In a text I am writing (paper in the sciences), I find I would like to use the phrase “In order to get a handle on this problem, …”, but it seems a little informal.

The intended meaning is “gain a better understanding of the problem, and, if possible, solve it”. (As it turns out, “the problem” is not completely solved in my paper.)

What would be a phrase appropriate for the rather formal context?

4 Answers 4


I like either:

In order to [better] address the problem


In order to confront the problem [head-on]"

  • Not that I would say there is a single "right" answer here, but I am going with confront. Thanks for all answers.
    – xebtl
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:31

I'm going to look into this problem carefully and try to find the best solution.

  • look into - check into something; see into something Fig. to investigate something. TFD

e.g. "I'll have to look into that matter personally and find a solution."


I think to deal with (something) may fit your contesxt:

  • to take action to do something, especially to solve a problem -The government must now deal with the problem of high unemployment.

(Macmillan Dict.)

  • 2
    I kinda think deal with in this sense isn't quite formal enough. Perhaps simply, in order to understand this problem, in order to fully comprehend this problem, in order to successfully approach this problem
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 15:27

The following may serve. Parentheses denote optional text. Square braces mean 'pick one'

"In order to more fully understand the problem (domain), and thereby [derive/synthesize/posit] a solution, or [at least mitigation/to at least mitigate the symptom(s)], ..."

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