Frequently Asked Questions: The Problem Section

What’s the difference between the Problem and the Issue?

The Issue box provides the broader context and sets the stage, while the Problem box is more focused and specific to your work or research question. The Issue box is helpful for providing context and indicating how the Problem you’ve identified fits into the bigger picture.   

What if there’s more than one Problem?

There might well be more than one Problem that you’re seeing—the world is complex and nuanced. And some problems have several key components. Consider whether you need to talk about two problems with this audience. If one of these problems is more urgent or important than the other, use that as your main problem, and spend less time on, or leave out, the second problem. We generally recommend focusing on just one problem per audience, but it all depends on the context. If this is a situation where you feel you can include more information, give it a try. But be judicious and mindful of what will be relevant and useful to the audience you’re targeting.


How can I find the Problem?

For many scientists, the Problem is their research question. A problem might also reveal itself through a troubling trend in the data, or a situation that will have a negative effect on people or the environment.

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