Problem statement example

After you’ve read our guides to defining a research problem and writing a problem statement, take a look at the full-length example to see how you can fit all the parts together.

Research problem

Voter turnout in region X has been decreasing over the past ten years, in contrast to other areas of the country.

Context (what is already known)

According to surveys conducted by organization Y, turnout is lowest among under-25s and people on low incomes [cite specific numbers]. The literature on voting patterns in country Z suggests that this reflects broader trends, but the demographics of this region make it a more significant problem [expand and explain with sources]. There have been some successful attempts to improve turnout in other regions, but similar interventions have yet to have any significant effect in region X [cite sources]. More research is required on the specific barriers to engagement in this region and effective strategies to reach young and low-income people.

Relevance (why it is important)

Low voter turnout has been shown to have negative associations with social cohesion and civic engagement, and is becoming an area of increasing concern for political parties and civil society organizations in many European democracies [give examples and cite sources]. When specific groups of citizens lack political representation, they are likely to become more excluded over time, leading to an erosion of trust in democratic institutions and ensuing difficulties in governance [expand and explain with sources]. Addressing this problem will give political parties the insight to adjust their policy and campaigning strategies, improving democratic inclusion for the residents of region X, as well as contributing to a more nuanced understanding of current trends in voter behaviour.

Aims and objectives (what you are going to do)

The aim of this research is to investigate effective engagement strategies to increase voter turnout in region X. It will identify the most significant factors in non-voting through surveys and interviews, and conduct experiments to measure the impact of different strategies on voting intention.

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Bas Swaen

Bas is co-founder of Scribbr. Bas is an experienced academic writer and loves to teach. He helps students by writing clear, simple articles about difficult topics.