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Writing Effective Research Aims and Objectives

  • By: Margaret-Anne Houston , Marissa McDonagh Edited by: Margaret-Anne Houston
  • Product: Sage Research Methods: Business
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
  • Publication year: 2023
  • Online pub date: March 21, 2023
  • Discipline: Business and Management
  • Methods: Research questions , Writing research , Research design
  • DOI: https:// doi. org/10.4135/9781529668216
  • Keywords: fuel poverty , social media Show all Show less
  • Academic Level: Advanced Undergraduate Online ISBN: 9781529668216 More information Less information

The writing of effective research aims and objectives can cause confusion and concern to new and experienced researchers and learners. This step in your research journey is usually the first written method used to convey your research idea to your tutor. Therefore, aims and objectives should clearly convey your topic, academic foundation, and research design. In order to write effective research aims and objectives, researchers should consider all aspects of their proposed work. For example, the sample(s) to be approached for participation in the primary data collection. Identifying research objectives that are SMART is key to ensuring key aspects of the work are considered prior to any data collection. This includes consideration of access to samples and the ethics of researching the topic and research design. Finally, seeing your work as others will read it, can be an effective evaluation tool to ensure your own research objectives adequately capture and reflect your intended study. Therefore, this guide encourages you to consider common issues with identifying and writing research aims and objectives through consideration of examples.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this guide, readers should be able to:

  • Identify the meaning and purpose of a research aim within business research
  • Understand the link between an effective research aim and the wider topic and literature/secondary sources, where appropriate
  • Understand how to identify and write Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) Research objectives, research questions, and consideration of research hypothesis
  • Recognize the link between writing an effective research aim and the research design. Write own research aim and objectives


The writing of effective research aims and objectives can cause confusion and concern to new (and experienced!) researchers and learners. Attempting to identify the scope and focus of a project within a few specific statements, can take time and consideration of all aspects of your research design. If you are still unsure of your approach to your topic, or even the boundaries of the topic itself, this uncertainty can make the framing of an effective research aim seem like an uphill task.

However, even if this is your first time trying to convey your research idea within a few concise and precise statements, there are steps to take to ensure your work clearly communicates your meaning to your audience. This how-to-guide draws on examples of business topic research aims and objectives and explores techniques for reviewing their meaning. This active learning approach will enable you to grow confidence in framing and communicating your own research.

The importance of ensuring the research aim and objectives are not only reflective of the topic choice but are also achievable can be a fluid process, which in itself, can result in anxious researchers. Seeing your work as others will read it, can be an effective evaluation tool to ensure your own research objectives adequately capture and reflect your intended study. Therefore, this guide encourages you to consider common issues with identifying and writing research aims and objectives through consideration of examples.

Identify the Meaning and Purpose of a Research Aim with Business Research

Writing an effective research aim is an integral part of the research process. A research aim is a statement of intent. It should communicate your research goal clearly and should provide a focus for your work from the offset. It is important to differentiate between a research aim and the objectives. If a research aim tells the reader what you plan to achieve, then the research objectives should state how you would reach that goal. Often the objectives will provide a road map of the steps you will take in order to meet the research aim. Therefore, a research aim in business-related topics is typically a single sentence or even two, which conveys the overall purpose of the research-the end goal!

The terminology you use when writing your research aim is important. Note the following example aims from Business related topics:

  • 1. This research aims to evaluate the lasting effects of lockdown and ‘work from home’ initiatives on productiveness in the financial service industry.
  • 2. This research aims to establish a link between innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and recruitment processes for The Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • 3. This research aims to investigate to what extent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives can influence consumer behavior. A case study of Aldi UK.
  • 4. This research aims to assess the effectiveness of technology companies’ risk management of cyber and information risks measured on the basis of supply chain resilience.
  • 5. This research aims to explore the impact of Government funded initiatives to encourage social entrepreneurship in Scotland.

As evidenced above all of the aims stated contain verbs, these highlight how the research will be undertaken. Words such as to assess, to establish, to explore or to evaluate all reflect research analysis. This conveys your intention clearly to the reader and whilst it may not fully demonstrate exactly how the project will be undertaken, the verbs show what the goal is.

The objectives, which follow the aim, can help to show the exact ways the aim will be achieved, highlighting the research methods. It is important to think carefully about whether you plan to or will be to, come to a clear conclusion. Often it is not possible and this can be due to many factors such as the time or scope of the issue. For example, in the aims stated above number 2 is the only one that states it will ‘establish a link.’ This is because the aim is specific and measurable. The objectives should identify the specific processes it will examine and link to effective recruitment practices that are more effective than prior to AI being used.

However, for the other aims it is more appropriate to explore or investigate the topics, as opposed to ‘establishing’ or to ‘evidence an impact.’

Abbreviations are a useful way of shortening words or phrases and they can give writing a more coherent flow. It is worth noting that all abbreviations like AI or CSR should only be used when they are spelled out initially and if they appear frequently throughout your writing.

It is important to always check with your supervisor or course Handbook but typically, you should have a research question, a research aim, and objectives. The research question should capture what the issue is, often it will help to explain your research aim by offering a critical perspective. For example, if your research is to evaluate the effect of something then your question may be to what extent is that something works?

Finally, it is important to remember that the wording of your research aim may change slightly as your research progresses. Often students will modify the words to reflect what they are undertaking as the process develops.

Section Summary

  • An effective research aim should clearly set out the goal of a project.
  • Carefully consider the terminology you use at this stage, and ensure it reflects the outcome of the study.
  • Remember a research aim can be fluid and the exact wording is likely to change as you progress through your research journey.

Understand the Link Between an Effective Research Aim and the Wider Topic and Literature/secondary Sources, Where Appropriate

When developing the research aim it is important to be engaged with the wider topic and associated literature and secondary sources from the offset. These sources will be crucial in helping you to tackle the topic successfully.

Identifying an idea for a research project can sometimes be a relatively simple first step in the research process. It is often narrowing the idea down to a research aim, which can be more difficult. A good way to start is to brainstorm ideas, think about what interests you the most about your studies, and note down keywords which can then be used as search terms. Researchers, at all levels of research and study, should consider information-seeking as a process through which they engage with the primary literature and secondary sources concerning their topic area. This will develop self-confidence in your ability to define the terms of reference of your work and studies. An inquiring mind and openness to a degree of flexibility of approach in these early stages of research, can be key to ensuring initial topic ideas can be molded into achievable research aims and objectives.

Research could be considered to be cyclical, not a one-off process. Therefore, in order to ensure a definable and achievable research topic, many projects use a mixture of sources. This requires a degree of confidence on the part of the researcher; to identify the relevant resources they require, a strategy for how to find them and also, a process for information management.

Many researchers will start with an online search for both academic and non-academic sources. The short-term success of this first step can be dictated by the choice of keywords and phrases. That is, those terms that the researcher believes are most relevant for, and most likely to come up with links to their research topic. However, caution should be employed in this initial task of online searching - this is an important opportunity to consider how we identify these specific keywords. A limited understanding of the area will be enhanced through further reading. It can allow the researcher to access previous studies in the same topic area and identify effective research methods. An informed research aim should be underpinned by reading and evaluating sources in relation to the research idea.

Using the research aims below as examples, note the sources required and some issues to consider for each source. By strategically linking your research aim to the wider area you will ensure your research is robust from the start.

  • Reading combined with ongoing critical appraisal of associated sources can help to refine and focus your research aim and objectives.
  • Think of your research as an ongoing process. Reading associated sources should be embedded in every stage of your research journey.
  • Ensure you are acknowledging the wider research area and associated sources from the offset as this will help to refine and focus your research aim and objectives.

Understanding How to Identify SMART Research Objectives, Research Questions, and Consideration of Research Hypothesis

First-time final year undergraduates are normally expected to identify a research topic and research design that are realistic and achievable. Not only should they be realistic as topics but also achievable within a short time period when most learners have never undertaken such work previously. A common pitfall of many initial research topics is identifying an area that is too wide in scope. A simple step is to consider how to express and convey the work within a series of research objectives. Careful consideration of the content of these statements can help narrow the topic focus, and ensure the research design is relevant to the work to be undertaken. Therefore, writing your objectives should be viewed as a process and not a one-off exercise. Remember, they convey your work to an audience and set out the initial boundaries of the research to be undertaken.

Therefore, research aims and objectives should provide focus and direction for the research topic. Many business research methods texts will introduce the writing of research aims and objectives as a specific skill required to ensure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). By following the SMART guidelines and analyzing examples of common issues within aims and objectives, learners can build confidence and ensure their aims and objectives are strong. Together with these five criteria, the language used can convey the depth of the inquiry. By way of explanation, consider the following topic submitted for consideration as a final-year project:

The research aim is to evaluate consumer perceptions of the impact of social media advertising on their car purchasing decisions. The fieldwork will examine consumer attitudes toward social media advertising and the benefits of this approach. This will be explored through the following research objectives:

  • 1. Examine relevant literature concerning advertising, and trends in social media within the car industry;
  • 2. Identify the attitudes of key players and stakeholders within the advertising industry toward the use of social media;
  • 3. Discuss the effects of new technology on social media and advertising trends;
  • 4. Evaluate how consumers relate to new technology with a view to making recommendations for improvement in the use of social media within online advertising.

S pecific – the research objectives reflect the terminology also used within the research aim.

M easureable – this does not necessarily mean that the work will involve quantitative data. Consider that the objectives identify the issues and samples and so the target of the work.

A chievable – does the work appear to be a piece of research that could be undertaken and completed within the confines of the undergraduate program? It could be achievable on the basis that the work does not appear to require a long time period to complete and the samples should be accessible. Achievability is also a consideration of university ethical consideration processes. For example, although a researcher is able to identify a sample of participants who are experiencing fuel poverty, consideration must be given to the possible ethical issues that surround requesting their participation. It may be deemed that the research could in some manner cause harm to the participants, such as stress through talking about their lived experiences. This stress could also be felt by the researcher who may not be trained to deal with such emotional situations. In both of these examples, the university ethics process could decide this work is unachievable.

R ealistic – the issue of social media advertising is realistic within the stated industry. The samples identified also appear linked to the topic. Furthermore, the academic foundation of the work is also identified – advertising. The work also appears to be realistic in terms of the resources required to complete it. The ethical use of data gathered from social media could also be relevant to determining if this topic is realistic. As with Achievability above, issues such as how the data was originally gathered and how it will then be used by the researcher, would be scrutinized by the Ethics process. Again, the principle of ‘do no harm’ would be applied to determine if the work is realistic.

T imely – although the work does not offer a specific timeframe, the use of social media for advertising is evident within the car industry. Therefore, this could be said to be timely.

Furthermore, the terminology is important. If you choose words that are descriptive, they will convey work that is also descriptive. So, try to use words such as ‘describe,’ ‘understand,’ or ‘gain an insight into’ only where they adequately reflect that your research is not an in-depth study. Consider using terms to evidence how you will approach each objective including: evaluate; critique; critically discuss and examine. All infer the research will go beyond a surface inquiry.

Now, at this stage, consider if the research wished to study the possible relationships between variables such as the impact on consumers of exposure to social media advertising on car sales decision-making. As with the approach to the similar topic above, this could be explored using qualitative data by gathering the experiences of consumers and/or people within the car industry. However, research that specifically wishes to explore possible links between issues and/or specific variables, could sometimes be better framed using a research hypothesis. This is a statement that identifies possible c ause and effect ’ relationships between variables. Therefore, the focus of the above topic could be reconsidered to identify the impact of social media advertising within the car industry. The new research question and hypothesis could be thus:

The research question: Do consumers perceive the impact of social media advertising on their car purchasing decisions?

Null Hypothesis: There is no difference in car purchasing decisions between those consumers who are exposed to social media advertising of cars compared to those who are not.

Alternative Hypothesis: There is a relationship between whether or not a consumer has been exposed to social media advertising and their car purchasing decision.

In order to address the hypothesis, some form of statistical testing would be required which is not covered in this guide. However, as a researcher, you should always consider what it is specifically that you wish to research when framing your work. This topic consideration could identify specific issues and/or variables which you wish to explore further to test if there are statistical relationships. In this situation, you could consider including hypothesis testing within your research design. As can be viewed above, related topics may be presented in different ways, with the inclusion or exclusion of a research hypothesis. The existence of possible relationships may be explored through research that seeks perceptions of advertising. However, research which seeks statistical evidence would be best represented with hypothesis testing.

  • Research aim and objectives convey to your audience the topic and possible boundaries of your work. Therefore, ensuring they are presented as SMART, allows others to assess your work in the way you intended.
  • Research ethics should be considered when writing research aims and objectives, including the potential impact of participation on individuals. Research should do no harm to the individuals involved, including the sample and researchers themselves.
  • Research does not always necessitate consideration of the research hypothesis. However, in some circumstances, a well-considered hypothesis could offer statistical weight to your findings.

Recognizing the Link Between Writing an Effective Research Aim and the Research Design

The research aim and objectives should be written in a way that conveys the specific area or problem to be researched. This should allow anyone reading your research aim to understand the main focus of the work. For example, your work may aim to examine the lived experiences of individuals living with fuel poverty within a specific geographic area or demographic. In this example, you can clearly identify the topic – lived experiences of fuel poverty – and the focus – individuals within the chosen geographical area/demographic . To a more experienced researcher, it can also offer insight into the research design which may be reasonably expected. So, studies of ‘lived experiences’ can involve the gathering and/or analysis of qualitative data from individuals/communities as the researcher seek to gather the first-hand experiences of participants (individuals).

