Any question that you want answered and any assumption that you want to challenge or investigate can become a research topic for your study.
However, it may be remembered that not all the problems can be converted into research problem. Some may prove to be extremely difficult to study. Potential research questions may come to us on a regular basis. The process of formulating them in a meaningful way is not an easy task. As a new researcher, it might seem easy to formulate a problem. But it requires a considerable knowledge of both the subject and the research methodology.
It is essential for the problem you formulate to be able to withstand scientific scrutiny in terms or procedures required to be undertaken. Hence you should spend more time in thinking it through.
Importance of formulating a research problem
The formulation of a research problem is first and most important step of a research process.
It is like the identification of destination before undertaking a journey.
As in the absence of destination, it is impossible to identify the shortest route. In the absence of a clear research problem, a clear and economical plan is impossible.
A research process is like the foundation of the building.
The type and design of building depends upon the foundation. If the foundation is well designed and strong, you can expect the building to be strong.
Similarly, research problem serves as the foundation of a research study, if it is well formulated you will expect a good study to follow.
If one wants to solve the problem, then it must be clear to him that what actually is the problem. It can be said that large part of the problem lies in knowing what one trying to do.
A research problem may take a number of forms, from the very simple to the very complex one. The way you formulate the problem determines every step that follows:
- the type of study design that can be used.
- the type of sampling strategy.
- research instrument that can be used or developed.
- the type of analysis that can be undertaken.
Formulation of the problem is like the input to a study. And Quality of contents of the research report is the output of your research report. You may become confuse in the beginning. But remember how much you are clearer to your problem, the easier it will be for you later on. Take time over formulating your problem. This is the most important and crucial step.