Social Sciences: Research Problem

It may be helpful to draft the Social Sciences Research Problem section before you begin writing the thesis proposal as a whole.

  • When drafting this section, address the following six questions using non-technical, lay language with clear and concrete examples:
  1. What is the problem you are addressing? - relate it to the real world
  2. What is the significance of the problem? - stress the importance
  3. What is known about the problem? - based on your review of relevant literature
  4. What are the gaps or puzzles in what is known about the problem? - more specifically, what's missing or inadequately answered in current literature
  5. What is your suggested response that might fill in one or more of these gaps? - a hypothesis, refutation, extension or reformulation of existing knowledge that needs to be tested
  6. How do you propose to test your suggested solution, and what evidence will you use?
  • Question 6 leads directly to theĀ Research Methods section of your proposal, in which you specify a theory-informed, data driven and transparent method to test your response from Question 5.

Your responses to these six questions serves to summarize your proposed thesis research.

Your responses may run from three to five pages and - with minor editing - may be used as theĀ Research Problem in your thesis research proposal.