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Professor Bwisa

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How to write a problem statement

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It is a constant complaint among those who evaluate proposals that the most frequent deficiency noted by them is the lack of a clear problem statement to define and guide the inquiry. The issue of how to write a problem statement becomes important.

Generally speaking a research problem is a situation that needs a solution and for which there are possible solutions. If a situation has no possible solutions then it makes little or no sense expending resources researching it.  Take this statement, €œeverybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die€.  Dying looks like a problem that needs a solution yet there is no possible solution to it. People must die.  A research on how people can live forever makes little or no sense.
A research problem may be described as an incongruence; a discrepancy between what is and what ought to be. It may be also described as the gap in knowledge that needs to be filled. 

A problem statement is the description of an issue currently existing which needs to be addressed. It provides the context for the research study and generates the questions which the research aims to answer. The statement of the problem is the focal point of any research. A good problem statement is just one sentence (with several paragraphs of elaboration).
For example it could be:
"The frequency of job layoffs is creating fear, anxiety, and a loss of productivity in middle management workers."

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 November 2008 09:14 )  


Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organizations or revitalizing mature organizations, particularly new businesses generally in response to identified opportunities. Entrepreneurship is often a difficult undertaking, as a vast majority of new businesses fail.

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