Clearly written research aim and objectives should allow the reader to consider the following information:

  • 1. Wider academic area(s) within which the topic falls (for example, accountancy; marketing; management);
  • 2. The main areas of the literature identified within the aim and/or objectives;
  • 3. The data which would be expected to be gathered to in order to meet/address the research objectives;
  • 4. The data collection methods which could be deemed relevant to the research aim and,
  • 5. Overall, if the research aim and objectives are SMART (see above).

Consider the wording in the example below:

The research aim of this dissertation is to examine the lived experiences of people living with fuel poverty and their attitudes towards support services within a local council area. This research aim will be addressed through the following research objectives:

  • 1. Critically review previous literature and evaluate the origins and purpose of different definitions of ‘fuel poverty.’
  • 2. Explore the attitudes of individuals currently experiencing fuel poverty towards support agencies and other stakeholders.
  • 3. Analyze the opportunities and barriers to support agencies and related stakeholders within a local council area with specific regard to supporting those experiencing fuel poverty.
  • 4. Compare and contrast the lived experiences of individuals experiencing fuel poverty with those of the support agencies to identify potential service gaps.

Looking closely at the work above, it could be reasonable to make the following assumptions about the research:

The academic area(s) within which the topic falls (for example, accountancy; marketing; management; social sciences; economics). This can be researched and explored by keyword searching the research aim. In this example, there appear to be multiple academic roots to the work:

  • ‘lived experiences of people living with fuel poverty’ – this could be viewed as a social science/economics topic or even an engineering area. Either would depend on the specific view taken to investigate fuel poverty, i.e., real-world examples of lived experiences, specially such as narratives about their daily life. Alternatively, this aim could encapsulate studies within engineering areas that seek to understand the impact of construction and design decisions on the daily life of individuals.
  • ‘…and their attitudes towards support services within a local council area’ – by adding a focus for the study as being specific to support services, this work is now narrowed to more reflect the social sciences area.
  • If the work was indeed to study any issues such as building construction, this would be expected to appear within the research aim to convey the topic clearly and precisely.

Therefore, it could be expected that if the research draws on wider academic areas, this should be evident from the terminology within the research objectives. A consistent use of terminology ensures the academic foundation of the work is identifiable throughout. It could also be reasonably presumed that the relevant issues of each sample (individuals within fuel poverty, the support services, and stakeholders), would be refined to include specific factors to ensure the work is focused on specific issues.

Next, consider the type of data you would expect to gather to in order to meet/address the research objectives. The following options appear to be linked to the wording of the objectives:

  • Secondary Data: The objectives identify the need for literature in the first stages of work in order to address objectives 1, 2, and 3. As the research is based on lived experiences, this could include not only academic work but also charity and government reports. Given that this is a real-world issue, examples could also be identified from reputable news agencies. All of these sources could help identify possible issues that may be identified by research participants during the data gathering. If these issues are not identified by the participants, they could be used to form a critical discussion around opportunities or barriers (objective 3).
  • Primary Data: Given the focus on lived experiences related to support services, the research may be presumed to include a qualitative study. A qualitative study would allow participants to use their own voices and language to explain their lived experiences. Whereas a quantitative study, by its nature, could explore the issues already known to the researcher when the instrument was written, e.g., survey. Qualitative data could perhaps encourage more personal issues to be identified by the individual participants, and also offer some context for their position.

Subsequently, consider which data collection methods you would expect to be used to address the research aim.

  • Quantitative data gathering tools: Could quantitative data gathering explore the lived experiences of this sample? Many areas could be effectively explored however lived experiences tend to be personal to the individual and so qualitative could offer more depth and richness to the data.
  • As both the research aim and objectives identify specific samples, the research could be considered to have a boundary around those to be invited to participate. Therefore, secondary data may identify the definitions of fuel poverty and offer reasons for any differences. It could also allow the identification of the roles and remits of support services and stakeholders. However, it will not offer specific lived experience details that can come from the sample of individuals.

If specific organizational sectors or companies were identified, the use of quantitative data-gathering tools, such as a survey, may allow more specific information to be gathered. Remember, the research aim identifies that the focus is the individuals who experience fuel poverty. Therefore, a survey could address issues such as knowledge and understanding of these service providers. However, it could then miss hearing about the informal networks used by individuals for support, which could come to light during a qualitative study.

Finally, if in doubt, show your research aim and objectives to a colleague and ask them to tell you , what they think your research is about. This simple exercise will enable you to realize what other people understand from your work and so, allow you to tweak where necessary. This should ensure your research is not only accessible to different audiences but ultimately, is a fair reflection of your topic choice.

  • Clearly written research aims and objectives can effectively convey information about your work. This allows a reader to consider the key aspects of your topic and sets expectations about the contents of your report/dissertation/thesis.
  • Always ensure that the language used to write a research aim and objectives, adequately convey the meaning and depth of your research. It should be specific to your topic but also accessible to the intended audience(s).
  • SMART research objectives can convey your understanding of research design. This should be apparent from the layering of issues and identification of relevant samples.

In conclusion, this guide has offered practical steps through example-based exercises to help you format your idea into an effective research aim and objectives. Having progressed through the exercises, you will have considered issues such as the importance of understanding how a research aim can help you refine your idea. It is also the mechanism to convey your research intention to your audience. Through exploring the importance of linking your research aim to the wider research area this will give you the confidence to develop SMART objectives. Following this, your work will reflect key areas of your research design through the use of relevant research methods terminology.

Therefore, by following the steps in this guide you should now be confident to take your idea and form it into robust research aims and objectives.

Multiple-Choice Quiz Questions

1. The purpose of a research aim is to ______.

Incorrect Answer

Feedback: This is not the correct answer. The correct answer is C.

Correct Answer

Feedback: Well done, correct answer

2. It is important to understand the link between the research aim and the wider topic because ______.

Feedback: This is not the correct answer. The correct answer is B.

3. How many research objectives are necessary to ensure a successful final-year project?

4. Research objectives reflect ______

5. Research design can be reflected in the research aim and objectives by ______.

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21 Research Objectives Examples (Copy and Paste)

research aim and research objectives, explained below

Research objectives refer to the definitive statements made by researchers at the beginning of a research project detailing exactly what a research project aims to achieve.

These objectives are explicit goals clearly and concisely projected by the researcher to present a clear intention or course of action for his or her qualitative or quantitative study. 

Research objectives are typically nested under one overarching research aim. The objectives are the steps you’ll need to take in order to achieve the aim (see the examples below, for example, which demonstrate an aim followed by 3 objectives, which is what I recommend to my research students).

Research Objectives vs Research Aims

Research aim and research objectives are fundamental constituents of any study, fitting together like two pieces of the same puzzle.

The ‘research aim’ describes the overarching goal or purpose of the study (Kumar, 2019). This is usually a broad, high-level purpose statement, summing up the central question that the research intends to answer.

Example of an Overarching Research Aim:

“The aim of this study is to explore the impact of climate change on crop productivity.” 

Comparatively, ‘research objectives’ are concrete goals that underpin the research aim, providing stepwise actions to achieve the aim.

Objectives break the primary aim into manageable, focused pieces, and are usually characterized as being more specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Examples of Specific Research Objectives:

1. “To examine the effects of rising temperatures on the yield of rice crops during the upcoming growth season.” 2. “To assess changes in rainfall patterns in major agricultural regions over the first decade of the twenty-first century (2000-2010).” 3. “To analyze the impact of changing weather patterns on crop diseases within the same timeframe.”

The distinction between these two terms, though subtle, is significant for successfully conducting a study. The research aim provides the study with direction, while the research objectives set the path to achieving this aim, thereby ensuring the study’s efficiency and effectiveness.

How to Write Research Objectives

I usually recommend to my students that they use the SMART framework to create their research objectives.

SMART is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It provides a clear method of defining solid research objectives and helps students know where to start in writing their objectives (Locke & Latham, 2013).

Each element of this acronym adds a distinct dimension to the framework, aiding in the creation of comprehensive, well-delineated objectives.

Here is each step:

  • Specific : We need to avoid ambiguity in our objectives. They need to be clear and precise (Doran, 1981). For instance, rather than stating the objective as “to study the effects of social media,” a more focused detail would be “to examine the effects of social media use (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) on the academic performance of college students.”
  • Measurable: The measurable attribute provides a clear criterion to determine if the objective has been met (Locke & Latham, 2013). A quantifiable element, such as a percentage or a number, adds a measurable quality. For example, “to increase response rate to the annual customer survey by 10%,” makes it easier to ascertain achievement.
  • Achievable: The achievable aspect encourages researchers to craft realistic objectives, resembling a self-check mechanism to ensure the objectives align with the scope and resources at disposal (Doran, 1981). For example, “to interview 25 participants selected randomly from a population of 100” is an attainable objective as long as the researcher has access to these participants.
  • Relevance : Relevance, the fourth element, compels the researcher to tailor the objectives in alignment with overarching goals of the study (Locke & Latham, 2013). This is extremely important – each objective must help you meet your overall one-sentence ‘aim’ in your study.
  • Time-Bound: Lastly, the time-bound element fosters a sense of urgency and prioritization, preventing procrastination and enhancing productivity (Doran, 1981). “To analyze the effect of laptop use in lectures on student engagement over the course of two semesters this year” expresses a clear deadline, thus serving as a motivator for timely completion.

You’re not expected to fit every single element of the SMART framework in one objective, but across your objectives, try to touch on each of the five components.

Research Objectives Examples

1. Field: Psychology

Aim: To explore the impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance in college students.

  • Objective 1: To compare cognitive test scores of students with less than six hours of sleep and those with 8 or more hours of sleep.
  • Objective 2: To investigate the relationship between class grades and reported sleep duration.
  • Objective 3: To survey student perceptions and experiences on how sleep deprivation affects their cognitive capabilities.

2. Field: Environmental Science

Aim: To understand the effects of urban green spaces on human well-being in a metropolitan city.

  • Objective 1: To assess the physical and mental health benefits of regular exposure to urban green spaces.
  • Objective 2: To evaluate the social impacts of urban green spaces on community interactions.
  • Objective 3: To examine patterns of use for different types of urban green spaces. 

3. Field: Technology

Aim: To investigate the influence of using social media on productivity in the workplace.

  • Objective 1: To measure the amount of time spent on social media during work hours.
  • Objective 2: To evaluate the perceived impact of social media use on task completion and work efficiency.
  • Objective 3: To explore whether company policies on social media usage correlate with different patterns of productivity.

4. Field: Education

Aim: To examine the effectiveness of online vs traditional face-to-face learning on student engagement and achievement.

  • Objective 1: To compare student grades between the groups exposed to online and traditional face-to-face learning.
  • Objective 2: To assess student engagement levels in both learning environments.
  • Objective 3: To collate student perceptions and preferences regarding both learning methods.

5. Field: Health

Aim: To determine the impact of a Mediterranean diet on cardiac health among adults over 50.

  • Objective 1: To assess changes in cardiovascular health metrics after following a Mediterranean diet for six months.
  • Objective 2: To compare these health metrics with a similar group who follow their regular diet.
  • Objective 3: To document participants’ experiences and adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

6. Field: Environmental Science

Aim: To analyze the impact of urban farming on community sustainability.

  • Objective 1: To document the types and quantity of food produced through urban farming initiatives.
  • Objective 2: To assess the effect of urban farming on local communities’ access to fresh produce.
  • Objective 3: To examine the social dynamics and cooperative relationships in the creating and maintaining of urban farms.

7. Field: Sociology

Aim: To investigate the influence of home offices on work-life balance during remote work.

  • Objective 1: To survey remote workers on their perceptions of work-life balance since setting up home offices.
  • Objective 2: To conduct an observational study of daily work routines and family interactions in a home office setting.
  • Objective 3: To assess the correlation, if any, between physical boundaries of workspaces and mental boundaries for work in the home setting.

8. Field: Economics

Aim: To evaluate the effects of minimum wage increases on small businesses.

  • Objective 1: To analyze cost structures, pricing changes, and profitability of small businesses before and after minimum wage increases.
  • Objective 2: To survey small business owners on the strategies they employ to navigate minimum wage increases.
  • Objective 3: To examine employment trends in small businesses in response to wage increase legislation.

9. Field: Education

Aim: To explore the role of extracurricular activities in promoting soft skills among high school students.

  • Objective 1: To assess the variety of soft skills developed through different types of extracurricular activities.
  • Objective 2: To compare self-reported soft skills between students who participate in extracurricular activities and those who do not.
  • Objective 3: To investigate the teachers’ perspectives on the contribution of extracurricular activities to students’ skill development.

10. Field: Technology

Aim: To assess the impact of virtual reality (VR) technology on the tourism industry.

  • Objective 1: To document the types and popularity of VR experiences available in the tourism market.
  • Objective 2: To survey tourists on their interest levels and satisfaction rates with VR tourism experiences.
  • Objective 3: To determine whether VR tourism experiences correlate with increased interest in real-life travel to the simulated destinations.

11. Field: Biochemistry

Aim: To examine the role of antioxidants in preventing cellular damage.

  • Objective 1: To identify the types and quantities of antioxidants in common fruits and vegetables.
  • Objective 2: To determine the effects of various antioxidants on free radical neutralization in controlled lab tests.
  • Objective 3: To investigate potential beneficial impacts of antioxidant-rich diets on long-term cellular health.

