Problem Statement, Purpose, and Background

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A proposed study with a clearly defined purpose is more likely to benefit from a more focused research problem, and a firmer research plan and design. The purpose statement defines whether the study will be of value:  What information is needed? How likely is this information to influence decisions? How important and timely is the study?  What is at stake (O’Sullivan, Rassel, & Berner, 2008)? Filling in the blanks in a simple sentence in the template below will help you to focus your purpose statement.

Use this template to complete the Purpose section of your Premise:

The purpose of this (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-design) study is to (understand, describe, develop, discover) the (central focus for the study) for (the unit of analysis, person, processes, groups, site).

Use the Prospectus Guidebook as your guide, and the Historical Alignment Tool (HAT) matrix as a guide for your planned research focus. The purpose of the HAT is to support the creation of your dissertation Prospectus by documenting both the developmental evolution of and the alignment among the problem statement purpose, potential significance, research question, theoretical framework, research design and methodology (“method of inquiry”), data collection and analysis method, and implications for positive social change. Every decision that you make regarding one of the components of your Prospectus should be thoughtful and deliberate in order to ensure that it aligns with the components that both precede and follow it. To do this well often takes a number of iterations as you research, gather, digest, and analyze new information about your research topic.

Use of the HAT will provide iterative documentation of your rationale for making key research design and methodology decisions. The HAT should be updated after each Ph.D. residency and at the end of every quarter, to (a) validate your choices, or (b) explain how new knowledge or thoughts have informed changes in your dissertation research design and methodology.

To prepare for this Discussion, review the Dissertation resources in this week’s Learning Resources.

By Day 3, post your research problem statement, and then attach both the purpose statement and background sections of your Prospectus as a Microsoft Word document in the Discussion thread.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

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