General Advice on Writing a Dissertation Proposal Problem Statement 

A problem statement should be at the very beginning of a dissertation proposal. The dissertation committee members usually look at it to understand why you are conducting the research. A problem statement should convince the reader of the work’s value. In addition, you are supposed to point out possible solutions for the problem and the results that will be achieved. 

If you are going to write a problem statement for a dissertation proposal, the following guidelines will help improve your writing. 

  • Start with positive facts.
  • Try to write about the state of affairs as if the problem has been already solved. It’s always better to talk about something positive, as it creates a friendly tone. In addition, it will show that you know how to cope with your scientific task. 

  • Derive the problem from the body of your dissertation.
  • Stating a problem is not enough. It should be created using the findings of your potential research and explained in the context of the research methodology. The statement should answer two basic questions: “What are you researching?” and “Why are you researching it?” 

  • Write down the list of potential questions that your topic can lead to.
  • Your answers for the questions can become a part of your statement and make your text more informative.  

  • Avoid problems that lead to "yes-no" conclusions.
  • If you can answer positively or negatively on the question of a problem, then it’s a binary one. This is not acceptable for official research. The problem should be complex and it should include various aspects.  

  • Write argumentatively.
  • Writing involves arguments. Use the facts that are in your possession to support your ideas. Descriptions and citations are encouraged in the utilization of the proposal.  

  • The problem can’t have several interpretations.
  • A problem that can be interpreted in several ways can cause misunderstandings and various difficulties. The text of the problem should be straightforward and easy to understand. 

  • Review the samples.
  • If you face difficulties when writing your text, find some samples that will show you how to write it correctly and effectively. 

  • State and analyze a single problem.
  • One study equals one problem. If you write about many of them, it means that you might not be able to concentrate on the most important idea, and may switch from one to another. However, it is possible to point out several side problems in the context of the core problem, and that is ultimately your primary goal.   

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