12. Field: Linguistics

Aim: To determine the influence of early exposure to multiple languages on cognitive development in children.

  • Objective 1: To assess cognitive development milestones in monolingual and multilingual children.
  • Objective 2: To document the number and intensity of language exposures for each group in the study.
  • Objective 3: To investigate the specific cognitive advantages, if any, enjoyed by multilingual children.

13. Field: Art History

Aim: To explore the impact of the Renaissance period on modern-day art trends.

  • Objective 1: To identify key characteristics and styles of Renaissance art.
  • Objective 2: To analyze modern art pieces for the influence of the Renaissance style.
  • Objective 3: To survey modern-day artists for their inspirations and the influence of historical art movements on their work.

14. Field: Cybersecurity

Aim: To assess the effectiveness of two-factor authentication (2FA) in preventing unauthorized system access.

  • Objective 1: To measure the frequency of unauthorized access attempts before and after the introduction of 2FA.
  • Objective 2: To survey users about their experiences and challenges with 2FA implementation.
  • Objective 3: To evaluate the efficacy of different types of 2FA (SMS-based, authenticator apps, biometrics, etc.).

15. Field: Cultural Studies

Aim: To analyze the role of music in cultural identity formation among ethnic minorities.

  • Objective 1: To document the types and frequency of traditional music practices within selected ethnic minority communities.
  • Objective 2: To survey community members on the role of music in their personal and communal identity.
  • Objective 3: To explore the resilience and transmission of traditional music practices in contemporary society.

16. Field: Astronomy

Aim: To explore the impact of solar activity on satellite communication.

  • Objective 1: To categorize different types of solar activities and their frequencies of occurrence.
  • Objective 2: To ascertain how variations in solar activity may influence satellite communication.
  • Objective 3: To investigate preventative and damage-control measures currently in place during periods of high solar activity.

17. Field: Literature

Aim: To examine narrative techniques in contemporary graphic novels.

  • Objective 1: To identify a range of narrative techniques employed in this genre.
  • Objective 2: To analyze the ways in which these narrative techniques engage readers and affect story interpretation.
  • Objective 3: To compare narrative techniques in graphic novels to those found in traditional printed novels.

18. Field: Renewable Energy

Aim: To investigate the feasibility of solar energy as a primary renewable resource within urban areas.

  • Objective 1: To quantify the average sunlight hours across urban areas in different climatic zones. 
  • Objective 2: To calculate the potential solar energy that could be harnessed within these areas.
  • Objective 3: To identify barriers or challenges to widespread solar energy implementation in urban settings and potential solutions.

19. Field: Sports Science

Aim: To evaluate the role of pre-game rituals in athlete performance.

  • Objective 1: To identify the variety and frequency of pre-game rituals among professional athletes in several sports.
  • Objective 2: To measure the impact of pre-game rituals on individual athletes’ performance metrics.
  • Objective 3: To examine the psychological mechanisms that might explain the effects (if any) of pre-game ritual on performance.

20. Field: Ecology

Aim: To investigate the effects of urban noise pollution on bird populations.

  • Objective 1: To record and quantify urban noise levels in various bird habitats.
  • Objective 2: To measure bird population densities in relation to noise levels.
  • Objective 3: To determine any changes in bird behavior or vocalization linked to noise levels.

21. Field: Food Science

Aim: To examine the influence of cooking methods on the nutritional value of vegetables.

  • Objective 1: To identify the nutrient content of various vegetables both raw and after different cooking processes.
  • Objective 2: To compare the effect of various cooking methods on the nutrient retention of these vegetables.
  • Objective 3: To propose cooking strategies that optimize nutrient retention.

The Importance of Research Objectives

The importance of research objectives cannot be overstated. In essence, these guideposts articulate what the researcher aims to discover, understand, or examine (Kothari, 2014).

When drafting research objectives, it’s essential to make them simple and comprehensible, specific to the point of being quantifiable where possible, achievable in a practical sense, relevant to the chosen research question, and time-constrained to ensure efficient progress (Kumar, 2019). 

Remember that a good research objective is integral to the success of your project, offering a clear path forward for setting out a research design , and serving as the bedrock of your study plan. Each objective must distinctly address a different dimension of your research question or problem (Kothari, 2014). Always bear in mind that the ultimate purpose of your research objectives is to succinctly encapsulate your aims in the clearest way possible, facilitating a coherent, comprehensive and rational approach to your planned study, and furnishing a scientific roadmap for your journey into the depths of knowledge and research (Kumar, 2019). 

Kothari, C.R (2014). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques . New Delhi: New Age International.

Kumar, R. (2019). Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners .New York: SAGE Publications.

Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management review, 70 (11), 35-36.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2013). New Developments in Goal Setting and Task Performance . New York: Routledge.


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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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Grad Coach

Research Aims, Objectives & Questions

The “Golden Thread” Explained Simply (+ Examples)

By: David Phair (PhD) and Alexandra Shaeffer (PhD) | June 2022

The research aims , objectives and research questions (collectively called the “golden thread”) are arguably the most important thing you need to get right when you’re crafting a research proposal , dissertation or thesis . We receive questions almost every day about this “holy trinity” of research and there’s certainly a lot of confusion out there, so we’ve crafted this post to help you navigate your way through the fog.

Overview: The Golden Thread

  • What is the golden thread
  • What are research aims ( examples )
  • What are research objectives ( examples )
  • What are research questions ( examples )
  • The importance of alignment in the golden thread

What is the “golden thread”?  

The golden thread simply refers to the collective research aims , research objectives , and research questions for any given project (i.e., a dissertation, thesis, or research paper ). These three elements are bundled together because it’s extremely important that they align with each other, and that the entire research project aligns with them.

Importantly, the golden thread needs to weave its way through the entirety of any research project , from start to end. In other words, it needs to be very clearly defined right at the beginning of the project (the topic ideation and proposal stage) and it needs to inform almost every decision throughout the rest of the project. For example, your research design and methodology will be heavily influenced by the golden thread (we’ll explain this in more detail later), as well as your literature review.

The research aims, objectives and research questions (the golden thread) define the focus and scope ( the delimitations ) of your research project. In other words, they help ringfence your dissertation or thesis to a relatively narrow domain, so that you can “go deep” and really dig into a specific problem or opportunity. They also help keep you on track , as they act as a litmus test for relevance. In other words, if you’re ever unsure whether to include something in your document, simply ask yourself the question, “does this contribute toward my research aims, objectives or questions?”. If it doesn’t, chances are you can drop it.

Alright, enough of the fluffy, conceptual stuff. Let’s get down to business and look at what exactly the research aims, objectives and questions are and outline a few examples to bring these concepts to life.

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

Research Aims: What are they?

Simply put, the research aim(s) is a statement that reflects the broad overarching goal (s) of the research project. Research aims are fairly high-level (low resolution) as they outline the general direction of the research and what it’s trying to achieve .

Research Aims: Examples  

True to the name, research aims usually start with the wording “this research aims to…”, “this research seeks to…”, and so on. For example:

“This research aims to explore employee experiences of digital transformation in retail HR.”   “This study sets out to assess the interaction between student support and self-care on well-being in engineering graduate students”  

As you can see, these research aims provide a high-level description of what the study is about and what it seeks to achieve. They’re not hyper-specific or action-oriented, but they’re clear about what the study’s focus is and what is being investigated.

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objectives of the study in research sample

Research Objectives: What are they?

The research objectives take the research aims and make them more practical and actionable . In other words, the research objectives showcase the steps that the researcher will take to achieve the research aims.

The research objectives need to be far more specific (higher resolution) and actionable than the research aims. In fact, it’s always a good idea to craft your research objectives using the “SMART” criteria. In other words, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound”.

Research Objectives: Examples  

Let’s look at two examples of research objectives. We’ll stick with the topic and research aims we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic:

To observe the retail HR employees throughout the digital transformation. To assess employee perceptions of digital transformation in retail HR. To identify the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR.

And for the student wellness topic:

To determine whether student self-care predicts the well-being score of engineering graduate students. To determine whether student support predicts the well-being score of engineering students. To assess the interaction between student self-care and student support when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students.

  As you can see, these research objectives clearly align with the previously mentioned research aims and effectively translate the low-resolution aims into (comparatively) higher-resolution objectives and action points . They give the research project a clear focus and present something that resembles a research-based “to-do” list.

The research objectives detail the specific steps that you, as the researcher, will take to achieve the research aims you laid out.

Research Questions: What are they?

Finally, we arrive at the all-important research questions. The research questions are, as the name suggests, the key questions that your study will seek to answer . Simply put, they are the core purpose of your dissertation, thesis, or research project. You’ll present them at the beginning of your document (either in the introduction chapter or literature review chapter) and you’ll answer them at the end of your document (typically in the discussion and conclusion chapters).  

The research questions will be the driving force throughout the research process. For example, in the literature review chapter, you’ll assess the relevance of any given resource based on whether it helps you move towards answering your research questions. Similarly, your methodology and research design will be heavily influenced by the nature of your research questions. For instance, research questions that are exploratory in nature will usually make use of a qualitative approach, whereas questions that relate to measurement or relationship testing will make use of a quantitative approach.  

Let’s look at some examples of research questions to make this more tangible.

Research Questions: Examples  

Again, we’ll stick with the research aims and research objectives we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic (which would be qualitative in nature):

How do employees perceive digital transformation in retail HR? What are the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR?  

And for the student wellness topic (which would be quantitative in nature):

Does student self-care predict the well-being scores of engineering graduate students? Does student support predict the well-being scores of engineering students? Do student self-care and student support interact when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students?  

You’ll probably notice that there’s quite a formulaic approach to this. In other words, the research questions are basically the research objectives “converted” into question format. While that is true most of the time, it’s not always the case. For example, the first research objective for the digital transformation topic was more or less a step on the path toward the other objectives, and as such, it didn’t warrant its own research question.  

So, don’t rush your research questions and sloppily reword your objectives as questions. Carefully think about what exactly you’re trying to achieve (i.e. your research aim) and the objectives you’ve set out, then craft a set of well-aligned research questions . Also, keep in mind that this can be a somewhat iterative process , where you go back and tweak research objectives and aims to ensure tight alignment throughout the golden thread.

The importance of strong alignment 

Alignment is the keyword here and we have to stress its importance . Simply put, you need to make sure that there is a very tight alignment between all three pieces of the golden thread. If your research aims and research questions don’t align, for example, your project will be pulling in different directions and will lack focus . This is a common problem students face and can cause many headaches (and tears), so be warned.

Take the time to carefully craft your research aims, objectives and research questions before you run off down the research path. Ideally, get your research supervisor/advisor to review and comment on your golden thread before you invest significant time into your project, and certainly before you start collecting data .  

Recap: The golden thread

In this post, we unpacked the golden thread of research, consisting of the research aims , research objectives and research questions . You can jump back to any section using the links below.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below – we always love to hear from you. Also, if you’re interested in 1-on-1 support, take a look at our private coaching service here.

objectives of the study in research sample

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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Isaac Levi

Thank you very much for your great effort put. As an Undergraduate taking Demographic Research & Methodology, I’ve been trying so hard to understand clearly what is a Research Question, Research Aim and the Objectives in a research and the relationship between them etc. But as for now I’m thankful that you’ve solved my problem.

Hatimu Bah

Well appreciated. This has helped me greatly in doing my dissertation.

Dr. Abdallah Kheri

An so delighted with this wonderful information thank you a lot.

so impressive i have benefited a lot looking forward to learn more on research.

Ekwunife, Chukwunonso Onyeka Steve

I am very happy to have carefully gone through this well researched article.

Infact,I used to be phobia about anything research, because of my poor understanding of the concepts.

Now,I get to know that my research question is the same as my research objective(s) rephrased in question format.

I please I would need a follow up on the subject,as I intends to join the team of researchers. Thanks once again.


Thanks so much. This was really helpful.


i found this document so useful towards my study in research methods. thanks so much.

Michael L. Andrion

This is my 2nd read topic in your course and I should commend the simplified explanations of each part. I’m beginning to understand and absorb the use of each part of a dissertation/thesis. I’ll keep on reading your free course and might be able to avail the training course! Kudos!


Thank you! Better put that my lecture and helped to easily understand the basics which I feel often get brushed over when beginning dissertation work.

Enoch Tindiwegi

This is quite helpful. I like how the Golden thread has been explained and the needed alignment.

Sora Dido Boru

This is quite helpful. I really appreciate!


The article made it simple for researcher students to differentiate between three concepts.

Afowosire Wasiu Adekunle

Very innovative and educational in approach to conducting research.

Sàlihu Abubakar Dayyabu

I am very impressed with all these terminology, as I am a fresh student for post graduate, I am highly guided and I promised to continue making consultation when the need arise. Thanks a lot.

Mohammed Shamsudeen

A very helpful piece. thanks, I really appreciate it .

Sonam Jyrwa

Very well explained, and it might be helpful to many people like me.


Wish i had found this (and other) resource(s) at the beginning of my PhD journey… not in my writing up year… 😩 Anyways… just a quick question as i’m having some issues ordering my “golden thread”…. does it matter in what order you mention them? i.e., is it always first aims, then objectives, and finally the questions? or can you first mention the research questions and then the aims and objectives?


Thank you for a very simple explanation that builds upon the concepts in a very logical manner. Just prior to this, I read the research hypothesis article, which was equally very good. This met my primary objective.

