Q: What is the most effective way to develop the study background: create a thesis statement or problem statement?

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While writing the background of the study, I find it easier to write a comprehensive and more focused background using the thesis statement rather than the problem statement, but which is the most appropriate one?

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Answer:

Generally, the background of the study is written by first discussing the problem, because that is what the research is seeking to address. The background of the study begins with an overview of the work that has been done in the problem area so far, the results arrived at so far, the causes of the problem, and possible solutions – which brings them to the thesis, which is one of the possible solutions. Beginning the background with the problem (statement) allows authors to set the context for the study. In doing this, they also use a funnel approach – going from broad to narrow – to discuss the study.

 

What you prefer doing is the opposite of the funnel approach, or rather, a reverse funnel approach: from narrow to broad. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as you are able to provide and set the context well, and make the background, introduction, and the rest of the paper engaging for your audience, you have done your job. Also, note that while papers typically have sections for background, methodology, results, and discussions, there are no sections really for “problem statement” and “thesis statement”. These are terms to help you organize and present your study. If switching the order of this presentation works for you, that’s great.

 

However, to assess the cons of this, I anticipate that this might take you longer to provide the context and could therefore make the paper longer. Note that many journals have a strict word limit. Also, to answer your specific question, beginning with the background seems intuitively the more effective way to approach the background description. However, do also look up a few papers to find out what works better for the paper.

 

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