Statement Of Research Problems, Research Question, Objectives, And Hypothesis
One American axiom says in slang terms: if it is not broken, do not patch or repair it. This statement suggests at the on-set that every research is aimed at solving a problem or resolving a contradiction or conflict inherent in certain phenomena but which has constituted a problem for policy makers as well as society. These problems ( if they are sociopath-political) may have have hindered the effectiveness and efficiency of the system or the administration of public policy.
In social and behavioral sciences particularly, it is believed that governments, managers of the private sector, and society at large are inundated with various “problems” for which “solution” are needed. Often, government policies fail to realize their expected goals. This is so because such policies may not have, This is so because such policies may not have, at times, been initiated on the basis of educated information.
Part of the solution to any problem is first, recognizing that such problem actually exists. The “statement of research problem” is an attempt to tell the reader that in fact problem(s) do exist. In this vein, this section of research method, among others asks the questions:
- What had gone wrong?
- What has happened?
- What is happening that suggests that a problem really exists of which “your” study attempts to bring further insight to, or better conceptualization of, and by extension, a resolution of ? “Why” fix it? The answer of course would be: “because it is that the researcher would have stated the research problem.
Therefore, the statement of research problem deals with categorical and detailed statements of existing “problem” which had become a thing of worry or concern to man and society for which solution or resolution is needed. Nnabugwu (2004:429) puts it thus: a statement of the problem is usually a declarative statement of what is wrong, doubted, and unsettling… it is a statement that gives clear insight into what is being studied. He further (in an sms August 26 2011) noted that “it makes good sense to hinge research question on statement of the problem much as hypothesis must tally with research questions.
The research question in any social science inquiry is that question whose answer validate or attempts to validate or invalidates
a stated hypothesis for that inquiry.
Research question may be multiple or singular. It’s multiplicity may not necessarily be a factor of multiplicity of hypothesis for a particular study since the topic of a research may present it with competing hypothesis (H0 and H1). If we take that for granted, therefore, it stands to reason that the research must raise (ask) questions whose answers are expected to validate/sustain or invalidate any of the propositions or tentative answers (hypothesis).
In addition, just as (hypo) thesis can be said to be derivative of the research question, so can the research question be said to derive from the hypothesis. “The egg or the hen, which begin the other?” is a good analogy here.
What this means is that every hypothesis represents pre-supposedly probable answer (thesis) to a research question.
It may also be safe to add that research questions are unconsciously raised as a result of the curiosity that emanates from reading the statement of research problem.
Finally, there is a relationship between the topic, the research questions and the hypothesis. Nnabugwu (2004:64-68) illustrates this relationship very vividly.