Writing Research Problems and Questions
Although a common definition of a research problem is that it is a statement that asks what relationship exists between two or more variables, most research problems are more complex than this definition implies. The research problem should be a broad statement that covers the several more specific research questions to be investigated, perhaps by using terms that stand for several variables. One way to state the problem, which can help you determine the independent and dependent variables, is as follows (italics indicate that you fill in the appropriate name for the variable or group of variables).
If your study is randomized experimental or strong quasi-experimental, you could phrase the problem as follows:
The research problem is to investigate the presumed effect of (put independent variable 1 or group of variables here), (independent variable 2, if any, here), and (independent variable 3, if any), on (dependent variable 1, here) and (dependent variable 2, if any) in (population).
Except in a totally descriptive study, there always must be at least one independent and one dependent variable. However, there can be, and often are, two or more of each variable. In the statement of the problem, in contrast to the research question or hypotheses, it is desirable to use broad descriptors for groups of similar variables. For example, demographics might cover four variables: gender, mother's education, father's education, and ethnicity. Spatial