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The Time Dimension and the Problem Statement


Unit 3 DQ



The Time Dimension and the Problem Statement


Part I: Consider what you learned this week from Maxfield and Babbie’s (2018) discussion of “The Time Dimension” in research, as well as their “Putting It All Together” example found on pp. 106–107.

· With this information in mind, distinguish cross-sectional from longitudinal studies, providing an original example of each (i.e., not one from the readings or one already posted to the Discussion Board by another student).

· Explain how retrospective and prospective approaches to research can yield very different results.

Part II: Reflect on what you learned from unit readings about writing an effective problem statement for a research proposal. Using the applied research topic you selected (Identifying the successes and challenges of the Human Trafficking Task Force in Phoenix, AZ). and had approved by your professor, develop a draft problem statement and post it here to the Discussion Board to receive feedback from others. In turn, provide feedback to at least two classmates on their problem statements. Be specific. Tell them both what is clear and well defined and what is vague and needs further specificity to meet the SMART criteria and effectively address the 5 Ws of the proposed study (Who, What, When, Where, and Why). Act as a “critical friend” and ask clarifying questions.


The readings in this unit explain the process of identifying a problem suitable for applied research. Readings in the Maxfield and Babbie (2018) text explain the time dimension in research and how it impacts the design of a study. The Denscombe (2019) readings explore the necessary components of a successful research proposal, including proposing research that is worthwhile, feasible, and distinctive. The remaining unit readings explain how to develop an effective problem statement and one that meets the SMART criteria, as well as one that maintains consistency between the title, purpose, and goals of the research. Supplemental materials provide additional resources for writing the problem statement and narrowing the focus of your study.

Read the following from the Maxfield and Babbie (2018) textbook:

· Chapter 4: “General Issues in Research Design,” pp. 99–118

Read the following from the Denscombe (2019) book:

· Chapter 2: “Successful Research Proposals”

Read the following:

· Developing a Problem Statement That Meets the SMART Criteria

· “Building Consistency Between Title, Problem Statement, Purpose, & Research Questions to Improve the Quality of Research Plans and Reports”

Supplemental Materials

Read the following sections from the Research Methods Knowledge Base:

· Problem Formulation

· Write-Up

Read the following from the Ayiro (2012) digital book in the Library:

· Chapter 2:  “Identifying a Research Problem”


Respond to Kindly to Student #1

Megan Tschirhart-Bell




Part 1:


Cross-sectional studies focus on obtaining data at a single point in time that allows the researchers to analyze a particular question of interest (Maxfield & Babbie, 2018). Surveys are a prime example of cross-sectional research in that they allow researchers to obtain a large amount of data from individuals at a relatively small window in time. A more specific example would be conducting a survey that compared the occurrence of breast cancer in certain ethnic groups. Longitudinal studies are studies that are conducted over time that can extend for weeks, months, or years (Maxfield & Babbie, 2018). An example of a longitudinal study would be evaluating breast cancer patients over time throughout their treatments to determine the effectiveness of the treatment plan. Retrospective studies are studies that analyze data from events that have already occurred whereas prospective studies analyze the data as current and closer to real-time (Maxfield & Babbie, 2018). These approaches can yield different results by either illustrating trends that were built from past experiences, such as genealogy traits that indicate a likelihood of developing cancer, or illustrating how effective something is, such as the cancer treatment.


Part 2:

The advancement and increased use of social media has resulted in it becoming an integral component of emergency management communication; however, it has also become a source for promoting disinformation that can affect the proficiencies of emergency management (Vafeiadis et al., 2020). This study will examine the relationship between the fake news that was broadcasted over social media during Hurricane Florence that impacted South Carolina in September 2018 and the possible effects it had on emergency management resources that served to support coastal communities six months after landfall. This study intends to identify the impact disinformation has on emergency response and preparedness efforts in coastal communities, enabling emergency managers to counter the fake news without causing further damage to reputations.


Maxfield, M. G., & Babbie, E. R. (2018). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology. Cengage Learning.


Vafeiadis, M., Bortree, D. S., Buckley, C., Diddi, P., & Xiao, A. (2020). Refuting fake news on social media: nonprofits, crisis response strategies, and issue involvement. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 29(2), 209–22


Respond to Kindly to Student #2

Haya Nofal


Part 1

A longitudinal study is one involving looking at variables over a long period. Such study can take weeks, months, or in some cases, years. On the other hand, a cross-sectional study looks at data from a population at a specific period.

