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Presentation on theme: "WRITING PROBLEM STATEMENT FOR RESEARCH IN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY"— Presentation transcript:

Associate Prof Dr Roziah Mohd Janor 22nd November 2011 iLQaM, Shah Alam

2 Common Steps in Conducting Research

3 Outcomes At the end of the session, participants will be able to
Identify elements of good problem statement Analyse a problem statement (an approach) Develop a basic problem statement

4 Do you know when you see a problem?
Sharing Session Examples

5 Motivation Writing a clear problem statement to define and guide an inquiry is a PROBLEM The issue of how to write a problem statement becomes important Defining a research problem is the driving factor in any scientific process, and is the foundation of any research method and experimental design, from true experiment to case study.

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.  (Example) A research problem may be described as an incongruence; a contradition; 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. Something not right 

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).

8 Discuss Review Some Problem Statements 1. Pure Science 2. Applied Sciences 3. Mathematics 4. Computer Sciences 5. Engineering 6. Medical Sciences 7. Dentistry 8. Pharmacy 9. Sport Sciences 10. Architecture 11. Agriculture What concerns you? What irritates you? What makes you can’t sleep thinking about it?

9 Example (each participant must have one example of problem statement from any journal paper or research paper within your field) Refer to An Introduction to Scientific Research, E Bright Wilson J. (1990)

10 http://www. personal. psu
STATEMENT 1 (DESCRIPTION OF THE IDEAL SCENARIO) Describe the goals, desired state, or the values that your audience considers important and that are relevant to the problem. (BUT) Connect statements 1 and 2 using a term such as "but," "however," "Unfortunately," or "in spite of"; STATEMENT 2 (THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION) Describe a condition that prevents the goal, state, or value discussed in statement 1 from being achieved or realized at the present time. STATEMENT 3 (THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE AUDIENCE) Using specific details, show how the situation in statement 2 contains little promise of improvement unless something is done. Then emphasize the benefits of research by projecting the consequences of possible solutions as well. RESEARCH (YOUR PROPOSED RESEARCH TO INVESTIGATE THE POSSIBILITY OF MAKING THE REALITY MORE LIKE THE IDEAL.) Describe the areas of inquiry you will use that could lead to solutions to the problem--- how will you research the problem? What sources of information, types of research (primary or secondary),or tools will you use to help you find solutions and make recommendations to resolve the clash?

STATEMENT 1 In order to provide excellent patient care at a minimal cost, Middletown Hospital needs diagnostic procedures that are safe, efficient, and accurate. In addition, the procedures should not be overly painful for the patient. STATEMENT 2 Right now, Middletown Hospital's main diagnostic tools are CAT scans and myelograms (spinal taps). The CAT scan fails to make clear diagnoses 60% of the time. When the CAT scan fails, doctors must resort to the myelogram. While the myelograms are accurate, this procedure is very painful and sometimes dangerous for the patient. STATEMENT 3 If Middletown Hospital continues to do the two procedures, they will not only be wasting time and money, which jeopardizes their overall efficiency and earning potential. Also, undue suffering could lead patients to choose another hospital with more advanced facilities. RESEARCH A new diagnostic technique, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) may surpass the CAT scan in accuracy and reduce the need to resort to the myelogram. I propose to research the feasibility of establishing an NMR lab at Middletown hospital. I will investigate the accuracy, efficiency, and safety of NMR as well as implementation issues.

