To facilitate how you might select a problem from which to build a research study, consider these sources of inspiration: Deductions from Theory, this relates to deductions made from social philosophy or generalizations embodied in life and in society that the researcher is familiar with. These deductions from human behavior are then placed within an empirical frame of reference through research. From a theory, the researcher can formulate a research problem or hypothesis stating the expected findings in certain empirical situations. The research asks the question: What relationship between variables will be observed if theory aptly summarizes the state of affairs? One can then design and carry out a systematic investigation to assess whether empirical data confirm or reject the hypothesis, and hence, the theory. Interdisciplinary perspectives, identifying a problem that forms the basis for a research study can come from academic movements and scholarship originating in disciplines outside of your primary area of study. This can be an intellectually stimulating exercise. A review of pertinent literature should include examining research from related disciplines that can reveal new avenues of exploration essay and analysis. 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.
Relational Research Problem - suggests a relationship of some sort between two or more variables to be investigated. The underlying purpose is to investigate specific qualities or characteristics that may be connected in some way. A problem statement in the social sciences should contain : A lead-in that helps ensure the reader will maintain interest over the study, a declaration of originality. G., mentioning a knowledge void or a lack of clarity about a topic that will be revealed in the literature review, An indication of the central focus of the study establishing the boundaries of analysis, and. An explanation of the study's significance or the benefits to be derived from investigating the research problem. sources of Problems for Investigation. The identification of a problem to study can be challenging, not because there's a lack of issues that could be investigated, essays but due to the challenge of formulating an academically relevant and researchable problem which is unique and does not simply duplicate the work.
Its based on research and its free: make sure you write a good problem statement, invite your group, and let the creativity flow! Updated and edited on Friday 9th June 2017. Types and Content, there are four general conceptualizations of a research problem in the social sciences: Casuist Research Problem - this type of problem relates to the determination of right and wrong in questions of conduct or conscience by analyzing moral dilemmas through the application. Difference research Problem - typically asks the question, Is there a difference between two or more groups or treatments? This type of problem statement is used when the researcher compares or contrasts two or more phenomena. This a common approach to defining a problem in the clinical social sciences or behavioral sciences. Descriptive research Problem - typically asks the question, "what.?" with the underlying purpose to describe the significance of a situation, state, or existence of a specific phenomenon. This problem is often associated with revealing hidden or understudied issues.
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Remember that a good problem statement should be actionable! Be simple, concrete, and well defined. Avoid jargon and cryptic language. Instead, try to understand what the knowledge of the other participants is, and adjust the message accordingly. Dont fall prey to the curse of knowledge! Constraints can promote creativity, but too many constraints can preclude creativity and problem solving.
Try to find a balance between too few and too many constraints and specifications. As Marissa Ann mayer, ceo of Yahoo!, wrote Creativity thrives world best when constrained. But constraints must be balanced with a healthy disregard for the impossible. They act as anchors and decrease the originality of your thinking. These are my suggestions so far, but Im eager to know what you have found works brilliantly for creating problem statements that boost to your creative problem solving sessions. Drop me a line. If you are interested in a great way to do online problem solving and creativity meetings, try neonce, the new pandemonium digital brainstorming app from Mindiply.
This seems to be due to the fact that the supplied examples work as anchors and it is difficult to move away from them and produce novel ideas. If youre aiming for originality, avoid examples. A checklist when writing an effective problem statement Dos Write the problem statement as a question. The best place to start is with a how might we? As ideo says, how Might we questions to turn those challenges into opportunities.
Remember that people can easily forget too much information, and dont read huge walls of text. Deal with only one problem at a time. If you have more problems, run more creativity sessions. Each session one single problem. Define the problem s boundaries. Instead of How can we increase our sales?, try something like how can we increase our online sales by 15? If you are not sure how to best describe your problem s boundaries, first run a workshop with your group to find them. How abstract do you want the ideas to be? Donts avoid problem statements too abstract, vague or long.
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A city or a geographic area? A specific resort or hotel? If you havent defined good needed that, it will lead to confusion both when generating ideas (what are we looking for?) and when selecting the best idea (how can we compare ideas?). If you are not certain of the best specificity level to use, you can work recursively: start abstract and do more sessions in which you go deeper. Dont give examples you may think giving an example is best way to define the constraints and specificity but i urge you not. The research clearly says, dont. When potential options are presented as cues, option generation performance decreases significantly, an effect called part-set cuing in option generation.
How does this work in practice? Dont expect original solutions from a writing generic problem statement like how can we increase our sales? Instead, make it more specific to provide a clearer challenge to overcome, for example, how might we change our shop window displays to increase our sales by 10 in the next 4 months? Define the constraints As Patricia stokes wrote in her excellent book creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of Breakthrough ; when people are totally free to solve a problem, they naturally tend to focus on whats worked best in the past. Complete freedom hinders creativity, while a smart use of constraints, such as precluding the availability of some resources like materials, skills, money or time is useful in directing the search for new solutions, promoting novel and surprising responses. For example, instead of using How can we increase our online sales?, try something like how can we increase our online sales, without spending money, using social networks? Define the specificity Another useful aspect, is to define from the beginning the required specificity level of the answers. For example, a relaxing place, the Alps, and Chamonix, France, are all answers to the problem question Where might we go on the next family holiday?, but they go from being very abstract (in a relaxing place to hyper-specific (Chamonix, France). Think for a moment: what are you looking for with your problem statement?
the more diverse the expertise of the group are. Its well worth focusing on though because you want peoples efforts to be focussed on finding good solutions, not trying to understanding the problem. One thing to watch out for is the curse of knowledge, a cognitive bias where you unknowingly assume others in the group have the background to understand you. Try asking someone with a different background to explain the problem back to you and see where the gaps in knowledge are. Make it actionable to make the problem actionable, you have to define its boundaries. You have to specify the characteristics of the problem and define the space in which the solution should be found. It may seem counterintuitive, but constraints foster creativity by helping you know where to focus your energy.
If youre in one of those organisations, keep reading! Taking time to define a problem well is the best way to start a creative problem solving session on the right foot. This is especially true in a group setting, where you have to bring together people with different backgrounds and expertises. Having a clear focus stops it homework from being just another time wasting meeting. What is a good problem statement? A good problem statement is clear and actionable. How many times has your manager or ceo started a meeting with some vague aim like let's maximise shareholder value? Chip and Dan heath, authors of the amazing book on effective communication Made to stick, this is a clear example of opaque and abstract communication.
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The first step to solving a problem is the knowing that you have. The second step is communicating it to others. To do that you can create a problem statement, which is a great place to start a brainstorming session. The aims of a problem statement are: (a) to communicate the problem to all the group members and (b) to help everyone in the group find good solutions, why is a problem statement so important? Most organisations underestimate the relevance of having a well thought out problem statement. At worst, they think its a waste of time. Generating ideas is more interesting and fun: we dont have much time, lets just start creating ideas!