Problem statement in a research proposal. A problem to solve..

Problem statement graph
Problem statement is a clear and brief description of the problem that is needed to be addressed in a research. It is the part of a research proposal which identifies the gap in an existing research or to acquire a new concept that is supported by facts and figures.

Problem statement is a crux of the purpose for carrying out a research. It defines a resolution that is intended to get after the research has been done. It is not mandatory for a researcher to look for a research gap in existing reseaches but students can produce their own ideas about a matter that is completely a new concept which in addition can involve unseen risks , so it’s better to stick with the gap in a research. 😊

At BS (undergraduate) level, students normally do not delve in particulars due to the preliminary stages of acquaintanceship with research, however, few universities in Pakistan which are committed to provide quality education do offer a study path in which students at their senior level can better understand research.

To exemplify our problem statement, lets have a model to understand the concept of problem statement in a better sense.

Quality management and airport performance (A research model):

Suppose students are well aware of the holistic structure of their research, hence it is understandable that an effective quality management strategy would definitely increase the performance of an airport. Below illustration shows the relation of these two variables.

Statement of the problem

It is very relevant to think about a variable that can affect the ongoing operations of quality management and hence can disturb the performance of an airport. We can think of Covid-19 as a variable which is mediating the relation, hence the model will look like as follow.

Research model

The model has now a new variable as a mediator, which is covid-19 and it will be assessed if this mediator is affecting the quality management and hence performance of the airport or not.

Do’s and don’ts :



   Contain a single paragraph. (short & concise).

   Reflect the problem only.

   Posses a valid reason for its existence

   Make it actionable.

   Make it inspirable.


Χ   Do not make a list.

Χ   Do not include findings.

Χ   Do not include a solution

Χ   Do not include a plan

Χ   Do not include examples.

Sample of a problem statement:

The problem statement of the suggested model that is illustrated above can be:

Aviation is a low margin, high value services industry relying significantly on quality management principles as an index of airport performance. How recent pandemic, the covid-19 effected the positive relation between quality management and project performance at a (specific) airport?

A careful read is providing a holistic view of what’s going on. In first line, the snippet is creating a sense that aviation industry is a low margin yet highly valuable industry due to its rapidly generating profits.. A small error might spark a bigger problem. Covid-19 as a pandemic is an international phenomenon that is affecting every industry in the world so ultimately covid-19 may have greatly affected the quality management department, hence, affecting the dependent variable, airport performance as-well.

In a nutshell, problem statement is not a big deal after having a comprehensive study of related articles, yet, at some point while even having the adequate knowledge about the topic, confusion and conflict is the part of every research, hence, the article highlighted main points in order to help jog the memory.


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