The Problem with Problem Statements: Part 2


When starting on this particular blog post, I did not expect to have to do a part two, but there were issues that could not be covered in just one post. Think of it like a movie sequel (which inherently runs the risk of being worse than the first, unless you manage to squeak by with something like The Godfather Part II, The Road Warrior, or Aliens). It may not be as good as the first, but let’s try nonetheless. As such, let’s finish off this topic without straying into Beyond Thunderdome territory. Before we begin, if you missed the first installment of this, you can find it here.

The final obstacle with mastering your problem statement falls into a Goldilocks situation: not too much, not too little, just right. What this means is that when you are crafting your problem statement, avoid problems with vague research (too little) and problems that are overrepresented (too much). This slightly builds off the point that was made in the first blog post in terms of crafting your problem statement from verified empirical evidence. Remember that everything you do in your dissertation requires evidence. If you happen to go the too little route, you risk not finding enough literature to support your study, especially when it comes to your literature review (which happens to run roughly 40 pages). Running out of current and relevant literature during the literature review is a stressful situation that you can avoid by finding that middle ground with your problem statement. Conversely, you want to avoid a problem statement with too much literature, because that has been overrepresented in the sphere of academic study. This can usually be found in topics such as leadership, teacher perceptions, and mental health studies. These topics have become so overrepresented within the existing literature that many researchers will often try to localize the problem, hoping that it will buy them some wiggle room with their topic. Alas, now they find themselves in a strange kind of forbidden zone where they are inundated with evidence regarding their main topic, but have no evidence whatsoever to justify their problem in a local setting.

Long story short, there is a lot to consider when crafting your problem statement. However, that is why we have a service such as ours. If you are seeking help in developing your topic, feel free to check us out.

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