Developing a PhD dissertation research problem: A guide for doctoral students


  • One of the important goals of any problem statement is to define the problem being addressed in a way that’s clear and precise. It aims to focus on the process improvement team’s activities and steer the scope of the project
  • PhD Dissertation Problem Statement Helps to identify a clear, definite statement of the area of concern or investigation and is backed by evidence
  • Thesis problem Identification is the key thing that drives the research process and produces a framework


A Research Problem is the Statement in the research writing about an area of concern, a condition to be improved or difficulty eliminated, or a troubling question that exist in the scholarly article. In academic writing, a problem statement can help readers to contextualize and understand the significance of the research problem stated. The research problem may be a paragraph or in a few lines that states the whole thesis. The problem statement will vary depending on whether you’re dealing with a practical, real-world problem or a theoretical scientific issue. But all problem statements have a similar process.

Research Problem

PhD Thesis Problem Statement is the driving force of the research. Generally, Researchers find a Gap in the scholarly article and then pick the area of study to make the study more practical and manageable. Since it is the driving force having a well-conceived problem statement is an essential component of all these activities. So, the problem statement serves as the foundation role that formally communicates with the readers.

The main function of the problem statement is to justify useful information that might help investigate the problem. PhD Dissertation Problem Identification might be helpful to form a solution to the problem. The evaluation might determine the extent to which the solution addressed.

The problem statement represents the purpose of the present study to address the trouble. This process is carried out to check whether the presence of the same study or the same information by different researchers may propose the same of different problems and identify the different goals for the Research. 

Deriving Problem Statements

A problem statement should be in the form that describes an undesirable gap between current state performance and the desired future performance. A problem statement should include relative measures of the problem that quantify the gap, but should not include possible cause or solution. 

Key elements of a significant problem statement include:

  • Identify the current gap.
  • Mention the time frame, location and trend: Describe when and where the problem was first observed and what type of trend following. 
  • Impact: Quantify the gap in cost, time, quality, environmental. 
  • Importance: Developing a Dissertation Research Problem to the organization, the individual, to the betterment of the environment or society. 


Steps to develop the research problem

  • Choosing the area for research:

The most important step in any PhD Problem Identification is to identify the problem area before stating the research problem. Select the unexplored broad area topic. Broad area topic will be helpful to find the gap easily. The ultimate aim is to find gaps in your work. Always look for a broad area of research then make the study area narrowing down to choose an appropriate scholarly journal to carry out the research. 

  • Understanding the Research Problem:

After choosing the area to conduct the research, make sure you understand the problem statement before picking it to your work. If it is understood clearly, then it is used in the research to frame a proper question that is related to your research work. In this step, the researcher has the responsibility to understand completely what the research is to address the findings of the research.  

  • Observe and identify:

Observing and identifying the right research based on the subject chosen is important. Dissertation Identifying a Research Problem assist in observing the research problem that will help you find the relevant statement to the research you are engaged. It is essential to identify the novel work that is new in the research area you choose if you find the research problem statement. 

  • Review the key factors involved:

Review the key terms in the research that help you to find the relevant article to your search. To do this, you have to note the factors that will affect the research project and begin formulating a different kind of methods to control them. Make a note of key terms that drive your research and put a list of words to review the factors. It is best to consider the relationships between factors and the degree of control you have to do over them. It will help you to define whether the findings of your project will produce enough information that worth the cost.

You need to determine,

  • Which causes can be controlled and used for the research purpose, and to what extent.
  • The functional relationships between the factors
  • Determine the key term that drives the solution to the research problem.
  • Which factors directly affect the solution to the research problem.


  • Give priority:

Give priority based on your area of research. Collect a list of article and align according to the need or according to the relevance of the paper. This step is a critical step to carry out because it takes time and needs expert help to complete this challenging task. It has a more chance to select the article that is not at all similar to the research work you are going to carry out. PhD Thesis Problem Statement Help you in choosing the research paper that is relevant to your field of study. 


Once found the potential research problem, there is a need to evaluate them to ensure the selected statement is relevant to the appropriate research. PhD Thesis Problem Identification assists in finding Stronger research problems that are more likely to succeed in publication, presentation, and application. So, PhD Dissertation Research problem Identification help you to find a strong, manageable research question to your dissertation. 


  • Jacobs, R. L. (2013). Developing a dissertation research problem: A guide for doctoral students in human resource development and adult education. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 25(3), 103-117.
  • Osanloo, A., & Grant, C. (2016). Understanding, selecting, and integrating a theoretical framework in dissertation research: Creating the blueprint for your “house”. Administrative issues journal: connecting education, practice, and research, 4(2), 7.
  • Fernando, D. M., & Hulse‐Killacky, D. (2006). Getting to the point: Using research meetings and the inverted triangle visual to develop a dissertation research question. Counselor Education and Supervision, 46(2), 103-115.


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