Writing A Research Paper Statement Of The Problem: Guidelines And Examples

A good research paper is based on a solid statement of the problem. Some may call this the research question or the thesis statement. Any way you look at it, you must be precise in your wording and clear in your purpose. If you are looking for guidelines to follow and examples to see, you’ve come to the right place.


Your statement needs to be narrow enough you can cover it in the scope of your piece of writing. If it’s too broad, you won’t be able to do it justice. Here are some examples:

Too broad: In this essay, I will talk about using cellphones in class.

Good: The use of cellphones in class has made a significant impact on student grades due to the distraction they cause.

Too broad: This paper is about the legal drinking age.

Good: Legal drinking ages should be raised because countries with lower drinking ages have a greater incidence of teen deaths caused by driving while under the influence.


As you prepare to write your research paper statement, use the following points to help you formulate an effective and compelling statement.

  1. Understand its purpose. It’s not just a name or title, it’s a super-summarized form of the entire piece of writing. Your research is based solely on this one sentence. It’s the whole reason you are undertaking this project. It’s the one point everything else will be based on. It’s the foundation of the assignment.
  2. It should be focused and clear. There should be no doubt as to what your piece of writing is about and what you are aiming to achieve.
  3. It should tell a story. It should perfectly describe the reason for the paper.
  4. It sets the stage for any questions the reader may have about your topic.
  5. It is located in the introduction paragraph, usually the very last sentence in that paragraph, so it provides a transition to the first paragraph of the body, which should contain the most important supporting evidence for the statement.
  6. It is what each paragraph of the body is based on. They should all provide different pieces of supporting evidence. In a 5 paragraph essay, each of the 3 body paragraphs are one main point about the topic, accompanied by 2 or 3 pieces of evidence for each point.

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