Defining Problem Statement in Psychology

Problems may be solved quickly and efficiently with a well-formulated problem statement, simplifying complex conditions into achievable aims that can be communicated with others. At some time, tensions occur in every occupation. Consequently, a statement such as this may be used to assist employees in identifying problems before they create a broad organizational disturbance.

Defining the Problem and Offering an Explanation

When a company has a problem, it will have a problem statement, a formal report made by a manager or consultant to outline the nature of the problem and provide potential solutions. This report aims to provide a thorough solution strategy and suggestions for avoiding the problem. Although these assertions originated in academia, they have found widespread use in the corporate world. It is a powerful method of spreading the word about a possible danger to upper management. The long-term effects of the technique are beneficial to the industry as a whole since it encourages creativity and discoveries.

Ways in which a Problem is Manifested

A difficulty is considered to exist when we know enough to suspect that there is something we do not truly understand. An issue is considered to express itself in at least three ways: A knowledge gap occurs when there is a conspicuous gap or absence of information. Suppose a community or organization decides to offer psychological services. In that case, two problems arise: what style of psychotherapy should be offered, and (ii) which of the several therapeutic procedures is most beneficial for a certain type of mental disorder.

There is a significant knowledge gap; hence, gathering relevant facts and explanations is required to bridge the gap. Inconsistent outcomes: When numerous studies on the same topic are inconsistent and, at times, conflicting, the difficulty is determining a new response and resolving the disagreement. Explanation of a Fact: Another way we become aware of an issue is when we have a 'fact' in our hands and question ourselves, "Why is this so?" An issue is considered to exist when facts in any discipline are discovered as unexplained information.

Identifying a Research Problem

Ideas for research problems/issues/topics can come from various sources, including professional or personal experience, current theory, media (Electronic, Print, and Social), and other previous/recent research studies. A few methods for identifying a research problem include−

  • Professional or personal background − Every day, our professional or personal experiences will lead us to examine an issue for which we seek a solution. Alternatively, responding to a query or addressing a problem may be feasible.

  • Existing theory − Research is a technique of theoretical development and testing. Psychologists use several concepts from different domains in their professions. When using a contemporary theory to generate researchable issues/problems or questions, it is critical to isolate a specific assertion from the theory. In general, clinical research is conducted on a piece or aspects of the theory. Testing an established theory is unquestionably necessary for psychology; thus, they serve as a good source of the problem.

  • Review of Related Literature and Media − There are several literature sources, including foreign and Indian books/periodicals and journals, encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and Manorama yearbooks, and specialist sources such as NCERT's Survey of Education Studies, PsycINFO database, and so on. Searching and reading related material can help identify gaps in information, skills, and difficulties for which there is no solution. These can serve as a solid research foundation. We are also inundated with media-provided content, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter.

Operationalization of Variables

When presenting an issue, the researcher should ensure that it is presented in such broad words that it becomes ambiguous and detailed in such restricted terms that it becomes minor and trivial. The most crucial step in this manner is to describe and define the variables involved in the situation. Assume you wish to investigate the "Effectiveness of television on the performance of students in Course One of the Master of Arts (Distance Education) given by the Indira Gandhi National Open University." This sentence is wide and explains what you wish to achieve in a general sense. However, the problem must be specified with considerably greater accuracy.

The initial stage in this process is to specify and define the variables involved in the problem. The problem's variables are "effectiveness" and "performance." Please remember that these terms should be interpreted beyond their dictionary definitions. The dictionary definition of "effectiveness" is "creating the desired effect." This is insufficient for research purposes. You must describe exactly what effectiveness indicator you will use or what you will conduct to quantify the existence or absence of the phenomena signified by the term "effectiveness."

Similarly, the other variable, "performance," must be defined in terms of the activities or procedures used to measure it. In this study, you may define "effectiveness" as the improvement in scores on a standardized achievement exam in Course One produced by Diploma students. The term 'performance 'may relate to Course One's accomplishment test results. The problem should be phrased to demonstrate a link between two or more variables.

It should not include philosophical topics, morals, or moral dilemmas that scientific research cannot resolve. For example, should television be more beneficial in raising pupils' performance levels? Research cannot provide answers to such value questions. Similarly, the question "what is there in television education that improves performance?" is philosophical and cannot be answered.

Importance of Having a Problem Statement

Since it lays the groundwork for future investigation and innovation, a statement on the problem is essential to effective communication. The person who can make significant changes to the organization's goals is given a birds-eye perspective of the situation. It is significant because it takes a comprehensive look at the problem. Details such as who is affected, how, when, where, and why the problem must be remedied are all included. In this way, businesses can gauge the seriousness of a problem.

Problem statements guarantee that people look into the whole extent of a problem and delve into the solution with well-defined objectives. It is the first step in a brand-new endeavor, establishing the standards for handling the problem and providing a framework for carrying it out competently. Such a statement, made at the end of the project, might assist researchers in checking whether the solution indeed fixed the original problem.


A typical research statement will be about one page in length. Put another way, and it will identify the problem or the lack of knowledge. However, the problem description concerns something other than the possible remedies to this knowledge gap. Its goal is to summarize the existing data and highlight any gaps in understanding that may need further study. A problem statement is meant to pinpoint the root of a problem and frame it so that it may be investigated methodically. It lays out the problem and suggests a course of action for researching a solution or shows why more data is required before a solution can be developed.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023


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