There are some distinguishing characteristics of the two types of research studies. The cross-sectional one involves data collection at one point, while the longitudinal research involves looking at the data at several points in time (Closer, n.d). There are different samples in a cross-sectional study, while longitudinal involves using the same sample. An example of a cross-sectional study is a labor force survey. An example of a longitudinal study is the American death cohort study and studies to understand society over a long period.

A prospective and retrospective approach can affect the results of a study. A prospective method involves following individuals and collecting data over time as circumstances change. In a retrospective approach, individuals are sampled from a population, and information about their past is collected. A prospective approach helps to get raw accurate data, while a retrospective approach involves backdating data, affecting data accuracy. A prospective approach is considered more effective than the retrospective approach due to reduced points of bias (Bell, 2021). Depending on the technique used, different results can be realized.

Part 2: formulating an effective problem statement in research.

The manufacturing of Tesla cars is as efficient as possible. Currently, the company produces most of its parts, including batteries, and is transported from one assembly line to another by robots. The incremental loss in efficiency means that the company is failing to meet its production goal this year. To reduce manual transport of parts, the company intends to build a more extensive facility where different parts will be moved using conveyor belts and robots. By doing so, the workers will work in one facility without traveling to other locations.


Bell, A. (2021). Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Research Methods in the Social Sciences: an AZ of Key Concepts19(2), 72.

Closer (n.d) differences between longitudinal and cross-sectional studies. Retrieved from https://learning.closer.ac.uk/learning-modules/introduction/types-of-longitudinal-research/longitudinal-versus-cross-sectional-studies/


Respond to Kindly to Student #3

Jeffery Bailey


Hello classmates/Prof

Both the cross-sectional and the longitudinal studies are observational studies. This means that researchers record information about their subjects without manipulating the study environment. The defining feature of a cross-sectional study is that it can compare different population groups at a single point in time (Dorcas, 2015). The benefit of a cross-sectional study design is that it allows researchers to compare many different variables at the same time. However, cross-sectional studies may not provide definite information about cause-and-effect relationships. A longitudinal study, like a cross-sectional one, is observational.

The benefit of a longitudinal study is that researchers are able to detect developments or changes in the characteristics of the target population at both the group and the individual level. The key is that longitudinal studies extend beyond a single moment in time (Maxfield, MG & Babbie, E.R, 2018). As a result, they can establish sequences of events sometimes, the progression of the research helps determine which design is most appropriate. Cross-sectional studies can be done more quickly than longitudinal studies. But this not to say that cross sectional data cannot be collected over a period of time (Maxfield, MG & Babbie, E.R, 2018). Longitudinal studies would be if a researcher wanted to investigate how valid and how functional our correctional rehabilitation program for newly released felons. This research may be conducted over a period of years. This would fall under longitudinal studies a researcher would have to create a survey and exploratory basis for which to gain the data and over a period of time compile and quantify their findings. Also another way of conducting this study would be Cohort studies, this type of study examines more specific populations (cohorts) as they change over time, so the researcher would research newly released felons as a population of which they gather information (Maxfield, MG & Babbie, E.R, 2018)


Part 2: formulating an effective problem statement in research

The first and most important step in any research is to identify and delineate the research problem: that is, what the researcher wants to solve and what questions he/she wishes to answer. A research problem may be defined as an area of concern, a gap in the existing knowledge, or a deviation in the norm or standard that points to the need for further understanding and investigation (Bwisa, 2018).In creating a problem statement for my chosen statement of “Hillsboro Sheriff releases inmates due to COVID-19”. In this problem statement I would inquire about how you are going to decide who gets released and who does not what will they do for a livelihood once they are released, where will these newly released felons live. Will the community’s rebel against these felons infiltrating in their neighborhoods? How will the data be researched to justify the early release of the infected felons? These are all questions that may arise in a problem statement



Dorcas, B. (2015). Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal studies. Institute for Work & Health, pg1.

Maxfield, MG & Babbie, E.R. (2018). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology. Boston MA.: Cengage Learning.

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