All research should begin with a problem statement. You want to describe the thing you’re about to study. This should be an observation of some phenomena that exists in the world. It should lead logically to a research question. Describe the event or observations that are the driver of this particular bit of research. You’ll want to identify the purpose of this research. For our purposes, we are doing applied research. That is, we want to solve some problem in the world. What is the problem you want to solve?

Problem Statement: 1 Page
All research should begin with a problem statement. You want to describe the thing you’re about to study. This should be an observation of some phenomena that exists in the world. It should lead logically to a research question. Describe the event or observations that are the driver of this particular bit of research. You’ll want to identify the purpose of this research. For our purposes, we are doing applied research. That is, we want to solve some problem in the world. What is the problem you want to solve?

Background Information: 4 Pages
Once the problem is identified, you will need to gather background information about it. You will do this by conducting a Literature Review. In the field of Public Administration, the types of literature, and the background you are gathering are slightly different from basic social science research. That is: the salient or relevant information you are looking for is going to be different. Your background should address the following key questions.

  • What are the contributing factors or causes of the problem?
  • Who is impacted by the problem and how are they impacted?
  • Who is responsible for addressing the problem? This is usually some level or branch of government.
  • What policies exist presently that have either positive or negative impacts on the problem?
  • How are those policies funded? Where does the money come from? How much is involved?
  • What barriers are there to addressing this problem?