My secondary objective was to understand the difference between research questions and research hypothesis, and in which context to use which one. However, I am still not clear on this. Can you kindly please guide?

Derek Jansen

In research, a research question is a clear and specific inquiry that the researcher wants to answer, while a research hypothesis is a tentative statement or prediction about the relationship between variables or the expected outcome of the study. Research questions are broader and guide the overall study, while hypotheses are specific and testable statements used in quantitative research. Research questions identify the problem, while hypotheses provide a focus for testing in the study.

Saen Fanai

Exactly what I need in this research journey, I look forward to more of your coaching videos.

Abubakar Rofiat Opeyemi

This helped a lot. Thanks so much for the effort put into explaining it.

Lamin Tarawally

What data source in writing dissertation/Thesis requires?

What is data source covers when writing dessertation/thesis

Latifat Muhammed

This is quite useful thanks


I’m excited and thankful. I got so much value which will help me progress in my thesis.

Amer Al-Rashid

where are the locations of the reserch statement, research objective and research question in a reserach paper? Can you write an ouline that defines their places in the researh paper?


Very helpful and important tips on Aims, Objectives and Questions.

Refiloe Raselane

Thank you so much for making research aim, research objectives and research question so clear. This will be helpful to me as i continue with my thesis.

Annabelle Roda-Dafielmoto

Thanks much for this content. I learned a lot. And I am inspired to learn more. I am still struggling with my preparation for dissertation outline/proposal. But I consistently follow contents and tutorials and the new FB of GRAD Coach. Hope to really become confident in writing my dissertation and successfully defend it.


As a researcher and lecturer, I find splitting research goals into research aims, objectives, and questions is unnecessarily bureaucratic and confusing for students. For most biomedical research projects, including ‘real research’, 1-3 research questions will suffice (numbers may differ by discipline).


Awesome! Very important resources and presented in an informative way to easily understand the golden thread. Indeed, thank you so much.


Well explained

New Growth Care Group

The blog article on research aims, objectives, and questions by Grad Coach is a clear and insightful guide that aligns with my experiences in academic research. The article effectively breaks down the often complex concepts of research aims and objectives, providing a straightforward and accessible explanation. Drawing from my own research endeavors, I appreciate the practical tips offered, such as the need for specificity and clarity when formulating research questions. The article serves as a valuable resource for students and researchers, offering a concise roadmap for crafting well-defined research goals and objectives. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced researcher, this article provides practical insights that contribute to the foundational aspects of a successful research endeavor.


A great thanks for you. it is really amazing explanation. I grasp a lot and one step up to research knowledge.


I really found these tips helpful. Thank you very much Grad Coach.

Rahma D.

I found this article helpful. Thanks for sharing this.

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How to Write Research Objectives

How to Write Research Objectives

3-minute read

  • 22nd November 2021

Writing a research paper, thesis, or dissertation ? If so, you’ll want to state your research objectives in the introduction of your paper to make it clear to your readers what you’re trying to accomplish. But how do you write effective research objectives? In this post, we’ll look at two key topics to help you do this:

  • How to use your research aims as a basis for developing objectives.
  • How to use SMART criteria to refine your research objectives.

For more advice on how to write strong research objectives, see below.

Research Aims and Objectives

There is an important difference between research aims and research objectives:

  • A research aim defines the main purpose of your research. As such, you can think of your research aim as answering the question “What are you doing?”
  • Research objectives (as most studies will have more than one) are the steps you will take to fulfil your aims. As such, your objectives should answer the question “How are you conducting your research?”

For instance, an example research aim could be:

This study will investigate the link between dehydration and the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in intensive care patients in Australia.

To develop a set of research objectives, you would then break down the various steps involved in meeting said aim. For example:

This study will investigate the link between dehydration and the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in intensive care patients in Australia. To achieve this, the study objectives w ill include:

  • Replicat ing a small Singaporean study into the role of dehydration in UTIs in hospital patients (Sepe, 2018) in a larger Australian cohort.
  • Trialing the use of intravenous fluids for intensive care patients to prevent dehydration.
  • Assessing the relationship between the age of patients and quantities of intravenous fluids needed to counter dehydration.

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Note that the objectives don’t go into any great detail here. The key is to briefly summarize each component of your study. You can save details for how you will conduct the research for the methodology section of your paper.

Make Your Research Objectives SMART

A great way to refine your research objectives is to use SMART criteria . Borrowed from the world of project management, there are many versions of this system. However, we’re going to focus on developing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound objectives.

In other words, a good research objective should be all of the following:

  • S pecific – Is the objective clear and well-defined?
  • M easurable – How will you know when the objective has been achieved? Is there a way to measure the thing you’re seeking to do?
  • A chievable – Do you have the support and resources necessary to undertake this action? Are you being overly ambitious with this objective?
  • R elevant – Is this objective vital for fulfilling your research aim?
  • T imebound – Can this action be realistically undertaken in the time you have?

If you follow this system, your research objectives will be much stronger.

Expert Research Proofreading

Whatever your research aims and objectives, make sure to have your academic writing proofread by the experts!

Our academic editors can help you with research papers and proposals , as well as any other scholarly document you need checking. And this will help to ensure that your academic writing is always clear, concise, and precise.

Submit a free sample document today to trial our services and find out more.

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Writing the Research Objectives: 5 Straightforward Examples

The research objective of a research proposal or scientific article defines the direction or content of a research investigation. Without the research objectives, the proposal or research paper is in disarray. It is like a fisherman riding on a boat without any purpose and with no destination in sight. Therefore, at the beginning of any research venture, the researcher must be clear about what he or she intends to do or achieve in conducting a study.

How do you define the objectives of a study? What are the uses of the research objective? How would a researcher write this essential part of the research? This article aims to provide answers to these questions.

Table of Contents

Definition of a research objective.

A research objective describes, in a few words, the result of the research project after its implementation. It answers the question,

“ What does the researcher want or hope to achieve at the end of the research project.”  

The research objective provides direction to the performance of the study.

What are the Uses of the Research Objective?

The uses of the research objective are enumerated below:

  • serves as the researcher’s guide in identifying the appropriate research design,
  • identifies the variables of the study, and
  • specifies the data collection procedure and the corresponding analysis for the data generated.

The research design serves as the “blueprint” for the research investigation. The University of Southern California describes the different types of research design extensively. It details the data to be gathered, data collection procedure, data measurement, and statistical tests to use in the analysis.

The variables of the study include those factors that the researcher wants to evaluate in the study. These variables narrow down the research to several manageable components to see differences or correlations between them.

Specifying the data collection procedure ensures data accuracy and integrity . Thus, the probability of error is minimized. Generalizations or conclusions based on valid arguments founded on reliable data strengthens research findings on particular issues and problems.

In data mining activities where large data sets are involved, the research objective plays a crucial role. Without a clear objective to guide the machine learning process, the desired outcomes will not be met.

How is the Research Objective Written?

A research objective must be achievable, i.e., it must be framed keeping in mind the available time, infrastructure required for research, and other resources.

Before forming a research objective, you should read about all the developments in your area of research and find gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed. Readings will help you come up with suitable objectives for your research project.

5 Examples of Research Objectives

The following examples of research objectives based on several published studies on various topics demonstrate how the research objectives are written:

  • This study aims to find out if there is a difference in quiz scores between students exposed to direct instruction and flipped classrooms (Webb and Doman, 2016).
  • This study seeks to examine the extent, range, and method of coral reef rehabilitation projects in five shallow reef areas adjacent to popular tourist destinations in the Philippines (Yeemin et al ., 2006).
  • This study aims to investigate species richness of mammal communities in five protected areas over the past 20 years (Evans et al ., 2006).
  • This study aims to clarify the demographic, epidemiological, clinical, and radiological features of 2019-nCoV patients with other causes of pneumonia (Zhao et al ., 2020).
  • This research aims to assess species extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface.

Finally, writing the research objectives requires constant practice, experience, and knowledge about the topic investigated. Clearly written objectives save time, money, and effort.

Once you have a clear idea of your research objectives, you can now develop your conceptual framework which is a crucial element of your research paper as it guides the flow of your research. The conceptual framework will help you develop your methodology and statistical tests.

I wrote a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to develop a conceptual framework with illustration in my post titled “ Conceptual Framework: A Step by Step Guide on How to Make One. “

Evans, K. L., Rodrigues, A. S., Chown, S. L., & Gaston, K. J. (2006). Protected areas and regional avian species richness in South Africa.  Biology letters ,  2 (2), 184-188.

Thomas, C. D., Cameron, A., Green, R. E., Bakkenes, M., Beaumont, L. J., Collingham, Y. C., … & Hughes, L. (2004). Extinction risk from climate change. Nature, 427(6970), 145-148.

Webb, M., & Doman, E. (2016). Does the Flipped Classroom Lead to Increased Gains on Learning Outcomes in ESL/EFL Contexts?. CATESOL Journal, 28(1), 39-67.

Yeemin, T., Sutthacheep, M., & Pettongma, R. (2006). Coral reef restoration projects in Thailand.  Ocean & Coastal Management ,  49 (9-10), 562-575.

Zhao, D., Yao, F., Wang, L., Zheng, L., Gao, Y., Ye, J., Guo, F., Zhao, H. & Gao, R. (2020). A comparative study on the clinical features of COVID-19 pneumonia to other pneumonias, Clinical Infectious Diseases , ciaa247,

© 2020 March 23 P. A. Regoniel Updated 17 November 2020 | Updated 18 January 2024

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About the author, patrick regoniel.

Dr. Regoniel, a faculty member of the graduate school, served as consultant to various environmental research and development projects covering issues and concerns on climate change, coral reef resources and management, economic valuation of environmental and natural resources, mining, and waste management and pollution. He has extensive experience on applied statistics, systems modelling and analysis, an avid practitioner of LaTeX, and a multidisciplinary web developer. He leverages pioneering AI-powered content creation tools to produce unique and comprehensive articles in this website.

thank you for clarification

This is excellent

objectives of the study in research sample

  • Aims and Objectives – A Guide for Academic Writing
  • Doing a PhD

One of the most important aspects of a thesis, dissertation or research paper is the correct formulation of the aims and objectives. This is because your aims and objectives will establish the scope, depth and direction that your research will ultimately take. An effective set of aims and objectives will give your research focus and your reader clarity, with your aims indicating what is to be achieved, and your objectives indicating how it will be achieved.


There is no getting away from the importance of the aims and objectives in determining the success of your research project. Unfortunately, however, it is an aspect that many students struggle with, and ultimately end up doing poorly. Given their importance, if you suspect that there is even the smallest possibility that you belong to this group of students, we strongly recommend you read this page in full.

This page describes what research aims and objectives are, how they differ from each other, how to write them correctly, and the common mistakes students make and how to avoid them. An example of a good aim and objectives from a past thesis has also been deconstructed to help your understanding.

What Are Aims and Objectives?

Research aims.

A research aim describes the main goal or the overarching purpose of your research project.

In doing so, it acts as a focal point for your research and provides your readers with clarity as to what your study is all about. Because of this, research aims are almost always located within its own subsection under the introduction section of a research document, regardless of whether it’s a thesis , a dissertation, or a research paper .

A research aim is usually formulated as a broad statement of the main goal of the research and can range in length from a single sentence to a short paragraph. Although the exact format may vary according to preference, they should all describe why your research is needed (i.e. the context), what it sets out to accomplish (the actual aim) and, briefly, how it intends to accomplish it (overview of your objectives).

To give an example, we have extracted the following research aim from a real PhD thesis:

Example of a Research Aim

The role of diametrical cup deformation as a factor to unsatisfactory implant performance has not been widely reported. The aim of this thesis was to gain an understanding of the diametrical deformation behaviour of acetabular cups and shells following impaction into the reamed acetabulum. The influence of a range of factors on deformation was investigated to ascertain if cup and shell deformation may be high enough to potentially contribute to early failure and high wear rates in metal-on-metal implants.

Note: Extracted with permission from thesis titled “T he Impact And Deformation Of Press-Fit Metal Acetabular Components ” produced by Dr H Hothi of previously Queen Mary University of London.

Research Objectives

Where a research aim specifies what your study will answer, research objectives specify how your study will answer it.

They divide your research aim into several smaller parts, each of which represents a key section of your research project. As a result, almost all research objectives take the form of a numbered list, with each item usually receiving its own chapter in a dissertation or thesis.

Following the example of the research aim shared above, here are it’s real research objectives as an example:

Example of a Research Objective

  • Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.
  • Investigate the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup.
  • Determine the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types.
  • Investigate the influence of non-uniform cup support and varying the orientation of the component in the cavity on deformation.
  • Examine the influence of errors during reaming of the acetabulum which introduce ovality to the cavity.
  • Determine the relationship between changes in the geometry of the component and deformation for different cup designs.
  • Develop three dimensional pelvis models with non-uniform bone material properties from a range of patients with varying bone quality.
  • Use the key parameters that influence deformation, as identified in the foam models to determine the range of deformations that may occur clinically using the anatomic models and if these deformations are clinically significant.

It’s worth noting that researchers sometimes use research questions instead of research objectives, or in other cases both. From a high-level perspective, research questions and research objectives make the same statements, but just in different formats.

Taking the first three research objectives as an example, they can be restructured into research questions as follows:

Restructuring Research Objectives as Research Questions

  • Can finite element models using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum together with explicit dynamics be used to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion?
  • What is the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup?
  • What is the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types?

