Defining a research problem is the fuel that drives the scientific process, and is the foundation of any research method and experimental design, from true experiment to case study. It is one of the first statements made in any research paper and, as well as defining the research area, should include a quick synopsis of how the hypothesis was arrived at. Operationalization is then used to give some indication of the exact definitions of the variables, and the type of scientific measurements used.
This will lead to the proposal of a viable hypothesis. As an aside, when scientists are putting forward proposals for research funds, the quality of their research problem often makes the difference between success and failure. Look at any scientific paper, and you will see the research problem, written almost like a statement of intent.
Defining a research problem is crucial in defining the quality of the answers, and determines the exact research method used. A quantitative experimental design uses deductive reasoning to arrive at a testable hypothesis. Qualitative research designs use inductive reasoning to propose a research statement.
Formulating the research problem begins during the first steps of the scientific process. As an example, a literature review and a study of previous experiments, and research, might throw up some vague areas of interest. Many scientific researchers look at an area where a previous researcher generated some interesting results, but never followed up. It could be an interesting area of research, which nobody else has fully explored. A scientist may even review a successful experiment, disagree with the results , the tests used, or the methodology , and decide to refine the research process, retesting the hypothesis.
This is called the conceptual definition, and is an overall view of the problem. A science report will generally begin with an overview of the previous research and real-world observations.
The researcher will then state how this led to defining a research problem. The operational definition is the determining the scalar properties of the variables.
For example, temperature, weight and time are usually well known and defined, with only the exact scale used needing definition. If a researcher is measuring abstract concepts, such as intelligence, emotions, and subjective responses, then a system of measuring numerically needs to be established, allowing statistical analysis and replication.
Behavioral biologists and social scientists might design an ordinal scale for measuring and rating behavior. These measurements are always subjective, but allow statistics and replication of the whole research method.
This is all an essential part of defining a research problem. An anthropologist might find references to a relatively unknown tribe in Papua New Guinea. Through inductive reasoning , she arrives at the research problem and asks,.
She has found a gap in knowledge, and she seeks to fill it, using a qualitative case study , without a hypothesis. The Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment is a good example of using deductive reasoning to arrive at a research problem and hypothesis.
Anecdotal evidence showed that violent behavior amongst children was increasing. Another thing that can make the temperature change is whether something has been done to manipulate the temperature, like lighting a fire in the chimney. In research, you typically define variables according to what you're measuring. The independent variable is the variable which the researcher would like to measure the cause , while the dependent variable is the effect or assumed effect , dependent on the independent variable.
These variables are often stated in experimental research , in a hypothesis , e. In explorative research methodology, e. They might not be stated because the researcher does not have a clear idea yet on what is really going on.
Confounding variables are variables with a significant effect on the dependent variable that the researcher failed to control or eliminate - sometimes because the researcher is not aware of the effect of the confounding variable. The key is to identify possible confounding variables and somehow try to eliminate or control them.
Operationalization is to take a fuzzy concept conceptual variables , such as ' helping behavior ', and try to measure it by specific observations, e. The selection of the research method is crucial for what conclusions you can make about a phenomenon. It affects what you can say about the cause and factors influencing the phenomenon. It is also important to choose a research method which is within the limits of what the researcher can do.
Time, money, feasibility, ethics and availability to measure the phenomenon correctly are examples of issues constraining the research.
Choosing the scientific measurements are also crucial for getting the correct conclusion. Some measurements might not reflect the real world, because they do not measure the phenomenon as it should. To test a hypothesis , quantitative research uses significance tests to determine which hypothesis is right. The significance test can show whether the null hypothesis is more likely correct than the research hypothesis.
Research methodology in a number of areas like social sciences depends heavily on significance tests. A significance test may even drive the research process in a whole new direction, based on the findings.
The t-test also called the Student's T-Test is one of many statistical significance tests, which compares two supposedly equal sets of data to see if they really are alike or not.
The t-test helps the researcher conclude whether a hypothesis is supported or not. Drawing a conclusion is based on several factors of the research process, not just because the researcher got the expected result. It has to be based on the validity and reliability of the measurement, how good the measurement was to reflect the real world and what more could have affected the results.
Anyone should be able to check the observation and logic, to see if they also reach the same conclusions. Errors of the observations may stem from measurement-problems, misinterpretations, unlikely random events etc. A common error is to think that correlation implies a causal relationship. This is not necessarily true. Generalization is to which extent the research and the conclusions of the research apply to the real world.
It is not always so that good research will reflect the real world, since we can only measure a small portion of the population at a time. Validity refers to what degree the research reflects the given research problem, while Reliability refers to how consistent a set of measurements are.
A definition of reliability may be "Yielding the same or compatible results in different clinical experiments or statistical trials" the free dictionary. Research methodology lacking reliability cannot be trusted.
Replication studies are a way to test reliability. Both validity and reliability are important aspects of the research methodology to get better explanations of the world. Logically, there are two types of errors when drawing conclusions in research:.
Type 1 error is when we accept the research hypothesis when the null hypothesis is in fact correct. Type 2 error is when we reject the research hypothesis even if the null hypothesis is wrong.
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Research Problem – It refers to some difficulty which a researcher experiences in the context of either theoretical or practical situation and wants to obtain a solution for the same. A research problem can be simply defined as a statement that identifies the problem or situation to be studied.
Defining a research problem is the fuel that drives the scientific process, and is the foundation of any research method and experimental design, .
In all research projects, on whatever subject, there is a need to define and delineate the research problem clearly. The research problem is a general statement of an issue meriting research. The research problem is a general statement of an issue meriting research. "Framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for Novice Researchers on the Development of a Research-Worthy Problem." Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline 11 (); How to Write a Research Question.
RESEARCH AND THE RESEARCH PROBLEM CONTENTS • Introduction 6 • The research approach 6 What is research? 6 Scientiﬁc method in research 10 The interpretivist alternative 15 • Starting your own research Research Methodology – is a way to systematically solve a research problem. It is a science of studying how research is done scientifically. It is a science of studying how research is done scientifically.