The concept of research is related to the idea of asking questions. Humans are naturally curious about everything and would like to find answers to most questions. Man at birth is a tabula raza, therefore, most of human knowledge were acquired either through research or everyday experience. This has made research a critical component of human lives. Research plays a crucial role in assisting individuals to understand the world, environment and even the society at large.
Research outcome produces real facts that support credible arguments. This will make it possible to make an informed decision based on the results gotten from research. Also, research widens your knowledge base, if the result of a circumstance is unknown, you need to carry out research and find out the unknown. Additionally, to know the step to take in certain situation, you require research to ascertain the facts that will assist you investigate the problem and find out the next step to take.
For someone to carry out an effective research there is need to identify the research problem.
Failure to define the research problem an effective research cannot be conducted because it constitutes the core of the research. A research problem is identified as a specific, unambiguous statement of the subject area of concern and this is normally backed by literature evidence. It is this problem statement that controls the entire research processes and provides the basis for the research results. Below are some easy but useful approaches to adopt when trying to define the research problem for any given project topic.
Identifying/understanding your subject area
The first stem you should take in stating your research problem is to understand the subject area in your field of study in which the research is being carried out. You can choose to concentrate on areas that you understood most in your course, or you can decide to choose areas that you got the highest scores. Occasionally, your supervisor in your department may give you the research problem to focus on. But, it must still be a subject in your field of study and therefore you should understand the perspective you are going to adopt. Choose an area you are interested in and combine it with the ideas/opinions of your project supervisor to have a clearer picture of the entire research process.
State the objectives of the research
Without clear and concise objectives, effective research cannot be conducted.
It is the research objectives that the examiners will use to assess your work at the end so you need to make clear and concise. Don’t make it too complex, 2 or 3 objectives of study are okay for an excellent research. Your own objectives can easily be drawn from previous literature review of the subject area under study. This will ensure that you do not go into a project that has already been conducted, solved and concluded. However, your research question should be directly drawn from the objectives. This will ensure consistency in your study.
Evaluate the Chosen Research Problem
After you have stated your research objectives, you will have to review these objectives and see if it is appropriate for the research topic. Note that the research problems are already contained in the objectives. A research problem can be seen as appropriate if it is relevant, timely, it has the foundation in previous literature, specific and researchable. So far your selected research problem can be connected with recent researches in your area of study, fills the research gap in the subject area, is original, definite and can be addressed by the scientific research method, that means you have stated the appropriate research problem.
Examine the features of the research problem
There is need for you to understand the features of the research problem, and know if it is simple or complex, this will make you develop a better solution to the problem. You should examine the background or scenario of the problem in order to see if the outcomes of the research will be meaningful. Some questions should come to your mind at this stage, for instance – are these research problems worth researching? Will it contribute to the existing literatures in the subject area? Is it measurable i.e. can quantitative method be used to solve the research problem? These questions will assist you in finding the answers in an appropriate way.
Align the research question with specific methods
Once your research questions have been drawn from the chosen objectives, then you now determine the method(s) you are going to adopt to solve each question. If the answer to a question is numerically measurable, you will adopt quantitative method. Qualitative method will be adopted for answers that come in text format. With these, you can be sure that you are adopting the right method for the research problems that has been identified.