The first step in the research process is to identify the research problem. It's akin like deciding on a destination before embarking on a journey. It serves as the backbone of the entire research process. A research problem is offered in the form of a question in the social sciences. It aids in narrowing down the problem to a level where a study can be conducted. There are three basic reasons for defining a research problem.
It emphasizes the significance of the research subject.
It assists the researcher in appropriately defining the parameters of the investigation by allowing them to position the problem in a specific context.
It gives a structure for presenting the findings in a clear and concise manner.
A research problem can be defined in absolute terms as a statement about the topic of concern, or a situation that needs to be improved, an unsolved question in the literature, a challenge that needs to be eradicated, or any other point that requires some serious examination (Gallupe, 2007).
This may be helpful: Research Works For Students
Finding logical answers to research challenges is required to complete optimal research. However, there are three categories of research problems: descriptive (research questions that focus on the relationship between two or more factors), relational (research questions that focus on the relationship between two or more factors), and causal research (problems that look at cause and effect).
Problems with descriptive research
Descriptive research problems are those that ask, "What is.....?" with the goal of describing the situation, state, or presence of a given phenomenon. They are attempting to depict what is already there in a group or population. Surveys and opinion polls are the greatest tools for such research since they need systematic observation of social concerns.
For instance, "what are the most important aspects influencing consumers' purchasing decisions?" Cross-sectional research and longitudinal studies are used to acquire data for these issues. Cross-sectional studies provide you a snapshot of data at a particular point in time. Longitudinal studies, on the other hand, use a fixed and stable sample that is measured across time. Mail, online or offline surveys, and interviews are all ways that can be used to collect data in both circumstances. When dealing with a descriptive research problem, the variables and hypotheses cannot be manipulated because they are usually nondirectional (Hashimi, 2015).
Problems with causal research
The goal of causal research is to determine the size and nature of cause-and-effect relationships. These types of research questions aid in determining the influence of certain modifications on existing norms and practices. As a result, they may spot patterns in the interactions between various parts.
For instance, ‘how does online education effect a student's ability to learn?' Experiments are the most common method of gathering primary data in these situations. The hypothesis is usually directed in this case, i.e., it explains how one thing influences the behavior of another. Such studies allow the researcher to adjust the variables as he or she sees fit. There are two approaches to obtain data for causal research: laboratory studies and field experiments.
In most cases, laboratory experiments are carried out in a controlled environment, allowing the researcher to precisely alter the variables. Field experiments, on the other hand, are much more realistic in character.
The challenge of relational research
According to this research challenge, a link between two variables must be studied. The goal is to look at qualities or characteristics that are linked together in some way.
For example, ‘how does a teacher's experience influence his or her teaching style?' As a result, this type of study problem necessitates the use of multiple variables to characterize the link between them (Hartanska, 2014).