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What Is a Problem Statement?
People have an innate drive to formulate solutions for difficult and problematic encounters. It is fairly easy to point out and complain about an existing problem. Likewise, the immediate reaction in dealing with challenging situations is to voice out the desire to change it and to come up with new methods. These elements create a before and after scenario, but the question is how. How to fix the problematic situation and how to implement the methods to achieve the desired solution. The details concerning these scenarios make up a problem statement.
Problem statements document the current condition of the problem and the gap in reaching the desired outcome. It includes detailed descriptions of the problem scenario or method, its implications, and its effects on the different stakeholders. Aside from relaying a clear picture, it is also a critical tool in gaining traction from sponsors who will possibly fund the implementation of the research. Essentially, it is a background of what the problem is and an introduction to what the solution will be.
Research: The Key to Advancing Knowledge
A problem statement is a key element and a crucial tool in conducting research. Researches are systematic investigations of concepts and methods. Effective business plans result from persistent and thorough research. Research-based conclusions back federal and state laws that make lives more comfortable. As a matter of fact, the main goal of conducting research is to further knowledge—proving, debunking, and revolutionizing ideas and concepts. The research measures both quantitative and qualitative motions. And as a result, each problem statement varies according to the nature of the study. Apart from adding depth to existing knowledge, research brings in several other advantages.
How Does Research Build Industries?
Man’s sensitivity to change makes it easy to pinpoint disparities and differences. As farfetched as it may seem, this skill is integral in driving the success of different industries. Once one starts to question why one company performs better than theirs, they go through extensive and rigorous research to come up with methods to place them in an advantageous position. It may be a question of “Is the process enough?” or “What other methods are possible?”. Either way, it seeks to contribute or change current practices and methods to achieve their goals.
One tried and tested method that results to process improvement in different corporations is the lean six sigma. It is a set of tools and techniques that are statistically-based. Lean six sigma is a methodology that aims to eliminate defects and strive for perfection in any field. The goal of the six sigma method is similar to operational excellence. Jack Welch, the chairman of General Electronics, is the father of this method. He used this method during his chairmanship in the company, which resulted in the skyrocket of its profitability and value. Moreover, Welch provided a testament stating the effects of the method. He declares that the quality method leads to better customer satisfaction, lower costs, and better leaders.
Methods similar to six sigma are catalysts to the significant development of businesses and corporations. Similar to the significant increase of General Electronic’s value under Welch’s leadership, any company imploring the same method can follow suit. But, these complex methods, tools, and techniques are nothing when it does not respond to a particular problem. Frameworks and methods that build corporate giants go back to the accuracy of the problem statements. Everything still boils down to the accurate depiction of the problem and the emphasis on its negative implications when not granted urgent action.
How to Compose an In-depth Problem Statement
How important is a problem statement in conducting research? Some may conclude that the actual procedures weigh more than a mere statement of the problem. But, these statements act as the base for the entire framework and structure of the research. All the following details and notions stem from a factual and correctly formatted problem statement. Here are some of the essential steps to consider in formulating problem statements.
Step 1: Maintain an Objective Outlook
A practical problem statement accurately describes the problem situation. In order to do so, the writer or researcher must maintain an objective perspective in detailing the case, even if it is a problem that directly affects them. Say, for example, the problem situation concerns the low level of awareness regarding human rights issues, and the desired result is to raise awareness and to call for urgent action. Even if the researcher is gravely passionate about the subject, the aim to maintain a professional tone in presenting the current situation in the problem statement. But, it is also essential to invoke enough emotion to draw in attention.
Step 2: Present the Facts of the Case
The presentation of the facts of the case should still carry a professional tone and objective view. The primary details that are necessary for the problem statement are the location or span of the problem situation, the current practices, and the impact on its stakeholders. As the primary goal of the problem statement is to detail the situation, remember to be specific as you possibly can. To instill a clear and relatable picture of the instance, you can choose to present the facts narratively. In this way, the descriptions can be more vivid and realistic. Make sure to achieve all these while maintaining behind an objective lens.
Step 3: Introduce the Primary Intention
As the researcher presents the current state of the problem situation with great emphasis, make sure to place the same significance on the desired output. Always keep in mind that achieving the desired output is the primary intention of starting the entire study. It is justifiable to introduce it as early as possible because it sets the direction of the study. In a more straightforward sense, it is like a vision of the entire study. The intention of achieving the future state of the current situation creates an initial framework for the study. This crude framework is then used as a reference; to check if the progress of the study is in line with its primary intention.
Step 4: Explicitly State the Gap
Problem statements recognize and emphasize the gap between the current and future state of a problem situation. In order to relay the difference accurately to the concerned stakeholders, state the disparity straightforwardly. If a particular standard procedure lacks proper implementation, mention it directly. Do away with euphemisms to cushion the blow. Keep in mind that the goal of the research is to bridge the gap. So, there is no need to hide the gravity of the negative implications of the shortcomings and lapses. Being direct with its statement sets the urgency of the matter.
Step 5: Attract and Maintain Attention
A problem statement is relatively short, but it is not short of valuable information. Aside from providing factual details, the account also needs to attract the attention of the reader enough to make them read the entire study. It is also crucial to indicate and emphasize the stakeholders’ role in the study. Aside from the role, stating the effects of the changes will capture the attention of the stakeholders-who are the prime readers of the research. It is best to declare the implications of the current state, methods to bridge the gap and the end state to the stakeholder.
The development of the standard research process started with simple queries and persistence to provide solutions. From then on, questions lead to revolutionary discoveries and technologies which make up modern society. People are quick to point out the setbacks in different fields, particularly in businesses. It was then deduced that merely pointing out the shortcoming creates a difference. Change happens when the problem situation is localized and detailed correctly in the problem statement. Problem statements set the initial framework to answer wonders.