Necessity of Defining the Problem

The old adage, A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved, holds strong even today. Proper definition of a research problem is an important prerequisite for any research study. Often, the formulation of a problem holds more significance than its solution. The manner in which the problem is defined decides the direction for the entire research. The problem that has to be analyzed should be defined unambiguously, which will help to discriminate between the relevant and irrelevant data. A careful scrutiny of the research problem will help in working out the research design. This will ensure smooth coordination of all the consequential steps involved in the research. Lots of questions may arise during the course of the research: What data needs to be collected? What characteristics of that data are relevant and need to be studied? What relations have to be explored? What techniques have to be used for the purpose? The researcher can find answers to all these questions only if the problem has been properly defined. A proper definition of the problem helps to improve the overall efficiency and quality of the study. It is the foundation for further development of the research proposal. It enables the researcher to systematically point out as to why the proposed research should be undertaken and what can be achieved with the research findings. A carefully defined research problem ensures that the researcher does not stray from the research path that has to be followed.

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