Difference Between Aims and Objectives

Hopefully the above explanations make clear the differences between aims and objectives, but to clarify:

  • The research aim focus on what the research project is intended to achieve; research objectives focus on how the aim will be achieved.
  • Research aims are relatively broad; research objectives are specific.
  • Research aims focus on a project’s long-term outcomes; research objectives focus on its immediate, short-term outcomes.
  • A research aim can be written in a single sentence or short paragraph; research objectives should be written as a numbered list.

How to Write Aims and Objectives

Before we discuss how to write a clear set of research aims and objectives, we should make it clear that there is no single way they must be written. Each researcher will approach their aims and objectives slightly differently, and often your supervisor will influence the formulation of yours on the basis of their own preferences.

Regardless, there are some basic principles that you should observe for good practice; these principles are described below.

Your aim should be made up of three parts that answer the below questions:

  • Why is this research required?
  • What is this research about?
  • How are you going to do it?

The easiest way to achieve this would be to address each question in its own sentence, although it does not matter whether you combine them or write multiple sentences for each, the key is to address each one.

The first question, why , provides context to your research project, the second question, what , describes the aim of your research, and the last question, how , acts as an introduction to your objectives which will immediately follow.

Scroll through the image set below to see the ‘why, what and how’ associated with our research aim example.

Explaining aims vs objectives

Note: Your research aims need not be limited to one. Some individuals per to define one broad ‘overarching aim’ of a project and then adopt two or three specific research aims for their thesis or dissertation. Remember, however, that in order for your assessors to consider your research project complete, you will need to prove you have fulfilled all of the aims you set out to achieve. Therefore, while having more than one research aim is not necessarily disadvantageous, consider whether a single overarching one will do.

Research Objectives

Each of your research objectives should be SMART :

  • Specific – is there any ambiguity in the action you are going to undertake, or is it focused and well-defined?
  • Measurable – how will you measure progress and determine when you have achieved the action?
  • Achievable – do you have the support, resources and facilities required to carry out the action?
  • Relevant – is the action essential to the achievement of your research aim?
  • Timebound – can you realistically complete the action in the available time alongside your other research tasks?

In addition to being SMART, your research objectives should start with a verb that helps communicate your intent. Common research verbs include:

Table of Research Verbs to Use in Aims and Objectives

Last, format your objectives into a numbered list. This is because when you write your thesis or dissertation, you will at times need to make reference to a specific research objective; structuring your research objectives in a numbered list will provide a clear way of doing this.

To bring all this together, let’s compare the first research objective in the previous example with the above guidance:

Checking Research Objective Example Against Recommended Approach

Research Objective:

1. Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.

Checking Against Recommended Approach:

Q: Is it specific? A: Yes, it is clear what the student intends to do (produce a finite element model), why they intend to do it (mimic cup/shell blows) and their parameters have been well-defined ( using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum ).

Q: Is it measurable? A: Yes, it is clear that the research objective will be achieved once the finite element model is complete.

Q: Is it achievable? A: Yes, provided the student has access to a computer lab, modelling software and laboratory data.

Q: Is it relevant? A: Yes, mimicking impacts to a cup/shell is fundamental to the overall aim of understanding how they deform when impacted upon.

Q: Is it timebound? A: Yes, it is possible to create a limited-scope finite element model in a relatively short time, especially if you already have experience in modelling.

Q: Does it start with a verb? A: Yes, it starts with ‘develop’, which makes the intent of the objective immediately clear.

Q: Is it a numbered list? A: Yes, it is the first research objective in a list of eight.

Mistakes in Writing Research Aims and Objectives

1. making your research aim too broad.

Having a research aim too broad becomes very difficult to achieve. Normally, this occurs when a student develops their research aim before they have a good understanding of what they want to research. Remember that at the end of your project and during your viva defence , you will have to prove that you have achieved your research aims; if they are too broad, this will be an almost impossible task. In the early stages of your research project, your priority should be to narrow your study to a specific area. A good way to do this is to take the time to study existing literature, question their current approaches, findings and limitations, and consider whether there are any recurring gaps that could be investigated .

Note: Achieving a set of aims does not necessarily mean proving or disproving a theory or hypothesis, even if your research aim was to, but having done enough work to provide a useful and original insight into the principles that underlie your research aim.

2. Making Your Research Objectives Too Ambitious

Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have available. It is natural to want to set ambitious research objectives that require sophisticated data collection and analysis, but only completing this with six months before the end of your PhD registration period is not a worthwhile trade-off.

3. Formulating Repetitive Research Objectives

Each research objective should have its own purpose and distinct measurable outcome. To this effect, a common mistake is to form research objectives which have large amounts of overlap. This makes it difficult to determine when an objective is truly complete, and also presents challenges in estimating the duration of objectives when creating your project timeline. It also makes it difficult to structure your thesis into unique chapters, making it more challenging for you to write and for your audience to read.

Fortunately, this oversight can be easily avoided by using SMART objectives.

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how to create an effective set of aims and objectives for your research project, whether it be a thesis, dissertation or research paper. While it may be tempting to dive directly into your research, spending time on getting your aims and objectives right will give your research clear direction. This won’t only reduce the likelihood of problems arising later down the line, but will also lead to a more thorough and coherent research project.

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  • What Is a Research Design | Types, Guide & Examples

What Is a Research Design | Types, Guide & Examples

Published on June 7, 2021 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023 by Pritha Bhandari.

A research design is a strategy for answering your   research question  using empirical data. Creating a research design means making decisions about:

  • Your overall research objectives and approach
  • Whether you’ll rely on primary research or secondary research
  • Your sampling methods or criteria for selecting subjects
  • Your data collection methods
  • The procedures you’ll follow to collect data
  • Your data analysis methods

A well-planned research design helps ensure that your methods match your research objectives and that you use the right kind of analysis for your data.

Table of contents

Step 1: consider your aims and approach, step 2: choose a type of research design, step 3: identify your population and sampling method, step 4: choose your data collection methods, step 5: plan your data collection procedures, step 6: decide on your data analysis strategies, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research design.

  • Introduction

Before you can start designing your research, you should already have a clear idea of the research question you want to investigate.

There are many different ways you could go about answering this question. Your research design choices should be driven by your aims and priorities—start by thinking carefully about what you want to achieve.

The first choice you need to make is whether you’ll take a qualitative or quantitative approach.

Qualitative research designs tend to be more flexible and inductive , allowing you to adjust your approach based on what you find throughout the research process.

Quantitative research designs tend to be more fixed and deductive , with variables and hypotheses clearly defined in advance of data collection.

It’s also possible to use a mixed-methods design that integrates aspects of both approaches. By combining qualitative and quantitative insights, you can gain a more complete picture of the problem you’re studying and strengthen the credibility of your conclusions.

Practical and ethical considerations when designing research

As well as scientific considerations, you need to think practically when designing your research. If your research involves people or animals, you also need to consider research ethics .

  • How much time do you have to collect data and write up the research?
  • Will you be able to gain access to the data you need (e.g., by travelling to a specific location or contacting specific people)?
  • Do you have the necessary research skills (e.g., statistical analysis or interview techniques)?
  • Will you need ethical approval ?

At each stage of the research design process, make sure that your choices are practically feasible.

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objectives of the study in research sample

Within both qualitative and quantitative approaches, there are several types of research design to choose from. Each type provides a framework for the overall shape of your research.

Types of quantitative research designs

Quantitative designs can be split into four main types.

  • Experimental and   quasi-experimental designs allow you to test cause-and-effect relationships
  • Descriptive and correlational designs allow you to measure variables and describe relationships between them.

With descriptive and correlational designs, you can get a clear picture of characteristics, trends and relationships as they exist in the real world. However, you can’t draw conclusions about cause and effect (because correlation doesn’t imply causation ).

Experiments are the strongest way to test cause-and-effect relationships without the risk of other variables influencing the results. However, their controlled conditions may not always reflect how things work in the real world. They’re often also more difficult and expensive to implement.

Types of qualitative research designs

Qualitative designs are less strictly defined. This approach is about gaining a rich, detailed understanding of a specific context or phenomenon, and you can often be more creative and flexible in designing your research.

The table below shows some common types of qualitative design. They often have similar approaches in terms of data collection, but focus on different aspects when analyzing the data.

Your research design should clearly define who or what your research will focus on, and how you’ll go about choosing your participants or subjects.

In research, a population is the entire group that you want to draw conclusions about, while a sample is the smaller group of individuals you’ll actually collect data from.

Defining the population

A population can be made up of anything you want to study—plants, animals, organizations, texts, countries, etc. In the social sciences, it most often refers to a group of people.

For example, will you focus on people from a specific demographic, region or background? Are you interested in people with a certain job or medical condition, or users of a particular product?

The more precisely you define your population, the easier it will be to gather a representative sample.

  • Sampling methods

Even with a narrowly defined population, it’s rarely possible to collect data from every individual. Instead, you’ll collect data from a sample.

To select a sample, there are two main approaches: probability sampling and non-probability sampling . The sampling method you use affects how confidently you can generalize your results to the population as a whole.

Probability sampling is the most statistically valid option, but it’s often difficult to achieve unless you’re dealing with a very small and accessible population.

For practical reasons, many studies use non-probability sampling, but it’s important to be aware of the limitations and carefully consider potential biases. You should always make an effort to gather a sample that’s as representative as possible of the population.

Case selection in qualitative research

In some types of qualitative designs, sampling may not be relevant.

For example, in an ethnography or a case study , your aim is to deeply understand a specific context, not to generalize to a population. Instead of sampling, you may simply aim to collect as much data as possible about the context you are studying.

In these types of design, you still have to carefully consider your choice of case or community. You should have a clear rationale for why this particular case is suitable for answering your research question .

For example, you might choose a case study that reveals an unusual or neglected aspect of your research problem, or you might choose several very similar or very different cases in order to compare them.

Data collection methods are ways of directly measuring variables and gathering information. They allow you to gain first-hand knowledge and original insights into your research problem.

You can choose just one data collection method, or use several methods in the same study.

Survey methods

Surveys allow you to collect data about opinions, behaviors, experiences, and characteristics by asking people directly. There are two main survey methods to choose from: questionnaires and interviews .

Observation methods

Observational studies allow you to collect data unobtrusively, observing characteristics, behaviors or social interactions without relying on self-reporting.

Observations may be conducted in real time, taking notes as you observe, or you might make audiovisual recordings for later analysis. They can be qualitative or quantitative.

Other methods of data collection

There are many other ways you might collect data depending on your field and topic.

If you’re not sure which methods will work best for your research design, try reading some papers in your field to see what kinds of data collection methods they used.

Secondary data

If you don’t have the time or resources to collect data from the population you’re interested in, you can also choose to use secondary data that other researchers already collected—for example, datasets from government surveys or previous studies on your topic.

With this raw data, you can do your own analysis to answer new research questions that weren’t addressed by the original study.

Using secondary data can expand the scope of your research, as you may be able to access much larger and more varied samples than you could collect yourself.

However, it also means you don’t have any control over which variables to measure or how to measure them, so the conclusions you can draw may be limited.

As well as deciding on your methods, you need to plan exactly how you’ll use these methods to collect data that’s consistent, accurate, and unbiased.

Planning systematic procedures is especially important in quantitative research, where you need to precisely define your variables and ensure your measurements are high in reliability and validity.


Some variables, like height or age, are easily measured. But often you’ll be dealing with more abstract concepts, like satisfaction, anxiety, or competence. Operationalization means turning these fuzzy ideas into measurable indicators.

If you’re using observations , which events or actions will you count?

If you’re using surveys , which questions will you ask and what range of responses will be offered?

You may also choose to use or adapt existing materials designed to measure the concept you’re interested in—for example, questionnaires or inventories whose reliability and validity has already been established.

Reliability and validity

Reliability means your results can be consistently reproduced, while validity means that you’re actually measuring the concept you’re interested in.

For valid and reliable results, your measurement materials should be thoroughly researched and carefully designed. Plan your procedures to make sure you carry out the same steps in the same way for each participant.

If you’re developing a new questionnaire or other instrument to measure a specific concept, running a pilot study allows you to check its validity and reliability in advance.

Sampling procedures

As well as choosing an appropriate sampling method , you need a concrete plan for how you’ll actually contact and recruit your selected sample.

That means making decisions about things like:

  • How many participants do you need for an adequate sample size?
  • What inclusion and exclusion criteria will you use to identify eligible participants?
  • How will you contact your sample—by mail, online, by phone, or in person?

If you’re using a probability sampling method , it’s important that everyone who is randomly selected actually participates in the study. How will you ensure a high response rate?

If you’re using a non-probability method , how will you avoid research bias and ensure a representative sample?

Data management

It’s also important to create a data management plan for organizing and storing your data.

Will you need to transcribe interviews or perform data entry for observations? You should anonymize and safeguard any sensitive data, and make sure it’s backed up regularly.

Keeping your data well-organized will save time when it comes to analyzing it. It can also help other researchers validate and add to your findings (high replicability ).

On its own, raw data can’t answer your research question. The last step of designing your research is planning how you’ll analyze the data.

Quantitative data analysis

In quantitative research, you’ll most likely use some form of statistical analysis . With statistics, you can summarize your sample data, make estimates, and test hypotheses.

Using descriptive statistics , you can summarize your sample data in terms of:

  • The distribution of the data (e.g., the frequency of each score on a test)
  • The central tendency of the data (e.g., the mean to describe the average score)
  • The variability of the data (e.g., the standard deviation to describe how spread out the scores are)

The specific calculations you can do depend on the level of measurement of your variables.

