Formulation of a research problem
This is the first and the most important step of the research process. It identifies your destination.
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.
If one wants to solve the research 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.
Hence you should give it considerable and careful thought at this stage.
It is extremely important to evaluate research problem in the light of the financial resources available, time available, your and your research supervisor’s expertise and knowledge in the field of study. It is equally important to identify any gaps in your knowledge of relevant disciplines, such as statistics, required for analysis. If you have a plan to use computer software then you must have sufficient knowledge of that.