A Research Problem on Birth Order and Academic Performance in Social Studies among Primary School Pupils
A statement of the research statement could be derived from the very source(s) from where the problem evolved. Often the source of the research problem, such as literature, practical experience or other factors is taken to provide justification for the research problem. Where for example a research problem emanated from a gap in literature, then it becomes imperative to provide sufficient information on the knowledge gap that constituted or provided authenticity to the research problem as object of study (Osaze, 2011)
The importance and development of research problem can best be articulated from having first, a clear understanding of what research is all about. Research is credited to produce the required spring board for human, societal, technological advancement and development in countries that recognize its value and priorities its importance. Research has been defined and explained in various forms by various scholars and authorities. From an informal approach, the simple explanation of research can be deduced from its compound wording-„re‟ and „search‟. The word, „re‟ implies „continuity‟ and the word „search‟ implies among other meanings: inquiry, investigation, examination, „experimentation‟ or effort towards finding out or discovering something hitherto unknown of unfound.
Piecing the two words together, a research therefore represents a continuous search, inquiry, investigation, examination, experimentation of required knowledge or information that could lead to the discovery of appropriate solution to a particular problem. The search becomes continuous as newfound solution to a particular problem over time develops another set of problems that would necessitate further research for new set of solutions. For example, the search for a better lighting led to the discovery of the electric bulb. Electric bulb over time generated its own sets of problems in the form of high electricity power consumption and generation of intense heat among others. A further search (research) for solution to these new sets of problems from the electric bulb led to the discovery of Fluorescent bulbs. Soon the fluorescent bulb was found to require certain minimum level of electricity voltage without which it begins to dysfunction.
Further search for solution over the new problem from the Fluorescent bulb led to the discovery of variants of better performing energy-saving lightings that are further being improved upon by continuous research. Every research begins with the identification of a problem and ends with solution that eventually creates further problem for yet another research concern. Research is not a one-off set of activity, but a process that consists of series of systematic and interrelated activities that are aimed at obtaining solution to particular problem (Nachmias, &Nachmias, 1996). Taken from a formal angle, research can be described as a process that consists of the identification and definition of problem, the formulation and testing of hypothesis through the collection, organisation and evaluation of data, the making deductions and reaching of conclusion from the test results of the hypotheses.
THE CONCEPT OF PROBLEM STATEMENT
Writing a problem statement can help you contextualize and understand the significance of your research problem. A problem statement can be several paragraphs long and serve as the basis for your research proposal, or it can be condensed into just a few sentences in the introduction of your paper or thesis. Before the problem statement can be crafted, the problem must be defined. It is human nature to want to begin working on a solution as soon as possible and neglecting the definition of the true problem to be solved. However, a poorly defined problem increases the risk of implementing a solution that does not fully meet the expected results. A problem cannot be solved if it is not completely understood.
A Research Problem on Birth Order and Academic Performance in Social Studies among Primary School Pupils
The process of defining the problem is often a group effort. It starts with meeting with the stakeholders, customers, and/or users affected by the issue (if possible) and learning about their pain points. Since people often struggle with effectively communicating their issues, particularly to someone outside of the process, it is helpful to ask a series of “why” questions until the underlying reasoning are identified. This method, known as the “5 Why’s”, helps drill down to the core problem as many of the experienced frustrations could be mere symptoms of the actual problem. Asking these additional questions as well as paraphrasing what the stakeholder had said demonstrates a degree of empathy and understanding of the problem.
The information collected from these initial interviews is only one part of problem analysis. Many times the problem extends to multiple areas or functions to which the stakeholders, customers, and users are unaware. They may also be familiar with what is happening on the surface but not necessarily the underlying cause. Therefore, it is just as essential to gather knowledge, information, and insights from project team members and subject matter experts concerning the problem. Additional research materials, including work instructions, user manuals, product specifications, workflow charts, and previous project plans may also need to be consulted. Like most other stages in the process improvement project, defining the problem is often iterative as several rounds of discussions may be needed to get the full picture. Once the problem is understood and the circumstances driving the project initiation are clear, it is time to write the problem statement.
What Is Research Problem?
A research problem is a definite or clear expression [statement] about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in scholarly literature, in theory, or within existing practice that points to a need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation. A research problem does not state how to do something, offer a vague or broad proposition, or present a value question.
A Research Problem on Birth Order And Academic Performance In Social Studies Among Primary School Pupils IN Obot Akara local Government Area
Poor academic performance of pupils in recent times has been a worrisome, poor academic performance is a multi faceted problem caused by many and varied factors some see this poor performance by pupils as a reflection of perceived falling standard of education in our society brought about by birth order. Some believed that the child position in the birth order determine their academic performance in school it usually arise in an effort to cater for the developmental need of the children, including education. Parents who do not plan the birth order of their families do, themselves more harm than good therefore it is imperative that this research examines birth order and academic performance of pupils in social studies.