Using inferential statistics , you can:

  • Make estimates about the population based on your sample data.
  • Test hypotheses about a relationship between variables.

Regression and correlation tests look for associations between two or more variables, while comparison tests (such as t tests and ANOVAs ) look for differences in the outcomes of different groups.

Your choice of statistical test depends on various aspects of your research design, including the types of variables you’re dealing with and the distribution of your data.

Qualitative data analysis

In qualitative research, your data will usually be very dense with information and ideas. Instead of summing it up in numbers, you’ll need to comb through the data in detail, interpret its meanings, identify patterns, and extract the parts that are most relevant to your research question.

Two of the most common approaches to doing this are thematic analysis and discourse analysis .

There are many other ways of analyzing qualitative data depending on the aims of your research. To get a sense of potential approaches, try reading some qualitative research papers in your field.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A research design is a strategy for answering your   research question . It defines your overall approach and determines how you will collect and analyze data.

A well-planned research design helps ensure that your methods match your research aims, that you collect high-quality data, and that you use the right kind of analysis to answer your questions, utilizing credible sources . This allows you to draw valid , trustworthy conclusions.

Quantitative research designs can be divided into two main categories:

  • Correlational and descriptive designs are used to investigate characteristics, averages, trends, and associations between variables.
  • Experimental and quasi-experimental designs are used to test causal relationships .

Qualitative research designs tend to be more flexible. Common types of qualitative design include case study , ethnography , and grounded theory designs.

The priorities of a research design can vary depending on the field, but you usually have to specify:

  • Your research questions and/or hypotheses
  • Your overall approach (e.g., qualitative or quantitative )
  • The type of design you’re using (e.g., a survey , experiment , or case study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., questionnaires , observations)
  • Your data collection procedures (e.g., operationalization , timing and data management)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical tests  or thematic analysis )

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population . Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research. For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

In statistics, sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population.

Operationalization means turning abstract conceptual ideas into measurable observations.

For example, the concept of social anxiety isn’t directly observable, but it can be operationally defined in terms of self-rating scores, behavioral avoidance of crowded places, or physical anxiety symptoms in social situations.

Before collecting data , it’s important to consider how you will operationalize the variables that you want to measure.

A research project is an academic, scientific, or professional undertaking to answer a research question . Research projects can take many forms, such as qualitative or quantitative , descriptive , longitudinal , experimental , or correlational . What kind of research approach you choose will depend on your topic.

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  • Problem Statement

Purpose Statement Overview

Best practices for writing your purpose statement, writing your purpose statement, sample purpose statements.

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Jump to DSE Guide

The purpose statement succinctly explains (on no more than 1 page) the objectives of the research study. These objectives must directly address the problem and help close the stated gap. Expressed as a formula:

objectives of the study in research sample

Good purpose statements:

  • Flow from the problem statement and actually address the proposed problem
  • Are concise and clear
  • Answer the question ‘Why are you doing this research?’
  • Match the methodology (similar to research questions)
  • Have a ‘hook’ to get the reader’s attention
  • Set the stage by clearly stating, “The purpose of this (qualitative or quantitative) study is to ...

In PhD studies, the purpose usually involves applying a theory to solve the problem. In other words, the purpose tells the reader what the goal of the study is, and what your study will accomplish, through which theoretical lens. The purpose statement also includes brief information about direction, scope, and where the data will come from.

A problem and gap in combination can lead to different research objectives, and hence, different purpose statements. In the example from above where the problem was severe underrepresentation of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies and the identified gap related to lack of research of male-dominated boards; one purpose might be to explore implicit biases in male-dominated boards through the lens of feminist theory. Another purpose may be to determine how board members rated female and male candidates on scales of competency, professionalism, and experience to predict which candidate will be selected for the CEO position. The first purpose may involve a qualitative ethnographic study in which the researcher observes board meetings and hiring interviews; the second may involve a quantitative regression analysis. The outcomes will be very different, so it’s important that you find out exactly how you want to address a problem and help close a gap!

The purpose of the study must not only align with the problem and address a gap; it must also align with the chosen research method. In fact, the DP/DM template requires you to name the  research method at the very beginning of the purpose statement. The research verb must match the chosen method. In general, quantitative studies involve “closed-ended” research verbs such as determine , measure , correlate , explain , compare , validate , identify , or examine ; whereas qualitative studies involve “open-ended” research verbs such as explore , understand , narrate , articulate [meanings], discover , or develop .

A qualitative purpose statement following the color-coded problem statement (assumed here to be low well-being among financial sector employees) + gap (lack of research on followers of mid-level managers), might start like this:

In response to declining levels of employee well-being, the purpose of the qualitative phenomenology was to explore and understand the lived experiences related to the well-being of the followers of novice mid-level managers in the financial services industry. The levels of follower well-being have been shown to correlate to employee morale, turnover intention, and customer orientation (Eren et al., 2013). A combined framework of Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory and the employee well-being concept informed the research questions and supported the inquiry, analysis, and interpretation of the experiences of followers of novice managers in the financial services industry.

A quantitative purpose statement for the same problem and gap might start like this:

In response to declining levels of employee well-being, the purpose of the quantitative correlational study was to determine which leadership factors predict employee well-being of the followers of novice mid-level managers in the financial services industry. Leadership factors were measured by the Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) assessment framework  by Mantlekow (2015), and employee well-being was conceptualized as a compound variable consisting of self-reported turnover-intent and psychological test scores from the Mental Health Survey (MHS) developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Both of these purpose statements reflect viable research strategies and both align with the problem and gap so it’s up to the researcher to design a study in a manner that reflects personal preferences and desired study outcomes. Note that the quantitative research purpose incorporates operationalized concepts  or variables ; that reflect the way the researcher intends to measure the key concepts under study; whereas the qualitative purpose statement isn’t about translating the concepts under study as variables but instead aim to explore and understand the core research phenomenon.  

Always keep in mind that the dissertation process is iterative, and your writing, over time, will be refined as clarity is gradually achieved. Most of the time, greater clarity for the purpose statement and other components of the Dissertation is the result of a growing understanding of the literature in the field. As you increasingly master the literature you will also increasingly clarify the purpose of your study.

The purpose statement should flow directly from the problem statement. There should be clear and obvious alignment between the two and that alignment will get tighter and more pronounced as your work progresses.

The purpose statement should specifically address the reason for conducting the study, with emphasis on the word specifically. There should not be any doubt in your readers’ minds as to the purpose of your study. To achieve this level of clarity you will need to also insure there is no doubt in your mind as to the purpose of your study.

Many researchers benefit from stopping your work during the research process when insight strikes you and write about it while it is still fresh in your mind. This can help you clarify all aspects of a dissertation, including clarifying its purpose.

Your Chair and your committee members can help you to clarify your study’s purpose so carefully attend to any feedback they offer.

The purpose statement should reflect the research questions and vice versa. The chain of alignment that began with the research problem description and continues on to the research purpose, research questions, and methodology must be respected at all times during dissertation development. You are to succinctly describe the overarching goal of the study that reflects the research questions. Each research question narrows and focuses the purpose statement. Conversely, the purpose statement encompasses all of the research questions.

Identify in the purpose statement the research method as quantitative, qualitative or mixed (i.e., “The purpose of this [qualitative/quantitative/mixed] study is to ...)

Avoid the use of the phrase “research study” since the two words together are redundant.

Follow the initial declaration of purpose with a brief overview of how, with what instruments/data, with whom and where (as applicable) the study will be conducted. Identify variables/constructs and/or phenomenon/concept/idea. Since this section is to be a concise paragraph, emphasis must be placed on the word brief. However, adding these details will give your readers a very clear picture of the purpose of your research.

Developing the purpose section of your dissertation is usually not achieved in a single flash of insight. The process involves a great deal of reading to find out what other scholars have done to address the research topic and problem you have identified. The purpose section of your dissertation could well be the most important paragraph you write during your academic career, and every word should be carefully selected. Think of it as the DNA of your dissertation. Everything else you write should emerge directly and clearly from your purpose statement. In turn, your purpose statement should emerge directly and clearly from your research problem description. It is good practice to print out your problem statement and purpose statement and keep them in front of you as you work on each part of your dissertation in order to insure alignment.

It is helpful to collect several dissertations similar to the one you envision creating. Extract the problem descriptions and purpose statements of other dissertation authors and compare them in order to sharpen your thinking about your own work.  Comparing how other dissertation authors have handled the many challenges you are facing can be an invaluable exercise. Keep in mind that individual universities use their own tailored protocols for presenting key components of the dissertation so your review of these purpose statements should focus on content rather than form.

Once your purpose statement is set it must be consistently presented throughout the dissertation. This may require some recursive editing because the way you articulate your purpose may evolve as you work on various aspects of your dissertation. Whenever you make an adjustment to your purpose statement you should carefully follow up on the editing and conceptual ramifications throughout the entire document.

In establishing your purpose you should NOT advocate for a particular outcome. Research should be done to answer questions not prove a point. As a researcher, you are to inquire with an open mind, and even when you come to the work with clear assumptions, your job is to prove the validity of the conclusions reached. For example, you would not say the purpose of your research project is to demonstrate that there is a relationship between two variables. Such a statement presupposes you know the answer before your research is conducted and promotes or supports (advocates on behalf of) a particular outcome. A more appropriate purpose statement would be to examine or explore the relationship between two variables.

Your purpose statement should not imply that you are going to prove something. You may be surprised to learn that we cannot prove anything in scholarly research for two reasons. First, in quantitative analyses, statistical tests calculate the probability that something is true rather than establishing it as true. Second, in qualitative research, the study can only purport to describe what is occurring from the perspective of the participants. Whether or not the phenomenon they are describing is true in a larger context is not knowable. We cannot observe the phenomenon in all settings and in all circumstances.

It is important to distinguish in your mind the differences between the Problem Statement and Purpose Statement.

The Problem Statement is why I am doing the research

The Purpose Statement is what type of research I am doing to fit or address the problem

The Purpose Statement includes:

  • Method of Study
  • Specific Population

Remember, as you are contemplating what to include in your purpose statement and then when you are writing it, the purpose statement is a concise paragraph that describes the intent of the study, and it should flow directly from the problem statement.  It should specifically address the reason for conducting the study, and reflect the research questions.  Further, it should identify the research method as qualitative, quantitative, or mixed.  Then provide a brief overview of how the study will be conducted, with what instruments/data collection methods, and with whom (subjects) and where (as applicable). Finally, you should identify variables/constructs and/or phenomenon/concept/idea.

Qualitative Purpose Statement

Creswell (2002) suggested for writing purpose statements in qualitative research include using deliberate phrasing to alert the reader to the purpose statement. Verbs that indicate what will take place in the research and the use of non-directional language that do not suggest an outcome are key. A purpose statement should focus on a single idea or concept, with a broad definition of the idea or concept. How the concept was investigated should also be included, as well as participants in the study and locations for the research to give the reader a sense of with whom and where the study took place. 

Creswell (2003) advised the following script for purpose statements in qualitative research:

“The purpose of this qualitative_________________ (strategy of inquiry, such as ethnography, case study, or other type) study is (was? will be?) to ________________ (understand? describe? develop? discover?) the _________________(central phenomenon being studied) for ______________ (the participants, such as the individual, groups, organization) at __________(research site). At this stage in the research, the __________ (central phenomenon being studied) will be generally defined as ___________________ (provide a general definition)” (pg. 90).

Quantitative Purpose Statement

Creswell (2003) offers vast differences between the purpose statements written for qualitative research and those written for quantitative research, particularly with respect to language and the inclusion of variables. The comparison of variables is often a focus of quantitative research, with the variables distinguishable by either the temporal order or how they are measured. As with qualitative research purpose statements, Creswell (2003) recommends the use of deliberate language to alert the reader to the purpose of the study, but quantitative purpose statements also include the theory or conceptual framework guiding the study and the variables that are being studied and how they are related. 

Creswell (2003) suggests the following script for drafting purpose statements in quantitative research:

“The purpose of this _____________________ (experiment? survey?) study is (was? will be?) to test the theory of _________________that _________________ (compares? relates?) the ___________(independent variable) to _________________________(dependent variable), controlling for _______________________ (control variables) for ___________________ (participants) at _________________________ (the research site). The independent variable(s) _____________________ will be generally defined as _______________________ (provide a general definition). The dependent variable(s) will be generally defined as _____________________ (provide a general definition), and the control and intervening variables(s), _________________ (identify the control and intervening variables) will be statistically controlled in this study” (pg. 97).

