In society the problem is observe in everywhere. They even lie at doorstep and in backyards. Human nature is so complicated, that a problem solved for one individual may still exist for another individual. some problems are related to people, some are related to place and some are related to issues or perceptions. If a woman feels that there is restriction to selected the job which she is keen to do then it is the problem for that women. in specific word, it is the gap between desire situation and actual situation. Suppose that a person thinks that there should be no social discrimination in society basis on sex, but found that there is discriminatory practice in society then it is the social problem because there is gap between the thinking and actual reality. Thus, if we closely look out in society, the problem every way which may be minor or major.
Generally, problem is the result of curious in nature of human being which encourage either to increase understanding level (increase in knowledge) or to find out solution of the problem. secondly, knowledge gap leads to problem identification. Thirdly, dynamic nature of society or change in perception of people lead to identification of the problem. since this site focus on social research so problem focus on social problem.
Social problems are those issues, perception or situation which society, individual, institution view as problems. It is guided by objective as well as subjective criteria and vary across different element of society.
Objective criteria link with existence of social condition. for example, if there is recession in economy, trade war among countries, and so on. It is experience through own life, media, friends and other, education, etc.
Subjective criteria link with belief, perception and personal value of particular social condition that is harmful to the society. if a person think that rise of social media is harmful for norms and values for society than it is social problem for that people.
Consider the following situation:
- there is increasing number of out migration in our society.
- there is still discriminatory practice in society.
- poor people consume cheapest goods due to low level of income.
- this year the profit is increase by 100%.
- there is increase in pollution in society.
There are some of the condition where some of problem is identified. in research all the problem is not researchable due to various reason. if the problem is defined which contain criteria of SMART then the problem is consider as research problem. the problem which researcher try to get solution of either to increase the knowledge or to settle that issue. Selection of problem is not the first step in research but identification of the problem is the first step in research. Selection of problem is governed by reflective thinking. It is wrong to think that identification of a problem means to select a topic of a research or statement of the problem.
According to Powers, Meenaghan & Twoomey (1985), potential research questions may occur to us on a regular basis but the process of formulating them in a meaningful way is not at all an easy task. As a beginner, it might be easy to formulate a problem but it requires considerable knowledge of both the subject of interest and research methodology. Once you examine a question more closely, you will realize the complexity of formulating a research problem into something that is researchable. It is essential for the problem you formulate to be able to withstand scrutiny in terms of the procedures required. Hence, a student should spend considerable time in thinking to formulate a researchable research problem.
Kerlinger has identified following three criteria of good problem statements;
- A problem should be concerned with relation between two or more variables.
- It should be stated ‘clear and unambiguously in question form’.
- It should be amenable to empirical testing.
All the problem is not researchable thus all world problem is not the subject matter of the researcher. The problem may by social or non-social, but the social research study only social problem which is researchable. In social work research only, those social problem which is face by social worker during practice and which is researchable are study. Thus, if set theory is recall problem is universal set, research problem is subset of universal set. Again, the social research problem is subset of research problem and social work research problem is subset of social research problems.
In Social work research is based on nature of problem face by social worker the research problem is also base on social issues. While defining the problems the social worker must consider following issues to find out that whether the problem is researchable problem or not:
- Can you study the problem?
- Does researcher have access to data?
- Does researcher have enough time, cost and ability?
- Should researcher study the problem?
- Is research problem have gap with existing literature?
- Is problem already study in past approaching same methods?
- Is problem realistic and can be studies?
In research the problem is formulate in deductive process to change general problem to specific problem. At first the topic is identified where research try to conduct the research. After topic is selected then research problem is developed and purpose statement is developed. On the basis of purpose statement, the research question is developed. For example, tradition occupation of Kumal community is the topic for the study choose by social worker. It is the topic which is broad enough for the research and in research it must be narrow down to make it researchable problem. The social worker must define research problem so in field it is found that in recent the demand of clay pot are decreasing and is replaced by modern steel and copper made material used in household during field visit and also observe that there is low income who are engaged in tradition occupation then who are engaged in other occupation. Thus, the research problem is then set as “lack of attraction on tradition occupation in Kumal community”. The social worker must further specify the problem by stating purpose of statement or general objective of research. In this case there social worker state that To study the reason why Kumal community are not attracted in traditional occupation in Dhadhing District”. Then the research question may be “Is foreign employment decrease the People of kumal Community to follow their traditional occupation?” there may be another research question for same research but the research is conduct normally to answer two or three research at time.
Bryman A. (2012). Social Research Methods. China: Oxford University Press.
Flick U. (2009). An Introduction to Qualitative Research, 4th edition, Great Britian: Sage publication
Merriam S. B. (2009). Qualitative Research. USA:JOSSY-BASS, A Wiley Imprint.
Mooney L. A., Knox D. & Schacht C. (2009), Understanding Social Problems, USA: Wadswork Cengage Learning
Kumar R. (2011), Research Methodology; A step by Step Guide for beginner. New Delhi: SAGE Publications India.