CHARACTERISTIC OF A RESEARCH PROBLEM
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…show more content…
A lot of thought and dedication goes in to the problem statement since the researcher’s goal is to convince the reader that the problem is worthy of research. In order to achieve this, the writing style must be clear, concise and persuasive. People often confuse academic writing with strange and sophisticated language. Nevertheless, “the purpose of academic writing is to inform and bring awareness of innovative contributions to the body of knowledge. For this reason, academic writing has established a unique and intellectual voice of its own” (Gonzalez, 2011, para.1).
According to Leedy and Ormrod, “the problem should be so clearly stated that anyone who reads English can read and understand it” (p.48). In other words, the language used to explain the problem is jargon free. Leedy and Ormrod suggested “say exactly what you mean . . . do not assume that others will be able to read your mind” (p. 49).
This is why is important to keep the problem statement jargon free; it will avoid future misunderstanding. In addition, the authors continue to suggest using action verbs instead of passive verbs; this will guarantee clarity. Keeping the problem statement “real” is also an important criterion. The problem statement needs to be realistic in many ways. The affordability and time efficacy of the research depends on how realistic the problem statement is.
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”
Differentiating Quantitative From Qualitative Research Problems
After identifying a research problem, you should also consider if it better suits a quantitative or qualitative approach. Both approaches have merit, but since they differ in their essential characteristics, you need to decide which one is more appropriate to use for your specific research problem. Look once again at the study of the contribution of students’ beliefs about language learning, learning styles, and language learning strategies on students’ English achievement (Angelianawati, 2012).
In this quantitative study, the researcher made a case that we knew about the role of the students’ beliefs about language learning, learning styles, and language learning strategies in English learning. Her literature review on current relevant studies showed that someone’s beliefs about language learning, language learning strategies and learning styles gave significant contribution toward his/her success of learning. Thus, the researcher predicted that the dependent variables (students’ beliefs about language learning, learning styles, and language learning strategies) contributed to the independent variables (students’ English learning achievement). To test this prediction, she measured both dependent and independent variables and tested their correlation. This study, which predicts and explains the correlation of variables, is one of the typical natures of the quantitative research.
That topic can also be studied by focusing on the problem of the effect of one of the dependent variables, e.g. the students’ learning styles, to learning achievement. To carry out the study investigating this problem, the researcher should first classify the students based on their predominant learning style, i.e. communicative, analytical, authority-oriented, and concrete. Then after the students are taught the same materials in some sessions, they are given a posttest. The results of the test are compared to see which of the four learning styles affected the learning achievement. Such study, which explains or predicts the cause and effect of variables is also typical of quantitative research. The topic of “students’ beliefs about language learning, learning styles, and language learning strategies” could also be directed to understand the beliefs students hold and the learning styles and strategies they employed. In this case, the researcher does not measure these three factors. He/she just tries to obtain detailed information to understand more about the phenomena. A study focusing on the exploration and understanding of issues is typical of qualitative research.
Reasons Why Statement of the Problem Is Important In Research
A research problem could present itself as a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty or deficiency to be overcome, or a gap in knowledge that exists in scholarly literature that is to be filled, or theory that requires meaningful understanding. It could also concern a body of knowledge or views held in different clime that requires validation or confirmation for local application. The formulation of research problem constitutes the starting point and the most important phase of any research process (Jessa 2010). The importance of research problem cannot be over emphasized as it serves as the foundation of a research effort and upon which the success or failure of the research undertaking well depends on the appropriateness in both the selection and formulation and development of the research problem. Research problem provides direction and defines the purpose(s) of any particular research, which could be one or combination of the followings:
- The filling of existing knowledge gap or gap in knowledge
- Knowledge of the relationship among different aspects of nature or phenomenon
- Testing and verification of new or old body of knowledge, theories or beliefs.
- The need for theory construction
- Resolution and clarification of contradictory findings or classical problems
- Informing changes in present practice?
The importance of research problem is underscored by the way its recognition has been in the academic world (Kothari, 2012). For example synopsis is accepted as a formalized version of research problem, as most post graduate research programmes require a synopsis that accentuates the research problem.
Also researchers seeking for grant from research funding organizations are required to submit a project proposal, which is a statement of carefully articulated research problem and the proposed ways or methods at solving it. Formulated, feasible and appropriate research problem provides the basis for research questions, objectives and hypotheses development and testing, the result of which constitute the findings on which conclusion on the attainment of the research objectives and its contributions to knowledge.
A research problem is succinctly stated in one or more concise paragraph (but not exceeds one page by including five elements: the actual research problem, justification of the importance of the problem as found in current studies and practice, deficiency (gap) in literature about the problem, method (timeframe, participants, location and trend), and the organization, and/or the individuals that will benefit from a better understanding or solution to the problem. The problem statement is then followed by purpose, research questions. Exclusively, the research questions of a quantitative research are followed by the hypothesis.
Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2010). Practical research: Planning and design Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
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(Jessa 2010). Research Methods in the Social Research Methods in the Social Sciences. 5th ed.
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