Sources for selection of research problem
If you have not yet selected a research problem and do not know where to start then this article may help you. Most research in humanities revolves around four P’s:
- People which may be individuals, organizations, groups or communities.
- Problems which is the study of issues, situations, associations, needs etc.
- Programs which is the study of contents, structure, outcomes, satisfaction, service providers etc.
- Phenomenon which is the study of cause and effect relationship, the study of phenomenon itself etc.
You may select a group of individuals for examining the certain existing issues to ascertain the attitudes towards different aspects of lives or to establish effectiveness of certain phenomenon. Your focus for the research problem may be the study of an issue, or an association with the phenomenon. For example:
- relationship between unemployment and street crime.
- smoking and cancer.
- fertility and mortality.
This study is done on the basis of information collected by individuals, organizations, groups or communities.
Similarly you can study different aspects of a program, the need for it, its effectiveness, consumer satisfaction, its structure etc. This study is done on the basis of information collected from people.
There are two aspects of a study about these four P’s.
- Study population.
- Subject area.
Study population is about the people from where the information is collected.
Subject area is the program, problem or a phenomenon about which information is collected.
The study of an aspect of a program can be carried out in any professional field. For example you can measure the effectiveness of a program in the field of health, nursing, health promotion or a welfare program. Similarly you can record consumers satisfaction about any aspect of a program.
Examine your own academic discipline or professional field in the context of the four P’s in order to identify your research problem and anything that looks interesting. For example if you are a student in the health field, then there is enormous number of issues in each sub field of health that you could investigate. Issues related to spread of a disease, drug rehabilitation, an immunisation program, the effectiveness of a treatment can all provide you with the range of research problems.
Similarly in education there are several issues. For example the effectiveness of home environment on the educational achievements, and the supervisory needs of the post graduate students in higher education. Any other academic or professional field can further be dissected into sub fields and examined for a research problem.