” [4].

According to kerlinger and lee (2000), “adequate statement of the research problem is one of the most important parts of research” [3]. They also include the statement of “difficulty of stating a research problem satisfactory at a given time should not cause one to lose sight of the ultimate desirability and necessity of doing so” [3].

According to Wikipedia “a good problem statement should answer following questions [2].

  • What is problem? This should explain why the team is needed.
  • Who has the problem or who is the client/customer? This should explain who need the solution and who will decide the problem has been solved.
  • What form can the resolution be? What is the scope and limitations (in time, money resources, and technologies) that can be used to solve the problem? Does the client want a white paper? A web tool? A new feature of a product? A brainstorming on a topic?”.

Types of Problem Statement: There are two types of problem statement. The first one is formal statement and the second describes the informal statement. The former one describes the thesis statement which appears in the introduction of document. For example “one of the statement faced by college admission office is whether to give precedence to applicants with strong test score or not or to applicants with a verity of extracurricular activities” [5]. While the 2nd one describe the informal sentence which is “a sentence that tell readers how a new development of discovery will affect them” [5].

Characteristic of Problem Statement: According to (Hernon & Metoyer-Duran (1993) there are nine attributes that best represent the problem statement. These attributes are

  • Clarity and precision (a well written statement does not make sweeping  generalization and irresponsible statements)
  • Identification of what would be studied, while avoiding the use of value-laden words and terms
  • Identification of an overarching question and key factors or variables
  • Identification of key concept and terms
  • Articulation of the study’s boundaries or parameters
  • Some generalizability
  • Convincing for the importance of study, benefits and justifications (regardless of the type of research, it is important to address the “so what” question and to demonstrate that the research is not trivial)
  • No use of unnecessary jargon and
  • Conveyance of more than the gathering of descriptive data providing a snapshot

Three Criteria to Select a Good Problem Statement

  • The problem should have relation with one or more than one variables.
  • The problem should have to be completely understandable, clear and unambiguous.
  • The relation of problem and problem statement should be in such a form that can be converted to practical testing. Even this type of research is more difficult to implement.

Some Condition for Problem Formulation: There are certain conditions that lead to the formulation of a good problem statement. These conditions are:

  • Systematic arising of problem through observation. It mean that just discoverer problem for the need of their burning solution.
  • By reviewing the existing available literature. And finding out some deficiencies remaining.
  • Getting help from a well experienced person who have conducted a lot of research in the specified field.

Some Necessary Factors for the Selection of a Problem: First is the work-ability in which the researcher considers that is he has enough time and funds to carry out this research work. The second thing is Methodology which the person must select for their appropriate working. Third thing is coverage which means the breadth and depth analysis of the study. Fourth is the interest of the researcher.


  1. Problem Statement, Significant and Limitation of the Study Dr.A.Asgari.
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.htm
  3. Kerlinge, F.N., & Lee,H.B. (2000). Foundations of behavioral research (4th ed.). Holt, NY: Harcourt College Publishers.
  4. Timothy J.Ellis and Yair Levy Nova Southeastern University Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences  Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
  5. By Patti Poblete and Tristan Abbott.ppt
  6. Hernon, P., & Metoyer-Duran, C. (1913). Problem statements: An exploratory study of their function, significance, and form. Library & Information Science Research, 15,71-92