Understanding your research objectives and aim is crucial to determining the success of your project. However, there are many students who struggle with this aspect, which results in poor performance. We strongly recommend you read this article in its entirety if you suspect that you belong to this group of students.
The purpose of this article is to explain what research aim and objectives are, how they differ from one another, and how to correctly write them.
For your research project to be successful, it is imperative that you have clearly defined aims and objectives. Below is a detailed section of what these two are and how they help in shaping a research paper and dissertation.
You can define your research aim as the overarching purpose of your study. Therefore, it provides your readers with clarity about what your study is about while acting as a focal point for your research. This is why research aims are almost always positioned under their own subsection in the introduction section of any research document, regardless of whether it is a thesis, dissertation, or research paper.
The length of a research goal can vary. It might be just a short sentence or a brief paragraph. It's all about explaining the main point of your research. No matter how it's written, all research goals should explain why you're doing the research (the reason), what you want to achieve (the actual goal), and give a quick idea of how you'll do it (a summary of your plans).
An example of a real PhD thesis research aim is as follows:
Example of a Research Aim
Despite its importance, diametrical cup deformation has not been widely investigated as a contributing factor to implant failure. We sought to understand the acetabular cup and shell diametrical deformation after impaction into the reamed acetabulum in this thesis. We investigated a range of factors to determine if cups and shells may deform significantly enough to contribute to early failure and high wear rates in metal-on-metal implants.
An objective in a dissertation describes how you intend to accomplish the research goal. There are several smaller key sections within the overall aim that are broken down into specific statements. By setting appropriate objectives, you can stay focused and conduct research according to your goals.
There should be at least three to six realistic objectives, and each should be achievable. Using the previously-mentioned dissertation aim as an example, here are the objectives.
Example of a Research Objective
In your childhood, you might have dreamed about becoming an astronaut, a doctor, or a teacher. A person's life goals are what he or she wishes to accomplish in the course of their lives. It is often mistaken for the word objective to refer to what an individual or entity hopes to accomplish. In both instances, the desired result is the result of an individual's efforts, but their concepts are different. Aims are general statements about what should be achieved.
Objectives, on the other hand, are steps taken to accomplish the long-term goals of the company. The correct implication of these terms is only possible when they are used in the correct context. To find out what the difference between aim and objective is, take a look at the section below.
Regarding the difference between aim and objective, the following points are crucial:
A research grant application can be made more persuasive by focusing on the goals and objectives.
In a well-written proposal, the overarching purpose is identified based on a broad research question. There is a description of a research project that will answer three or four smaller questions arising from this big question. As a result of the intricate design of the project, it makes sense that the reader should fund it. It is possible that the intricacy of a project lies more in the writing than in its design. A pre-designed project can be linked to an existing big question by crafting matching aims and objectives.
The aims and objectives can be written in any way or according to any standard. It is possible for researchers to have different writing styles, as well as supervisors who can influence their writing styles. However, when writing aims and objectives for a dissertation, you should follow some basic principles, which are explained below.
There are a number of essential elements that should be included in the aim statement.
The research purpose should be clearly defined in the aim without confusing the reader. Consider refining your research if you have difficulty explaining the importance of your research in simpler terms.
What you want to achieve with your research is described in the objectives. Here are the steps you can follow:
In order to make the objectives more clear, they should be written as a numbered list instead of as a paragraph.
Essentially, it depends on the topic of your research and the requirements of your supervisor. The research aim of a dissertation is generally stated in one broad statement. In addition to the main objective, two or three subsidiary objectives can be included.
To measure progress towards the achievement of the research goal, the number of objectives should also be realistic and sufficient. In general, their number ranges from three to six, depending on their purpose.
It is very difficult to accomplish a research goal that is too broad. In most cases, this occurs when students develop their research aim before they understand what they want to study. If your research goals are too broad, it will be almost impossible to prove you have achieved them at the end of your project and during your viva. Focusing on a specific area should be your first priority when you begin a research project. Studying existing literature, questioning their current approaches, findings and limitations, and considering whether there are any recurring gaps that can be addressed is a good way to accomplish this.
Take into account the amount of time you have available and what you are able to accomplish. A PhD research objective requiring sophisticated data collection and analysis is a natural goal, but completing this work with just six months left in your registration period does not make sense.
There should be a distinct purpose and measurable outcome for each research objective. Therefore, it is a common mistake to form research objectives that overlap heavily. The lack of information on when an objective is truly complete also makes estimating the duration of objectives difficult when constructing a project timeline. Additionally, it makes it more challenging to structure your thesis into unique chapters, which makes it more difficult for you to write and for your audience to understand.
It is fortunately easy to avoid this oversight by using SMART objectives.
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It is common for researchers to omit to state their research goal clearly. Most thesis has become directionless as a result of this omission. A guide is usually read before a proposal is read by most readers.
Try to define your focus on the proposal. Provide a list of variables that will be estimated. Describe how you will take action. There should be limits to your studies, and you should state them.
If you are starting your research aim, do not include unnecessary points. What are the aim and objective of my research? Use action-verb words to describe your research objective. Use words that aren't slack or dull. If possible, use verbs in your statements.
A very short research objective and the aim should be included in your research proposal. In this way, your readers will be reminded of your dreams and goals. Using complex sentences is not a good idea. There should not be more than 500 to 1000 words in your proposal's aim and objectives.
There should be one predominant research aim and at least one subsidiary research aim, according to most supervisors.
A thesis should have a reasonable number of objectives, although there is no hard and fast rule.
It is important to use a broad term to describe research aims. It is also crucial that objectives are concise, as they describe what needs to be done to achieve those objectives.
Let your aims and objectives flow together when stating them. In the absence of a relationship between your goals, you undermine the credibility of your work. In your statement, you stated your goals and objectives.