Effective Research Problem/ Hypothesis Formulation: Key to Success

We all start a research with a topic, but  our focus should be on the problem we want to answer through this research topic.

What is a research problem?

A Research Problem is a clear and definite statement or expression about the chosen area of concern. A research problem can be a difficulty you wish to eliminate or a condition you wish to improve.

But, you must be wondering how to identify a research problem?

A broad topic will not yield you results. For instance, if you take up child poverty, the chances are there are either too many research problems or none. When you try to do specific research like child poverty with reference to India, you will find specific problems like factors, availability of funds by the government, etc., 

There are various features of a research problem you must look out for:

  • Should reflect an important issue,
  • Should be based on factual evidence,
  • Should be relevant and manageable.

Formulating a research paper should be the next step, but it should be the initial step. For this, you need to identify the vague or broad area of interest and do the preliminary research to find out the existing research which has been done on the same topic. Further, you can find the research gaps, like what are the questions to which you are looking for an answer. Try and pick two major questions which you think you can research on; this will narrow down your research and will make it specific.

Always, ensure that you have re-checked the scope of those research questions and have modes of further research. This will save you from the mistake committed by many researchers, after completing half of the research they discover that the topic does not have scope for further research.

Many research topics are also about testing the existing hypothesis. There can be various factors which can influence its results such as change in the geographic location, generation, resources, etc are a few to name. You can take this as well, as your research problem.

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It is also advisable that you should consult the experts or your professors before starting the research, their insights will help you formulate a better understanding of the scope and research implications.

Once you have formulated a research problem the question arise is that is your research problem a good research problem?

Do not worry! We will help you to find that out as well.

  • A good research problem has many potential answers, which gives further scope of research as well.
  • A good research problem is testable, flexible and open-ended. This means that the reader can test its implications in real-life and gives scope to other concurrent theories as well, if arises.
  • A good research problem is possible to break into resolvable parts. This indicates that you will be able to provide real and tested solutions to the research problem.
  • A good research problem is precise and clear. It will not leave the reader wondering about the questions of the possible answers you have stated.
  • A good research problem does not use vague terms that require definitions. If there’s a term the reader has to find, it is not a good research problem. Make it more reader friendly.
  • A good research problem is suitable for the length of the paper. You might have a word limit which you have to adhere to, try and incorporate only those aspects to your research problem which you can include.
  • A good research problem is relevant in nature. This indicates that it adds value to the existing base of knowledge and introduces new facets of the research.

These are a few ways by which you can formulate an effective research problem which will do wonders for your research paper. You can also include a different approach but it should include the above mentioned highlights.