The APA Format for a Problem & Purpose Statement for a Dissertation

The APA Format for a Problem & Purpose Statement for a Dissertation

Learn how to use the APA format to write your problem and purpose statement for your dissertation to ensure you don’t lose any marks for formatting. APA format is recommended by the American Psychological Association and it is a common format for research papers and other academic works because it ensures clarity of language and consistency for references and technical terms. The problem and purpose statements are key elements of a dissertation, and inform the reader of the issue that inspired the dissertation and what exactly it intends to do.

1 Problem Statement

The problem statement should be placed in the introduction section of the dissertation. This should be between two and three pages in an APA format dissertation. The problem statement aims to outline the overall issue that inspired the work that is to follow. Ideally, your statement of the problem will be backed up by evidence.

2 Purpose Statement

The purpose statement details the aim of the dissertation as a whole, and can be thought of as a response to the problem as stated in the problem statement. In APA format, the purpose statement should be included as part of the abstract that appears at the very beginning and gives an overview of the paper.

3 Problem Statement Formatting

The problem statement is part of the main body of the essay, underneath the “Introduction” subheading. Don’t center the subheading. Italicize the word “Introduction.” Indent each paragraph underneath this section and follow all usual APA style guidelines. For example, reference any relevant works using the author-date system. You could write that “Smith (1998) states … ” or “It has been argued (Smith, 1998)” if you are citing a source in text. In-text citations must be backed up by a related entry in “References.” Capitalize all words that are four letters or longer within an italicized title of a source, such as Being and Nothingness.

4 Purpose Statement Formatting

The purpose statement is part of the paper’s abstract, which has specific formatting guidelines in APA style. The title “Abstract” must be centered, but not written in italics, underlined or with any additional formatting. The main body of the abstract must be between 150 and 250 words. The abstract should be double-spaced, and the paragraph should not be indented. List any keywords at the bottom of the abstract, with the word “Keywords” in italics, followed by a colon and any keywords. Center the keywords section.

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005, covering science, music and a wide range of topics. He studies physics at the Open University, with a particular interest in quantum physics and cosmology. He's based in the UK and drinks too much tea.