How To Write A Problem Statement For Your Thesis

Essentially, when writing a research project or a thesis, there is a particular problem that you intend to address and get solutions, right? Now, this is what a problem statement captures. In this case, the problem statement provided an overview of the issue discussed in the paper. In addition, the problem statement provides a background of the individuals or area affected. In order to identify a research problem, you will have to work with intense existing literature. The idea here is to unearth a specific issue which the research seeks to address. For the sake of good performance in your project, it is important for you to articulate a good problem statement, such that the reader will be adequately informed on what is expected in the subsequent sections. Here are some guidelines on how to write a problem statement for your thesis:

Brief Background

The first and one of the most important elements that a problem statement should address is the background information. The aim of providing the background information is to help the reader to understand the context of the problem. Further, the background information allows the reader to associate and connect with the main topic and the issues surrounding the same. Make sure that you provide adequate background information, but in a brief manner.

Provide General Research Problem

As noted, in this case, you should focus on the general research problem and not the specific one. As the writer, you should have familiarized with the contents in existing literature and identify the common problem that manifests in all publications. That way, you will have a clear idea of the general research problem. The sentence that addresses this should begin with something like ‘the general problem in this study is…’. Again, you must ensure that the problem stated is generic as opposed to specific.

Establish Relevance

It is important to note that the problem stated must resonate with some research, particularly from existing literature. In this case, you are required to portray relevance of your problem statement based on research. Therefore, you will have to cite any research that supports the problem that you stated. You can focus on relevant information along with what is contextual to the subject area. Ideally, it would be necessary to cite as many sources as possible to validate your position and the problem of the study. Citations should be in accordance with the recommended style.

State The Specific Problem Statement

At this point, you are supposed to state the specific problem statement. In this case, you must narrow down the general problems into one specific issue that has to be solved through research. Ideally, the specific problem statement should share some similarities with the title of your project. This is because the intension of the thesis is to address the topic you chose, which means that the problem itself is part of the thesis title.


This is the last section of the problem statement. Here, you will be required to provide information on the impacts of the problem on the society and the relevant target audience. In other words, the conclusion should be in such a manner that the need to conduct further research is raised. Most importantly, the conclusion should provide transition to the next section of the thesis.