How to elaborate the approach of the problem of your thesis?

The approach of the problem constitutes the first chapter of a thesis. It is the shortest of all, but sometimes students find it difficult to write it. This is due to ignorance of the methodology, because in reality the approach to the problem, once the subject is finalized, is very simple to elaborate. If you are still unclear about your research topic, you can consult these tips to start your study.

Perhaps you have heard before that the approach of the problem is the explanation of your topic or what you want to do in your work, but it does not work that way. It is about establishing the problem of your research. What does that mean? You must specify a situation to analyze, delimit, describe and give a possible solution or answer to why its causes or consequences.

Start by contextualizing the area or discipline of study where the problem is framed. Go from the general to the particular. You will achieve it taking into account three aspects:

The space of that context, where ?: It can be a real space, that is, a specific place (a country, city, town, urbanization, street, company, organization, institute, etc.) It can also be a figurative space (science, discipline, current of thought, field of study, literary movement, etc.)

The time When ?: if it is a recent or long-standing problem.

How? Mode: highlights how the problem is presented and how it has been studied or considered previously.

After contextualizing it is necessary to place your analysis proposal, this includes the modality and the characteristics of the study that you propose in your work and, if possible, the solutions for the resolution of the established problem. Depending on the modality of the degree work you choose, the approach to the problem may contain hypotheses or research questions.

Let’s see, then, how everything works with the example of the following thesis: Planned Home Delivery with Professional Assistance: Recovering Protagonism.

First step, the contextualization:

Biomedicine, in institutionalized contexts, has tried to improve care indicators by putting science and medical technology at the service of childbirth and birth care … However, in recent decades medicalization and unnecessary interventions in the care of the elderly have increased. birth and birth, which has generated negative consequences for the health of pregnant women and their children

Where: Initially the author has established the space, in the area of ​​biomedicine.

When ?: When referring to the last decades, the problem is placed in a certain time, although it does not indicate a precise year, by the date of publication of the thesis the reader can determine if it is a current or old problem.

How ?: The problem is fully established when it refers to the negative consequences of increased use of medicines and surgical interventions in delivery care.

With respect to the considerations or previous studies on problems we have:

In Chile, since 2007, we have public policies aimed at promoting this paradigm shift in childbirth and birth care. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the rates of cesareans and medicalization of childbirth and birth continue to increase … we can say that in Chile a model of technocratic care of birth and birth predominates … so that women are choosing extra-hospital birth.

At this point the researcher has been able to demonstrate that previous reviews or analyzes of the problem have not been able to provide a solution, so that he manages to justify a new proposal to address the situation detected.

To close the approach to the problem exposes the need, modality and purposes of their study

It is necessary to raise qualitative information regarding this type of delivery, since there are currently no investigations regarding this practice … This is why it is relevant to make this practice visible, analyze this issue and lay the foundations to open the way to other modalities and attention territories.

Note that this approach ends with the details of his proposal: a qualitative study on home birth, justified by the lack of information in this regard. In addition, he raises the motivations of his research by stating the expected scope of his work.

The approach of the problem, as you have been able to notice, is an orderly reflection that is giving account of a logical transition of thought. From the methodological point of view, it is the first of the chapters because it opens the panorama for the understanding of the thematic your thesis.

The length of the approach will depend on the length of your investigation. A thesis of a hundred pages or more, maybe you need a development of the problem in about 6 or 10 pages. However, the most important thing is to establish the parameters of the problem to be investigated in a coherent and precise manner.

Finally, you must place your objectives, the general and the specific ones. Your general objective is the proposal and approach of your thesis. The specific objectives are the chronological breakdown of each of the processes that you must carry out in order to achieve your general objective. Remember that these are placed after the review of the situation to be studied, because they are a derivation of that, precisely, seeks to give answers to the problem statement.


Solve in a practical way the approach of your research without lapses or theoretical mazes. It is ideal that you are in the process of completing the thesis, then you would be familiar with basic questions of methodology. But, if it is not like that, there is no problem as we review them in the course.


This course of research methodology is for all those who are developing their thesis or are about to do so.