An extensive study of the existing literature on the subject by the researcher will be helpful in knowing the problem. He should also discuss the matter with experienced people in the field, with deep thinking about the problem.
(2) Study of Relevant Literature on the Subject:
As we have already discussed that to be able to pose a problem, the researcher must be well-equipped to experience some difficulty or challenge. This requires that the researcher should be well-conversant with the relevant theories in the field, reports and records, etc. This would help the researcher to know whether there are certain gaps in the theories or whether the prevailing theories applicable to the problem are inconsistent with each other.
All these will afford for formulation of the problem. This is an aspect of exploration.
(3) Field Observation:
Sometimes, field observation may be of immense help to a researcher. He may make a preliminary study or an exploration. He must be well acquainted with the relevant theories and empirical generalization in the area of research. The researcher should be familiar with the result of the findings in the similar area.
He can find out the gaps in the theory or inadequacy or loophole etc. All these things will give him an insight for the formulation of a research problem.
(4) Discussion with Learned Minds:
This is known as an experience survey, which is again an exercise in exploration.
The researcher may undertake an experience survey and discuss the matter with the learned people. Administrators, social workers, community leaders, etc. are persons who have a rich practical experience in different fields of social life. He may seek a comment on his proposed topic and thus these learned people are in a position enlighten the researcher in formulating the problem. Their advice, comments, information and judgements are usually invaluable to the researcher. The researcher should have his mind open, flexible, critical and curious.
(5) Research Topic Manageable:
While formulating the research problem the researcher should see that the topic itself must be of manageable magnitude. This is an initial step in the formulation of a research problem. Defining a research problem properly and clearly is a crucial part of a research study and special attention and care needed. The technique for the purpose involves the undertaking of the following steps: (i) Statement of the problem in a general way, (ii) Undertaking the nature of the problem; (Hi) Surveying the available literature; (iv) Developing the ideas through discussion; (v) Rephrasing the research problem. Besides, a researcher should also define technical terms and words clearly, stating the assumptions of the problem, criteria for the selection of the problem, suitability of the time- period and the sources of data available, the scope of investigation while formulating a research problem. Thus now we know that research begins with a problem.
The purpose of enquiry or investigation is to find a solution of the problem.