Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (2008); Thesis and Purpose Statements. From a theory, the researcher can formulate a research problem or hypothesis stating the expected findings in certain empirical situations.
and Yair Levy Nova Framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for Novice Researchers on the Development of a Research-Worthy Problem. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Thesis Statements. These deductions from human behavior are then placed within an empirical frame of reference through research.
Do not confuse a research problem with a research topic.
A topic is something to read and obtain information about, whereas a problem is something to be solved or framed as a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution, or explained as a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation.
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].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. Also, authors frequently conclude their studies by noting implications for further research; read the conclusion of pertinent studies because statements about further research can be a valuable source for identifying new problems to investigate.The fact that a researcher has identified a topic worthy of further exploration validates the fact it is worth pursuing.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. An interdisciplinary approach to selecting a research problem offers an opportunity to construct a more comprehensive understanding of a very complex issue that any single discipline may be able to provide.Interviewing Practitioners The identification of research problems about particular topics can arise from formal interviews or informal discussions with practitioners who provide insight into new directions for future research and how to make research findings more relevant to practice.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.