Some characteristics of a research problem statement include conciseness, specificity and measurability. However, research problem statements do not offer solutions and do not indicate symptoms of a problem.
Research problem statements provide the focus of entire studies and other analyses in academia and other intellectual pursuits and investigations. As the focal point of a study, this statement determines whether the study calls for an experimental or non-experimental investigation as well as the overall purpose of the study. This means wording must be succinct and targeted. It must also answer the question of the necessity of the research as well. It also means a direct identification of the problem and its possible consequences if not addressed.
Even though research problem statements have similar characteristics, they sometimes vary according to the type of question that needs asking. For instance, four types of research problems in the social sciences include casuist, descriptive, difference and relational. Casuist research problems focus on determining questions of conduct or conscience by analyzing moral dilemmas by applying general rules and exceptions in special cases. Descriptive research problems focus on "what is" questions. Difference research problems compare and contrast two or more phenomena. Relational research problems investigate the relationship between two or more variables.