For this activity, you will think critically about problem statements and learn to recognize ones that are clear and well structured. As you develop skills in critiquing problem statements, you build your ability to create a problem statement to guide your Applied Doctoral Project. Writing a solid problem statement will be critical to your success as you navigate the steps to completing your ADP. The problem statement establishes the focus and sets the tone of your ADP. You will be exploring examples to help you in the creation of your own. The assigned reading should be applied to your existing knowledge and understanding of writing in the context of doctoral-level work.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

  • Critique problem statements supported by relevant academic research.

Background Information

This activity is NOT where you write your problem statement. You are, however, getting a preview of the resources provided to you in your ADP experience to develop your problem statement when the time comes. At this stage in your learning, this activity has been designed to help you understand the criteria of a well-developed problem statement.

Have you ever used a GPS to get somewhere and realized you dont know how you got there? You relied on the instructions, but never really thought about what you were doing to get there. Well, you can do the same with your problem statement. You can follow the steps and end up with a problem statement and easily bypass the critical thinking that yields the most important driver for your ADP.

So, use this activity and the 8.2 activity to develop your skills in developing criteria that will help you think critically. There are many right answers and you should expect to learn from the ideas of your classmates.


  1. Review the rubric to make sure that you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. Read in Writing Commons.
  3. Download and read the article by Ellis and Levy (2008). 
  4. Access one dissertation from the OCLS ProQuest database related to a research topic or industry of interest to you that includes a problem statement.
    1. Identify the problem statement in the dissertation.
  5. Access one scholarly (peer-reviewed) article from any OCLS database related to your DBA specialization.
    1. Identify the problem being addressed in the article. (Note that the scholarly article may or may not use the heading: Problem Statement so you may need to read closely.) 
  6. Answer the following prompts in the discussion post formatted in three paragraphs:
    1. Compare and contrast the dissertation problem statement and the scholarly article problem statement.
    2. Based on your reading of the Ellis and Levy (2008) article and using Figure 4: Problem Statement Template in particular:
      1. Assessment of the dissertation problem statement, identifying what could be changed and why. Be specific.
      2. Assessment of the scholarly (peer-reviewed) article problem statement, identifying what could be changed and why. Be specific.
  7. Also include in the initial post, the location of the problem statements in both the dissertation and the scholarly article (i.e., the page number and paragraph number).
  8. Be sure to cite and reference all the resources used to complete the initial discussion post.
  9. Submit your initial post in the discussion forum by Day 5.
  10. Read and respond to at least one of your classmates postings, as well as any follow-up instructor questions directed at you, by the end of the workshop.
  11. Your postings are interactions with your classmates and instructor that should facilitate engaging dialogue and provide evidence of critical thinking. Focus on the following in this discussion:
    1. Extension: Expand the discussion.
    2. Exploratory: Probe facts and basic knowledge.
    3. Challenge: Interrogate assumptions, conclusions or interpretations.
    4. Relational: Make comparisons or contrasts of themes, ideas, or issues.
    5. Diagnostic: Probe motives or causes.
    6. Action: Identify application or an action in personal or work life.
    7. Hypothetical: Pose a change in the facts or issues.
    8. Priority: Seek to identify the most important issues.

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