Research Problem

The goal of your ALM thesis is not just to describe, but rather to explain, interpret, or even solve a focused research problem within your discipline.

This part of your proposal - typically two to four pages in length - describes the context of your proposed research (why is it a “problem”?), and includes a simple statement of the research question itself.

Key Parts

  1. Research Question: What is the question you seek to answer?

  2. Hypothesis: What is the tentative answer that your study will test?

  3. Evidence: What source material, experiment, analysis, or other method will you use to test your hypothesis?  (just summarize here, then fully describe it in the method(s) section)

  4. Conclusions and Broader Implications: What are the potential implications of your research?


Key Qualities

  1. Originality - Not solely a compilation of the views, results, or interpretations of others, your thesis should seek to make an original contribution to your discipline

  2. Focus - Your research problem should be as precise and unambiguous as possible

  3. Independence - Your question should reflect independent thinking; skeptically examining underlying assumptions, schools of thought, or other orthodoxy

For more discipline-specific guidance on this part of your proposal, please refer to the appropriate section located on this page, or contact your Research Advisor.