Sound research begins with a carefully thought out research question and problem statement. The problem statement comes at the beginning of a proposal to explain the problem or issue to the reader before getting into the nuts and bolts of the proposal. Develop a two-to-four page problem statement identifying your selected current issue in public safety. You should be concise, but certain that you cover enough information to properly prepare your reader for what will follow. The problem statement should be written in a formal voice.

Your problem statement should outline the basic facts of the problem, explain why the problem matters and make the case for why your research is necessary. Many times, the problem statement of a research proposal will begin by describing the ideal scenario. Then, the writer will describe the current situation or reality – specifically conditions that prevent the ideal. Next, the consequences of continuing in the current situation are presented. Lastly, the writer describes the areas of inquiry that may lead to a possible solution to the problem.

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