Assignment 1: Identifying a Research Problem

Identifying a Research Problem

Guideline 1: Choose an appropriate area of enquiry. The area of inquiry that you choose must:

  • Address a specific business problem or need
  • Be unique in the context of existing academic literature in the area
  • Allow for a doctoral student to do the research on their own

Guideline 2: Adhere to best practices for each component of the ‘Introduction’ chapter.

  • Background of the Problem: This identifies the wider issues underlying the research problem and question. This section articulates the following main points:
    • What is the general problem of interest to the researcher?
    • In what setting(s) does this problem occur, and whom does it affect?
    • What are the negative effects of the problem?
    • What is the current theoretical or conceptual knowledge base around the problem?
    • Are there any evident gaps in the current research around the problem area?
  • Statement of the Problem: It clearly states the research problem–the form of the problem that is the specific object of investigation in this study. Your line of logic must begin with a general introduction and taper towards specific areas of your study, ultimately leading to your problem statement. Your writing must have clarity, direction, and rationale. Your problem statement must emerge from your preliminary review of the existing literature on the subject. This will outline the major sources you will peruse to determine the gaps in the existing literature. A formal, extensive literature review will follow in the second chapter of your dissertation. The above said gaps in literature need to be clearly articulated to highlight the significance of the proposed study. Thus, there should be a logical connection between the problem statement and the significance of the study that you cite.
  • Significance of the Study: It presents the argument that fulfilling the significance of the study is important from an academic/praxis point of view. It also outlines how the above said problem is original and has not been adequately covered in preceding literature. You should also mention the stakeholders that can benefit from your research as well.
  • Purpose of the Study: Through this sentence, you will outline the precise goals that your research aspires to achieve.

Guideline 3: Use academic English throughout your project.

You must incorporate these elements to ensure that your project is professional and academic in terms of tone as well as content:

●            Use formal language

  • Avoid using contractions (e.g., write do not instead of writing don’t)
    • Avoid using two-word verbs (e.g., write discover instead of writing find out).
    • Avoid using short forms of words (e.g., write as soon as possible instead of writing ASAP).

●            Use objective language

  • Include facts in your arguments (e.g., instead of writing shocking statistics, you could write this: the statistical increase was significant, for example…)
    • Avoid generalizing (e.g., use of gender-neutral language. Write chairperson instead of writing chairman).
    • Avoid using personal pronouns, personal emotions, and judgment (e.g., instead of writing our children’s success in future is dependent…,) Instead, you can write this: The potential for children’s success in future…)
    • Avoid using absolutist phrases (e.g., always, all, none, forever, etc.).

●            Use transitions and connectors

  • Incorporate signaling words (words like consequently, similarly, in addition to, because, etc. indicate what would be preceding).
    • Give readers an indication while changing the line of thought, presenting similar or contrasting ideas, or while citing examples (for example, with words like however, whereas, despite, for instance, as well as, etc.).

●            Acknowledgment

  • Provide valid evidence and facts in support of your claims by citing relevant sources (e.g., according to John W. Creswell in Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, “Individual researchers have a freedom of choice. In this way, researchers are free to choose the methods, techniques, and procedures of research that best meet their needs and purposes.”).


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