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Research is a systematic investigative process employed to increase or revise current knowledge by

discovering new facts. It can be divided into two general categories: (1) Basic research, which is inquiry
aimed at increasing scientific knowledge, and (2) Applied research, which is effort aimed at using basic
research for solving problems or developing new processes, products, or techniques.

The first and most important step in any research is to identify and delineate the research problem: that
is, what the researcher wants to solve and what questions he/she wishes to answer. A research problem
may be defined as an area of concern, a gap in the existing knowledge, or a deviation in the norm or
standard that points to the need for further understanding and investigation. Although many problems
turn out to have several solutions (the means to close the gap or correct the deviation), difficulties arise
where such means are either not obvious or are not immediately available. This then necessitates some
research to reach a viable solution.

A statement of the problem is used in research work as a claim that outlines the problem addressed by a
study. The statement of the problem briefly addresses the question: What is the problem that the
research will address?

What are the goals of a statement of the problem?

The ultimate goal of a statement of the problem is to transform a generalized problem (something that
bothers you; a perceived lack) into a targeted, well-defined problem; one that can be resolved through
focused research and careful decision-making.

Writing a statement of the problem should help you clearly identify the purpose of the research project
you will propose. Often, the statement of the problem will also serve as the basis for the introductory
section of your final proposal, directing your reader’s attention quickly to the issues that your proposed
project will address and providing the reader with a concise statement of the proposed project itself.

A statement of problem need not be long and elaborate: one page is more than enough for a good
statement of problem.

What are the key characteristics of a statement of the problem?

A good research problem should have the following characteristics:

It should address a gap in knowledge.

It should be significant enough to contribute to the existing body of research

It should lead to further research

The problem should render itself to investigation through collection of data

It should be of interest to the researcher and suit his/her skills, time, and resources

The approach towards solving the problem should be ethical

What is the format for writing a statement of the problem?

A persuasive statement of problem is usually written in three parts:

Part A (The ideal): Describes a desired goal or ideal situation; explains how things should be.

Part B (The reality): Describes a condition that prevents the goal, state, or value in Part A from being
achieved or realized at this time; explains how the current situation falls short of the goal or ideal.

Part C (The consequences): Identifies the way you propose to improve the current situation and move it
closer to the goal or ideal.

Here is an example:

Example 1

Part A: According to the XY university mission statement, the university seeks to provide students with a
safe, healthy learning environment. Dormitories are one important aspect of that learning environment,
since 55% of XY students live in campus dorms and most of these students spend a significant amount of
time working in their dorm rooms.


Part B: Students living in dorms A B C, and D currently do not have air conditioning units, and during the
hot seasons, it is common for room temperatures to exceed 80 degrees F. Many students report that
they are unable to do homework in their dorm rooms. Others report having problems sleeping because
of the humidity and temperature. The rooms are not only unhealthy, but they inhibit student
productivity and academic achievement.

Part C: In response to this problem, our study proposes to investigate several options for making the
dorms more hospitable. We plan to carry out an all-inclusive participatory investigation into options for
purchasing air conditioners (university-funded; student-subsidized) and different types of air
conditioning systems. We will also consider less expensive ways to mitigate some or all of the problems
noted above (such as creating climate-controlled dorm lounges and equipping them with better study
areas and computing space).

What is Scope of Study Section?

The Scope of study in the thesis or research paper is contains the explanation of what information or
subject is being analyzed. It is followed by an explanation of the limitation of the research. Research
usually limited in scope by sample size, time and geographic area. While the delimitation of study is the
description of the scope of study. It will explain why definite aspects of a subject were chosen and why
others were excluded. It also mention the research method used as well as the certain theories that
applied to the data.

It is important to narrow down your thesis topic and limit the scope of your study. The researcher
should inform the reader about limits or coverage of the study. The scope identifies the boundaries of
the study in term of subjects, objectives, facilities, area, time frame, and the issues to which the
research is focused.

Sample phrases that help express the scope of the study:

The coverage of this study……….

The study consists of ……..

The study covers the ……….

This study is focus on……..

The delimitation of the study is delimiting a study by geographic location, age, sex, population traits,
population size, or other similar considerations. Delimitation is used to make study better and more
feasible and not just for the interest of the researcher. It also identifies the constraints or weaknesses of
your study which are not within the control of the researcher.

Sample phrases that expressed the delimitations of the study

The study does not cover the……

The researcher limited this research to……

This study is limited to………


What is a conceptual framework? How do you prepare one? This article defines the meaning of
conceptual framework and lists the steps on how to prepare it. A simplified example is added to
strengthen the reader’s understanding.

In the course of preparing your research paper as one of the requirements for your course as an
undergraduate or graduate student, you will need to write the conceptual framework of your study. The
conceptual framework steers the whole research activity. The conceptual framework serves as a “map”
or “rudder” that will guide you towards realizing the objectives or intent of your study.

What then is a conceptual framework in the context of empirical research? The next section defines and
explains the term.

Empirical- is Research is founded on actual experience or observation by the researcher.

Definition of Conceptual Framework

A conceptual framework represents the researcher’s synthesis of literature on how to explain a

phenomenon. It maps out the actions required in the course of the study given his previous knowledge
of other researchers’ point of view and his observations on the subject of research.

In other words, the conceptual framework is the researcher’s understanding of how the particular
variables in his study connect with each other. Thus, it identifies the variables required in the research
investigation. It is the researcher’s “map” in pursuing the investigation.

As McGaghie et al. (2001) put it: The conceptual framework “sets the stage” for the presentation of the
particular research question that drives the investigation being reported based on the problem
statement. The problem statement of a thesis presents the context and the issues that caused the
researcher to conduct the study.

Step by Step Guide on How to Make the Conceptual Framework

Before you prepare your conceptual framework, you need to do the following things:

 Choose your topic. Decide on what will be your research topic. The topic should be within your
field of specialization.
 Do a literature review. Review relevant and updated research on the theme that you decide to
work on after scrutiny of the issue at hand. Preferably use peer-reviewed and well-known
scientific journals as these are reliable sources of information.
 Isolate the important variables. Identify the specific variables described in the literature and
figure out how these are related. Some abstracts contain the variables and the salient findings
thus may serve the purpose. If these are not available, find the research paper’s summary. If the
variables are not explicit in the summary, get back to the methodology or the results and
discussion section and quickly identify the variables of the study and the significant findings.
Read the TSPU Technique on how to skim efficiently articles and get to the important points
without much fuss.
 Generate the conceptual framework. Build your conceptual framework using your mix of the
variables from the scientific articles you have read. Your problem statement serves as a
reference in constructing the conceptual framework. In effect, your study will attempt to answer
a question that other researchers have not explained yet. Your research should address a
knowledge gap.