Every academic research requires some form of introduction. Of course, you know quite well what your research is about and what you try to achieve with it. And that’s basically the first line that should drop for your academic research. Although you know what it’s all about, you need to make it accessible for other people. You can’t just drop the ball and hunker down your argumentation.
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It all starts with a blank page
Do you even know what you’re going to write about? Most people already struggle at the first step and that begins with the first word on a blank page. The blank page tends to be a scare to everyone. At best, you’re going to start writing while you’re doing your academic research. You can take the first notes and re-organize it all later. However, without at least some structure, your paper is probably going to be a chaotic mess. But you still need to know what you’re writing about and which techniques you’re going to use.
All research starts with a problem
Academic research postulates there is a problem that needs to be solved. One could probably claim this might apply to most areas. Laws, for example, are quite exhausted in terms of research. After all, academic research aims at finding something new which could enhance present processes. Each research is going to face obstacles, but there are ways to overcome them.
The problem – or rather the topic – of your academic research should be as detailed as possible. You need to decide in advance, if you’d like to research something in the practical area or just theoretically. It mostly depends on your chosen field and, of course, your topic. Before you start writing or elaborating a more concise problem, it’s best to hunker down on good academic research. Take advantage of databases with advanced search filters. Refine your search results to find the most relevant current findings. Chances are, you will find a gap that you can fill your own research with. There always is a field that hasn’t been looked at. The gap you will find is your reason for your academic research.
Why are you doing academic research?
The gap you will find with initial research is your reason for your academic research. But maybe you don’t want to look at any research yet, because you know there’s a problem that needs solving. Unfortunately, not every problem is suitable for academic research. Either the problem has already been exhausted or there’s too little data to pull from. In that case, you could start at that point and make the first data available that you can elaborate on at a later point. To define your problem, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the problem?
- Where and when does this problem occur?
- What’s the extent of the problem?
Once you can find a reply to those questions, the first part of your problem statement has been solved.
Tell about the background
The next step for a problem statement is to show potential readers some background. Tell them about the information that’s currently present as well as the first steps to solve the problem. There certainly already is an avalanche of literature about your problem. Your problem might already be tackled, however, the solution may not have been successful. To avoid researching a problem that’s already been endlessly researched, you should pay attention to possible reasons you decide to focus on.
For example, your problem could be about white single women living in African countries. While certainly most of the African populace is black, one should consider most Americans are white with a lesser percentage of colored people. If it’s claimed that afro-American women were facing troubles in America, it should work vice versa. For the background, you could include how you found out about that problem. Maybe you only saw a vlog that gave you the idea to conduct academic research in this area. Then you can find sources which would talk about this problem.
Is it relevant and can you find a solution?
Another part of your problem statement is its relevance. A reader should learn which advantage your academic research can provide to a certain group or area. If it’s not relevant, no one will feel the urge to read your paper. At the same time, you need to be aware of possible risks if your problem cannot be solved. These risks should turn up in your problem statement right before you mention your solution. For example, you may have found that steel production in your area is lower during the summer months. It’d be relevant since productivity is affected and thus the production of other goods. Maybe you’d find out there are fewer raw materials available during a certain period of the year. If you can’t find a solution, you’d have to state the overall productivity would be affected long-term. Should you find steel could be imported during those months, the problem would be solved.
A problem statement – recap
The problem statement basically serves as an introduction to your academic research paper. It’s usually written at the end to inform the reader about the problem at hand. Depending on what problem you’d intend to solve, you’d have to mention whether you’re using a theoretical or practical approach. Only after you’ve already written your paper can you tell which research methods you’ve used. If there were any problems or obstacles you know at the end of it. You might be able to guess a few at the start, but in most cases, you don’t. The same goes for the literature you’ve used to support the problem question and during your research. Once you’ve finished, you furthermore know if you’ve been able to find a solution.
In academic research, a problem statement can be a few sentences short or several paragraphs long. There are no rules regarding its length, as long as you focus on the following key points to make it attractive to read:
- Reason for your academic research