  • The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine how participation in service-learning in an alternative school impacted students academically, civically, and personally.  There is ample evidence demonstrating the failure of schools for students at-risk; however, there is still a need to demonstrate why these students are successful in non-traditional educational programs like the service-learning model used at TDS.  This study was unique in that it examined one alternative school’s approach to service-learning in a setting where students not only serve, but faculty serve as volunteer teachers.  The use of a constructivist approach in service-learning in an alternative school setting was examined in an effort to determine whether service-learning participation contributes positively to academic, personal, and civic gain for students, and to examine student and teacher views regarding the overall outcomes of service-learning.  This study was completed using an ethnographic approach that included observations, content analysis, and interviews with teachers at The David School.
  • The purpose of this quantitative non-experimental cross-sectional linear multiple regression design was to investigate the relationship among early childhood teachers’ self-reported assessment of multicultural awareness as measured by responses from the Teacher Multicultural Attitude Survey (TMAS) and supervisors’ observed assessment of teachers’ multicultural competency skills as measured by the Multicultural Teaching Competency Scale (MTCS) survey. Demographic data such as number of multicultural training hours, years teaching in Dubai, curriculum program at current school, and age were also examined and their relationship to multicultural teaching competency. The study took place in the emirate of Dubai where there were 14,333 expatriate teachers employed in private schools (KHDA, 2013b).
  • The purpose of this quantitative, non-experimental study is to examine the degree to which stages of change, gender, acculturation level and trauma types predicts the reluctance of Arab refugees, aged 18 and over, in the Dearborn, MI area, to seek professional help for their mental health needs. This study will utilize four instruments to measure these variables: University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA: DiClemente & Hughes, 1990); Cumulative Trauma Scale (Kira, 2012); Acculturation Rating Scale for Arabic Americans-II Arabic and English (ARSAA-IIA, ARSAA-IIE: Jadalla & Lee, 2013), and a demographic survey. This study will examine 1) the relationship between stages of change, gender, acculturation levels, and trauma types and Arab refugees’ help-seeking behavior, 2) the degree to which any of these variables can predict Arab refugee help-seeking behavior.  Additionally, the outcome of this study could provide researchers and clinicians with a stage-based model, TTM, for measuring Arab refugees’ help-seeking behavior and lay a foundation for how TTM can help target the clinical needs of Arab refugees. Lastly, this attempt to apply the TTM model to Arab refugees’ condition could lay the foundation for future research to investigate the application of TTM to clinical work among refugee populations.
  • The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study is to describe the lived experiences of LLM for 10 EFL learners in rural Guatemala and to utilize that data to determine how it conforms to, or possibly challenges, current theoretical conceptions of LLM. In accordance with Morse’s (1994) suggestion that a phenomenological study should utilize at least six participants, this study utilized semi-structured interviews with 10 EFL learners to explore why and how they have experienced the motivation to learn English throughout their lives. The methodology of horizontalization was used to break the interview protocols into individual units of meaning before analyzing these units to extract the overarching themes (Moustakas, 1994). These themes were then interpreted into a detailed description of LLM as experienced by EFL students in this context. Finally, the resulting description was analyzed to discover how these learners’ lived experiences with LLM conformed with and/or diverged from current theories of LLM.
  • The purpose of this qualitative, embedded, multiple case study was to examine how both parent-child attachment relationships are impacted by the quality of the paternal and maternal caregiver-child interactions that occur throughout a maternal deployment, within the context of dual-military couples. In order to examine this phenomenon, an embedded, multiple case study was conducted, utilizing an attachment systems metatheory perspective. The study included four dual-military couples who experienced a maternal deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) when they had at least one child between 8 weeks-old to 5 years-old.  Each member of the couple participated in an individual, semi-structured interview with the researcher and completed the Parenting Relationship Questionnaire (PRQ). “The PRQ is designed to capture a parent’s perspective on the parent-child relationship” (Pearson, 2012, para. 1) and was used within the proposed study for this purpose. The PRQ was utilized to triangulate the data (Bekhet & Zauszniewski, 2012) as well as to provide some additional information on the parents’ perspective of the quality of the parent-child attachment relationship in regards to communication, discipline, parenting confidence, relationship satisfaction, and time spent together (Pearson, 2012). The researcher utilized the semi-structured interview to collect information regarding the parents' perspectives of the quality of their parental caregiver behaviors during the deployment cycle, the mother's parent-child interactions while deployed, the behavior of the child or children at time of reunification, and the strategies or behaviors the parents believe may have contributed to their child's behavior at the time of reunification. The results of this study may be utilized by the military, and by civilian providers, to develop proactive and preventive measures that both providers and parents can implement, to address any potential adverse effects on the parent-child attachment relationship, identified through the proposed study. The results of this study may also be utilized to further refine and understand the integration of attachment theory and systems theory, in both clinical and research settings, within the field of marriage and family therapy.

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Formulating Research Aims and Objectives

Formulating research aim and objectives in an appropriate manner is one of the most important aspects of your thesis. This is because research aim and objectives determine the scope, depth and the overall direction of the research. Research question is the central question of the study that has to be answered on the basis of research findings.

Research aim emphasizes what needs to be achieved within the scope of the research, by the end of the research process. Achievement of research aim provides answer to the research question.

Research objectives divide research aim into several parts and address each part separately. Research aim specifies WHAT needs to be studied and research objectives comprise a number of steps that address HOW research aim will be achieved.

As a rule of dumb, there would be one research aim and several research objectives. Achievement of each research objective will lead to the achievement of the research aim.

Consider the following as an example:

Research title: Effects of organizational culture on business profitability: a case study of Virgin Atlantic

Research aim: To assess the effects of Virgin Atlantic organizational culture on business profitability

Following research objectives would facilitate the achievement of this aim:

  • Analyzing the nature of organizational culture at Virgin Atlantic by September 1, 2022
  • Identifying factors impacting Virgin Atlantic organizational culture by September 16, 2022
  • Analyzing impacts of Virgin Atlantic organizational culture on employee performances by September 30, 2022
  • Providing recommendations to Virgin Atlantic strategic level management in terms of increasing the level of effectiveness of organizational culture by October 5, 2022

Figure below illustrates additional examples in formulating research aims and objectives:

Formulating Research Aims and Objectives

Formulation of research question, aim and objectives

Common mistakes in the formulation of research aim relate to the following:

1. Choosing the topic too broadly . This is the most common mistake. For example, a research title of “an analysis of leadership practices” can be classified as too broad because the title fails to answer the following questions:

a) Which aspects of leadership practices? Leadership has many aspects such as employee motivation, ethical behaviour, strategic planning, change management etc. An attempt to cover all of these aspects of organizational leadership within a single research will result in an unfocused and poor work.

b) An analysis of leadership practices in which country? Leadership practices tend to be different in various countries due to cross-cultural differences, legislations and a range of other region-specific factors. Therefore, a study of leadership practices needs to be country-specific.

c) Analysis of leadership practices in which company or industry? Similar to the point above, analysis of leadership practices needs to take into account industry-specific and/or company-specific differences, and there is no way to conduct a leadership research that relates to all industries and organizations in an equal manner.

Accordingly, as an example “a study into the impacts of ethical behaviour of a leader on the level of employee motivation in US healthcare sector” would be a more appropriate title than simply “An analysis of leadership practices”.

2. Setting an unrealistic aim . Formulation of a research aim that involves in-depth interviews with Apple strategic level management by an undergraduate level student can be specified as a bit over-ambitious. This is because securing an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook or members of Apple Board of Directors might not be easy. This is an extreme example of course, but you got the idea. Instead, you may aim to interview the manager of your local Apple store and adopt a more feasible strategy to get your dissertation completed.

3. Choosing research methods incompatible with the timeframe available . Conducting interviews with 20 sample group members and collecting primary data through 2 focus groups when only three months left until submission of your dissertation can be very difficult, if not impossible. Accordingly, timeframe available need to be taken into account when formulating research aims and objectives and selecting research methods.

Moreover, research objectives need to be formulated according to SMART principle,

 where the abbreviation stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Examples of SMART research objectives

At the conclusion part of your research project you will need to reflect on the level of achievement of research aims and objectives. In case your research aims and objectives are not fully achieved by the end of the study, you will need to discuss the reasons. These may include initial inappropriate formulation of research aims and objectives, effects of other variables that were not considered at the beginning of the research or changes in some circumstances during the research process.

Research Aims and Objectives

John Dudovskiy

objectives of the study in research sample

The Importance Of Research Objectives

Imagine you’re a student planning a vacation in a foreign country. You’re on a tight budget and need to draw…

The Importance Of Research Objectives

Imagine you’re a student planning a vacation in a foreign country. You’re on a tight budget and need to draw up a pocket-friendly plan. Where do you begin? The first step is to do your research.

Before that, you make a mental list of your objectives—finding reasonably-priced hotels, traveling safely and finding ways of communicating with someone back home. These objectives help you focus sharply during your research and be aware of the finer details of your trip.

More often than not, research is a part of our daily lives. Whether it’s to pick a restaurant for your next birthday dinner or to prepare a presentation at work, good research is the foundation of effective learning. Read on to understand the meaning, importance and examples of research objectives.

Why Do We Need Research?

What are the objectives of research, what goes into a research plan.

Research is a careful and detailed study of a particular problem or concern, using scientific methods. An in-depth analysis of information creates space for generating new questions, concepts and understandings. The main objective of research is to explore the unknown and unlock new possibilities. It’s an essential component of success.

Over the years, businesses have started emphasizing the need for research. You’ve probably noticed organizations hiring research managers and analysts. The primary purpose of business research is to determine the goals and opportunities of an organization. It’s critical in making business decisions and appropriately allocating available resources.

Here are a few benefits of research that’ll explain why it is a vital aspect of our professional lives:

Expands Your Knowledge Base

One of the greatest benefits of research is to learn and gain a deeper understanding. The deeper you dig into a topic, the more well-versed you are. Furthermore, research has the power to help you build on any personal experience you have on the subject.

Keeps You Up To Date

Research encourages you to discover the most recent information available. Updated information prevents you from falling behind and helps you present accurate information. You’re better equipped to develop ideas or talk about a topic when you’re armed with the latest inputs.

Builds Your Credibility

Research provides you with a good foundation upon which you can develop your thoughts and ideas. People take you more seriously when your suggestions are backed by research. You can speak with greater confidence because you know that the information is accurate.

Sparks Connections

Take any leading nonprofit organization, you’ll see how they have a strong research arm supported by real-life stories. Research also becomes the base upon which real-life connections and impact can be made. It even helps you communicate better with others and conveys why you’re pursuing something.

Encourages Curiosity

As we’ve already established, research is mostly about using existing information to create new ideas and opinions. In the process, it sparks curiosity as you’re encouraged to explore and gain deeper insights into a subject. Curiosity leads to higher levels of positivity and lower levels of anxiety.

Well-defined objectives of research are an essential component of successful research engagement. If you want to drive all aspects of your research methodology such as data collection, design, analysis and recommendation, you need to lay down the objectives of research methodology. In other words, the objectives of research should address the underlying purpose of investigation and analysis. It should outline the steps you’d take to achieve desirable outcomes. Research objectives help you stay focused and adjust your expectations as you progress.

The objectives of research should be closely related to the problem statement, giving way to specific and achievable goals. Here are the four types of research objectives for you to explore:

General Objective

Also known as secondary objectives, general objectives provide a detailed view of the aim of a study. In other words, you get a general overview of what you want to achieve by the end of your study. For example, if you want to study an organization’s contribution to environmental sustainability, your general objective could be: a study of sustainable practices and the use of renewable energy by the organization.

Specific Objectives

Specific objectives define the primary aim of the study. Typically, general objectives provide the foundation for identifying specific objectives. In other words, when general objectives are broken down into smaller and logically connected objectives, they’re known as specific objectives. They help define the who, what, why, when and how aspects of your project. Once you identify the main objective of research, it’s easier to develop and pursue a plan of action.

Let’s take the example of ‘a study of an organization’s contribution to environmental sustainability’ again. The specific objectives will look like this:

To determine through history how the organization has changed its practices and adopted new solutions

To assess how the new practices, technology and strategies will contribute to the overall effectiveness

Once you’ve identified the objectives of research, it’s time to organize your thoughts and streamline your research goals. Here are a few effective tips to develop a powerful research plan and improve your business performance.

Set SMART Goals

Your research objectives should be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-constrained. When you focus on utilizing available resources and setting realistic timeframes and milestones, it’s easier to prioritize objectives. Continuously track your progress and check whether you need to revise your expectations or targets. This way, you’re in greater control over the process.

Create A Plan

Create a plan that’ll help you select appropriate methods to collect accurate information. A well-structured plan allows you to use logical and creative approaches towards problem-solving. The complexity of information and your skills are bound to influence your plan, which is why you need to make room for flexibility. The availability of resources will also play a big role in influencing your decisions.

Collect And Collate

After you’ve created a plan for the research process, make a list of the data you’re going to collect and the methods you’ll use. Not only will it help make sense of your insights but also keep track of your approach. The information you collect should be:

Logical, rigorous and objective

Can be reproduced by other people working on the same subject

Free of errors and highlighting necessary details

Current and updated

Includes everything required to support your argument/suggestions

Analyze And Keep Ready

Data analysis is the most crucial part of the process and there are many ways in which the information can be utilized. Four types of data analysis are often seen in a professional environment. While they may be divided into separate categories, they’re linked to each other.

Descriptive Analysis:

The most commonly used data analysis, descriptive analysis simply summarizes past data. For example, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) use descriptive analysis. It establishes certain benchmarks after studying how someone has been performing in the past.

Diagnostic Analysis:

The next step is to identify why something happened. Diagnostic analysis uses the information gathered through descriptive analysis and helps find the underlying causes of an outcome. For example, if a marketing initiative was successful, you deep-dive into the strategies that worked.

Predictive Analysis:

It attempts to answer ‘what’s likely to happen’. Predictive analysis makes use of past data to predict future outcomes. However, the accuracy of predictions depends on the quality of the data provided. Risk assessment is an ideal example of using predictive analysis.

