Example of a research problem definition

Date published by Date updated: March 24, 2017

Your definition of a problem should serve as the basis for formulating a problem statement and objective. Thereafter you can move on to identifying your main research question.

The below example of a problem definition relates to a dissertation that explores a practical problem. It has been written using our guide to writing a problem definition.

Example: Problem definition

Background and context
The director of a primary school in London has asked for a fourth-year student from a teacher training college who could investigate opportunities for gifted students who need more challenges. An earlier survey conducted among these students’ parents/guardians has revealed that many of these children are bored and that about half of them no longer like going to school.

Background
The British Ministry of Education has paid a great deal of attention to this issue in recent years [explain with sources]. The school has already implemented several related measures, such as enriching the curricula for compulsory subjects. A survey conducted by a university student in 2014 revealed that the children are indeed being challenged more, although the teachers are still struggling to deal with the issue. In particular, the teachers find it difficult to identify gifted students and provide appropriate counseling. The literature shows that [explain with sources].

Scope and relevance
The study focuses on the relationship between teachers and students; factors such as the home environment and peers are not taken into account. The results are relevant to society as teachers will receive practical tools that enable them to better guide gifted students. In turn, the students will feel better and perform at a higher level in school.

Problem statement
The teachers at this primary school do not have the skills they need to recognize or properly guide gifted students.

Objective
The aim of the research is to determine how teachers’ skills can be improved in order to better recognize and assist gifted students.

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Article by Bas Swaen

Bas is co-founder of Scribbr. Bas loves to teach and is an experienced thesis writer. He tries to help students with writing clear and easy to comprehend articles about difficult topics.

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