Problems are consequences based on diverse cultural differences, ideas, and observations made by people. There are plenty of problems in the world; nevertheless, not every problem considered is appropriate research material. It is necessary to go beyond the state of being aware and conscious of the problem. Looking at the big picture often becomes daunting and misleading. Nevertheless, dissecting the problem isolates key issues narrowing the problem and discovering its origin; thus resulting in a realistic and interesting research. Leedy and Ormrod (2010) suggested considering two criteria when developing a problem for the research;
The problem should address an important question, such that the answer can actually make a difference . . . it should advance the frontiers of knowledge by leading to new ways of thinking, suggesting possible applications, or paving the way for further research in the field. (p.45)
In addition, Leedy and Ormrod explained that a quality research problem needs "interpretation of data" and "mental struggle". The authors illustrated various examples of inappropriate problems for research: for example, (a) problems based a yes or no answer, (b) questions centered on personal inquiry, (c) using problems to calculate numbers in data, and (d) using problems to compare and contrast data (p. 45). Because the research problem is the "heart" of the entire research, it must have a direct line to the goal. In order to generate a high-quality problem statement, it is important to understand the nature of the problem.
Understanding the problem takes time and a vision. In 2005, Creswell stated, "one cannot place value on research without a clear understanding" (as cited in Ellis & Levy, 2008, pg. 18). In addition, Nelson and Schum (2009) stated, "understanding is the ability to explain or know the meaning or cause of something" (p.382). In 2000, Kerlinger and Lee described understanding as a need to know "why something is as it is" (as cited in Ellis & Levy, 2010, p.18). Observing and studying peer reviewed articles and dissertations, assist to understand the problem. In addition, the problem appears clearer when the topic is interesting to the researcher (p. 47). Developing a high-quality research problem statement will provide a means for reaching the goal. In 2008, Ellis and Levy stated, "what makes research of interest is how it will impact future research and other researchers, not the author" (p.18).
The purpose of the problem statement is to bring awareness of a current problem that needs immediate attention. In 2007, Coley stated, "the purpose of the needs/problem statement is to identify the compelling conditions, problems or issues that are leading you to propose a plan of action" (p.40). According to Leedy and Ormrod, the problem statement frames the entire research (p.48). The problem statement serves as an introduction to the research; it describes the focus of the study and...