12 Audience: This proposal is directed to Alfred Academy’s headmaster, Dr
Audience: This proposal is directed to Alfred Academy’s headmaster, Dr. Smith Nyman. Alfred Academy is a private high school with approximately 200 students in attendance. Dr. Nyman is the primary liaison between the administration, the students and their parents. Nyman works with private educational funds and the alumni in order to raise money for student programs, e.g., a lecture series. Nyman then creates a task force of parents and students who execute the program for him. STATEMENT 1 In order to continue the fifty-year tradition of pacifist values, Alfred Academy's administration needs a multifaceted mediation program that includes the administration, the faculty, the students and the students' parents. This mediation program needs to (1) serve as a preventative measure, (2) encourage peaceful interactions, and (3) adapt to the changing needs of the school. STATEMENT 2 Currently, Alfred has three mediation, i.e., problem solving, resources: (1) an unofficial peer mediation group, (2) an unofficial student court, and (3) a lecture program entitled Peaces. Unfortunately, at the present time, only one of those three methods are being utilized: lectures. These lectures are not mandatory as a result, the majority of students do not attend. Furthermore, neither the peer mediation group nor the student court are legally certified and are, therefore, not credible resources and remain unused. STATEMENT 3 Without an effective mediation program to help Alfred Academy achieve its educational goals, violence will continue to escalate. A new, interactive approach to non-violent problem solving is needed. A long-term mediation-training program may help the administration to (1) reinstate the school’s pacifist values, (2) prevent aggressive behavior from escalating, and (3) promote peaceful interactions in the school. Current mediation programs are both abundant and diverse in nature. RESEARCH I propose to examine the advantages and disadvantages of the various current mediation-training programs to determine which adequately suits Alfred’s present and future needs.

13 In developing a problem statement, consider the followings:
Do I know the field and its literature well? What are the important research questions in my field? What areas need further exploration? Could my study fill a gap? Lead to greater understanding? Has a great deal of research already been conducted in this topic area? Has this study been done before? If so, is there room for improvement? Is the timing right for this question to be answered? Is it a hot topic, or is it becoming obsolete? Will my study have a significant impact on the field?

14 Problem Statement communicates:
(1) the focus & importance of the situation (research); (2) the context & scope; and (3) the framework for reporting the results.

15 Process of Writing a Research Problem Statement (Funneling Method*)
Get the central idea of your interest (relating to your field) Perform background study Extract finding, research method used, scope, variables measured, relationship establish, validity, reliability, institutions, researcher(s), year conducted. Research Questions Look for possible angle that you can further explore, check with your own interest and motivation, Identify possible conflicts or possible contradictions (those are the possible problem), choose one. Think of possible solution(s) Think along your possible scope, design, relationship, variables Write down the background, contradiction, scope, possible solutions, variables. A problem statement is a logical argument with structure, sequence, substance and rationale.

16 Try out (hands on) exercise
Get link to PTAR online database related to your field Decide on one potential problem Use the funneling method* Use the following table to track on background study: read each paper, extract those item, cluster, order and determine your potential focus

17 Background Analysis Template
Author(s) Year Research Title Focus Area Research design Variable(s) hypothesis finding Suggestion for further research Go by chronological order Cluster according to focus area Establish the contradiction, potential problem to be explored

18 Managing Your References
Some Softwares to help mangage your references and literatures ENDNOTE ZOTERO WIZFOLIO

19 Template for Problem Statement: One possible way to develop a research problem statement
This study will investigate the effects of (treatment) on (population). The investigation will be conducted (describe the setting). The present study, within the context of (the setting), will be concerned with the following research questions: Does the procedure of (treatment) have (performance change) difference on (the experimental population) as compared to (the control population)? Does the method of (treatment) - (restate method of treatment) - affect (population)? Hypothesis 1: (Relate back to research question number 1). Hypothesis 2: (Relate back to research question number 2).

20 Spend 30-60 min to write your problem statement
Submit and exchange (review session)

21 Write Your Problem Statement

22 Evaluate your Own Problem Statement
What (is or are the problem(s)) ? Where (it happens)? When (it happens)? Why (is this problem worth looking at)?..justify, (How) it will affect you and the rest if it is not resolved

23 Summary In order for a problem statement to convey all issues and concerns in a clear and concise fashion, make sure it consists of the followings: The given constants and variables – they fully describe the situation. (completeness of information) The end goal - this is the desired end state of the problem. Obstacles - assertions or steps through which the necessary information or other resources will be obtained or performed to achieve the desired end state of the problem. Problem Statement should set the right tone for your research aim, objectives, hypothesis, design and method

24 Thank You


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