Most environmental health issues involve a variety of elements with overlapping or distinct causes, stakeholder groups, and solutions. Selecting an important, specific element of the issue is essential when formulating realistic ways to address and improve the environmental issue. This specific aspect of the issue is known as the problem and can be defined in a concise problem statement. The problem statement includes the purpose of the problem-solving effort, defines its scope, and states the specific objective of the problem-solving effort in the form of a question.
The three elements of the statement are—explaining how things should be; identifying a significant gap; and asking a question about one major way to improve the current situation. For example:
The process of developing a problem statement is extremely useful because you will choose a defined focus, which will guide the rest of the work leading to a proposed solution to the problem.