The problem/purpose statement and questions, also known as PPS&Q is one the techniques I teach to students writing Masters and PhD dissertations and also to academic staff who are writing papers for peer-review publications.  There are many different ways of writing a problem/purpose statement but this way is particularly useful.  I first learned this technique from Sharan Merriam about 15 years ago.  Since then I have run many, many workshops for graduate students and faculty using this technique.  I’ve added to it a little and, I guess, I have my own way of teaching it.  Without a doubt, of all the many ‘techniques’ and ‘how-to’s’ I teach on research writing, this is the one that students and faculty find the most useful.  It’s useful at the beginning of a research project, it’s useful at the end and it’s useful all the way through.  It’s most useful when someone gets stuck.

I’ve had many doubters in my workshops: “it’s a qualitative technique – how can it be useful in the sciences/humanities/etc?”; “I’ve done problem/purpose statements before”; “why are you making me go back to conceptualization when I’m stuck with writing?”  Without exception, they have found value in the PPS&Q.  I don’t know what more I can say to convince you to use this method of developing a PPS&Q…

On this page you will find a video plus the notes and examples (Education; Health Sciences; Engineering) you will need to develop your PPS&Q.

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5 responses »

  1. Thank you!
    I happened to chance upon your website at a time when I’m in much need of this information.
    I’m grateful for the information you have shared.

    By the way, the moves and sub-moves for the Introductory chapter is rather similar to those presented in the book by John Bitchener (2010), and I would recommend that book to those who require further illustrations of moves and sub-moves.

  2. Thanks for the lessons you gave us. I used these techniques in my MSc technique and they gave me amazing results. Thank you once more again

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