Prescriptive Analysis: 

The most sought-after type of data analysis, prescriptive analysis combines the insights of all of the previous analyses. It’s a huge organizational commitment as it requires plenty of effort and resources. A great example of prescriptive analysis is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which consumes large amounts of data. You need to be prepared to commit to this type of analysis.

Review And Interpret

Once you’ve collected and collated your data, it’s time to review it and draw accurate conclusions. Here are a few ways to improve the review process:

Identify the fundamental issues, opportunities and problems and make note of recurring trends if any

Make a list of your insights and check which is the most or the least common. In short, keep track of the frequency of each insight

Conduct a SWOT analysis and identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

Write down your conclusions and recommendations of the research

When we think about research, we often associate it with academicians and students. but the truth is research is for everybody who is willing to learn and enhance their knowledge. If you want to master the art of strategically upgrading your knowledge, Harappa Education’s Learning Expertly course has all the answers. Not only will it help you look at things from a fresh perspective but also show you how to acquire new information with greater efficiency. The Growth Mindset framework will teach you how to believe in your abilities to grow and improve. The Learning Transfer framework will help you apply your learnings from one context to another. Begin the journey of tactful learning and self-improvement today!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the THINK Habit such as  Learning From Experience ,  Critical Thinking  & What is  Brainstorming  to think clearly and rationally.


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Research questions, hypotheses and objectives

Patricia farrugia.

* Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, the

Bradley A. Petrisor

† Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and the

Forough Farrokhyar

‡ Departments of Surgery and

§ Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont

Mohit Bhandari

There is an increasing familiarity with the principles of evidence-based medicine in the surgical community. As surgeons become more aware of the hierarchy of evidence, grades of recommendations and the principles of critical appraisal, they develop an increasing familiarity with research design. Surgeons and clinicians are looking more and more to the literature and clinical trials to guide their practice; as such, it is becoming a responsibility of the clinical research community to attempt to answer questions that are not only well thought out but also clinically relevant. The development of the research question, including a supportive hypothesis and objectives, is a necessary key step in producing clinically relevant results to be used in evidence-based practice. A well-defined and specific research question is more likely to help guide us in making decisions about study design and population and subsequently what data will be collected and analyzed. 1

Objectives of this article

In this article, we discuss important considerations in the development of a research question and hypothesis and in defining objectives for research. By the end of this article, the reader will be able to appreciate the significance of constructing a good research question and developing hypotheses and research objectives for the successful design of a research study. The following article is divided into 3 sections: research question, research hypothesis and research objectives.

Research question

Interest in a particular topic usually begins the research process, but it is the familiarity with the subject that helps define an appropriate research question for a study. 1 Questions then arise out of a perceived knowledge deficit within a subject area or field of study. 2 Indeed, Haynes suggests that it is important to know “where the boundary between current knowledge and ignorance lies.” 1 The challenge in developing an appropriate research question is in determining which clinical uncertainties could or should be studied and also rationalizing the need for their investigation.

Increasing one’s knowledge about the subject of interest can be accomplished in many ways. Appropriate methods include systematically searching the literature, in-depth interviews and focus groups with patients (and proxies) and interviews with experts in the field. In addition, awareness of current trends and technological advances can assist with the development of research questions. 2 It is imperative to understand what has been studied about a topic to date in order to further the knowledge that has been previously gathered on a topic. Indeed, some granting institutions (e.g., Canadian Institute for Health Research) encourage applicants to conduct a systematic review of the available evidence if a recent review does not already exist and preferably a pilot or feasibility study before applying for a grant for a full trial.

In-depth knowledge about a subject may generate a number of questions. It then becomes necessary to ask whether these questions can be answered through one study or if more than one study needed. 1 Additional research questions can be developed, but several basic principles should be taken into consideration. 1 All questions, primary and secondary, should be developed at the beginning and planning stages of a study. Any additional questions should never compromise the primary question because it is the primary research question that forms the basis of the hypothesis and study objectives. It must be kept in mind that within the scope of one study, the presence of a number of research questions will affect and potentially increase the complexity of both the study design and subsequent statistical analyses, not to mention the actual feasibility of answering every question. 1 A sensible strategy is to establish a single primary research question around which to focus the study plan. 3 In a study, the primary research question should be clearly stated at the end of the introduction of the grant proposal, and it usually specifies the population to be studied, the intervention to be implemented and other circumstantial factors. 4

Hulley and colleagues 2 have suggested the use of the FINER criteria in the development of a good research question ( Box 1 ). The FINER criteria highlight useful points that may increase the chances of developing a successful research project. A good research question should specify the population of interest, be of interest to the scientific community and potentially to the public, have clinical relevance and further current knowledge in the field (and of course be compliant with the standards of ethical boards and national research standards).

FINER criteria for a good research question

Adapted with permission from Wolters Kluwer Health. 2

Whereas the FINER criteria outline the important aspects of the question in general, a useful format to use in the development of a specific research question is the PICO format — consider the population (P) of interest, the intervention (I) being studied, the comparison (C) group (or to what is the intervention being compared) and the outcome of interest (O). 3 , 5 , 6 Often timing (T) is added to PICO ( Box 2 ) — that is, “Over what time frame will the study take place?” 1 The PICOT approach helps generate a question that aids in constructing the framework of the study and subsequently in protocol development by alluding to the inclusion and exclusion criteria and identifying the groups of patients to be included. Knowing the specific population of interest, intervention (and comparator) and outcome of interest may also help the researcher identify an appropriate outcome measurement tool. 7 The more defined the population of interest, and thus the more stringent the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the greater the effect on the interpretation and subsequent applicability and generalizability of the research findings. 1 , 2 A restricted study population (and exclusion criteria) may limit bias and increase the internal validity of the study; however, this approach will limit external validity of the study and, thus, the generalizability of the findings to the practical clinical setting. Conversely, a broadly defined study population and inclusion criteria may be representative of practical clinical practice but may increase bias and reduce the internal validity of the study.

PICOT criteria 1

A poorly devised research question may affect the choice of study design, potentially lead to futile situations and, thus, hamper the chance of determining anything of clinical significance, which will then affect the potential for publication. Without devoting appropriate resources to developing the research question, the quality of the study and subsequent results may be compromised. During the initial stages of any research study, it is therefore imperative to formulate a research question that is both clinically relevant and answerable.

Research hypothesis

The primary research question should be driven by the hypothesis rather than the data. 1 , 2 That is, the research question and hypothesis should be developed before the start of the study. This sounds intuitive; however, if we take, for example, a database of information, it is potentially possible to perform multiple statistical comparisons of groups within the database to find a statistically significant association. This could then lead one to work backward from the data and develop the “question.” This is counterintuitive to the process because the question is asked specifically to then find the answer, thus collecting data along the way (i.e., in a prospective manner). Multiple statistical testing of associations from data previously collected could potentially lead to spuriously positive findings of association through chance alone. 2 Therefore, a good hypothesis must be based on a good research question at the start of a trial and, indeed, drive data collection for the study.

The research or clinical hypothesis is developed from the research question and then the main elements of the study — sampling strategy, intervention (if applicable), comparison and outcome variables — are summarized in a form that establishes the basis for testing, statistical and ultimately clinical significance. 3 For example, in a research study comparing computer-assisted acetabular component insertion versus freehand acetabular component placement in patients in need of total hip arthroplasty, the experimental group would be computer-assisted insertion and the control/conventional group would be free-hand placement. The investigative team would first state a research hypothesis. This could be expressed as a single outcome (e.g., computer-assisted acetabular component placement leads to improved functional outcome) or potentially as a complex/composite outcome; that is, more than one outcome (e.g., computer-assisted acetabular component placement leads to both improved radiographic cup placement and improved functional outcome).

However, when formally testing statistical significance, the hypothesis should be stated as a “null” hypothesis. 2 The purpose of hypothesis testing is to make an inference about the population of interest on the basis of a random sample taken from that population. The null hypothesis for the preceding research hypothesis then would be that there is no difference in mean functional outcome between the computer-assisted insertion and free-hand placement techniques. After forming the null hypothesis, the researchers would form an alternate hypothesis stating the nature of the difference, if it should appear. The alternate hypothesis would be that there is a difference in mean functional outcome between these techniques. At the end of the study, the null hypothesis is then tested statistically. If the findings of the study are not statistically significant (i.e., there is no difference in functional outcome between the groups in a statistical sense), we cannot reject the null hypothesis, whereas if the findings were significant, we can reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternate hypothesis (i.e., there is a difference in mean functional outcome between the study groups), errors in testing notwithstanding. In other words, hypothesis testing confirms or refutes the statement that the observed findings did not occur by chance alone but rather occurred because there was a true difference in outcomes between these surgical procedures. The concept of statistical hypothesis testing is complex, and the details are beyond the scope of this article.

Another important concept inherent in hypothesis testing is whether the hypotheses will be 1-sided or 2-sided. A 2-sided hypothesis states that there is a difference between the experimental group and the control group, but it does not specify in advance the expected direction of the difference. For example, we asked whether there is there an improvement in outcomes with computer-assisted surgery or whether the outcomes worse with computer-assisted surgery. We presented a 2-sided test in the above example because we did not specify the direction of the difference. A 1-sided hypothesis states a specific direction (e.g., there is an improvement in outcomes with computer-assisted surgery). A 2-sided hypothesis should be used unless there is a good justification for using a 1-sided hypothesis. As Bland and Atlman 8 stated, “One-sided hypothesis testing should never be used as a device to make a conventionally nonsignificant difference significant.”

The research hypothesis should be stated at the beginning of the study to guide the objectives for research. Whereas the investigators may state the hypothesis as being 1-sided (there is an improvement with treatment), the study and investigators must adhere to the concept of clinical equipoise. According to this principle, a clinical (or surgical) trial is ethical only if the expert community is uncertain about the relative therapeutic merits of the experimental and control groups being evaluated. 9 It means there must exist an honest and professional disagreement among expert clinicians about the preferred treatment. 9

Designing a research hypothesis is supported by a good research question and will influence the type of research design for the study. Acting on the principles of appropriate hypothesis development, the study can then confidently proceed to the development of the research objective.

Research objective

The primary objective should be coupled with the hypothesis of the study. Study objectives define the specific aims of the study and should be clearly stated in the introduction of the research protocol. 7 From our previous example and using the investigative hypothesis that there is a difference in functional outcomes between computer-assisted acetabular component placement and free-hand placement, the primary objective can be stated as follows: this study will compare the functional outcomes of computer-assisted acetabular component insertion versus free-hand placement in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty. Note that the study objective is an active statement about how the study is going to answer the specific research question. Objectives can (and often do) state exactly which outcome measures are going to be used within their statements. They are important because they not only help guide the development of the protocol and design of study but also play a role in sample size calculations and determining the power of the study. 7 These concepts will be discussed in other articles in this series.

From the surgeon’s point of view, it is important for the study objectives to be focused on outcomes that are important to patients and clinically relevant. For example, the most methodologically sound randomized controlled trial comparing 2 techniques of distal radial fixation would have little or no clinical impact if the primary objective was to determine the effect of treatment A as compared to treatment B on intraoperative fluoroscopy time. However, if the objective was to determine the effect of treatment A as compared to treatment B on patient functional outcome at 1 year, this would have a much more significant impact on clinical decision-making. Second, more meaningful surgeon–patient discussions could ensue, incorporating patient values and preferences with the results from this study. 6 , 7 It is the precise objective and what the investigator is trying to measure that is of clinical relevance in the practical setting.

The following is an example from the literature about the relation between the research question, hypothesis and study objectives:

Study: Warden SJ, Metcalf BR, Kiss ZS, et al. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound for chronic patellar tendinopathy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Rheumatology 2008;47:467–71.

Research question: How does low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) compare with a placebo device in managing the symptoms of skeletally mature patients with patellar tendinopathy?

Research hypothesis: Pain levels are reduced in patients who receive daily active-LIPUS (treatment) for 12 weeks compared with individuals who receive inactive-LIPUS (placebo).

Objective: To investigate the clinical efficacy of LIPUS in the management of patellar tendinopathy symptoms.

The development of the research question is the most important aspect of a research project. A research project can fail if the objectives and hypothesis are poorly focused and underdeveloped. Useful tips for surgical researchers are provided in Box 3 . Designing and developing an appropriate and relevant research question, hypothesis and objectives can be a difficult task. The critical appraisal of the research question used in a study is vital to the application of the findings to clinical practice. Focusing resources, time and dedication to these 3 very important tasks will help to guide a successful research project, influence interpretation of the results and affect future publication efforts.

Tips for developing research questions, hypotheses and objectives for research studies

  • Perform a systematic literature review (if one has not been done) to increase knowledge and familiarity with the topic and to assist with research development.
  • Learn about current trends and technological advances on the topic.
  • Seek careful input from experts, mentors, colleagues and collaborators to refine your research question as this will aid in developing the research question and guide the research study.
  • Use the FINER criteria in the development of the research question.
  • Ensure that the research question follows PICOT format.
  • Develop a research hypothesis from the research question.
  • Develop clear and well-defined primary and secondary (if needed) objectives.
  • Ensure that the research question and objectives are answerable, feasible and clinically relevant.

FINER = feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, relevant; PICOT = population (patients), intervention (for intervention studies only), comparison group, outcome of interest, time.

Competing interests: No funding was received in preparation of this paper. Dr. Bhandari was funded, in part, by a Canada Research Chair, McMaster University.

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Home » Scope of the Research – Writing Guide and Examples

Scope of the Research – Writing Guide and Examples

Table of Contents

Scope of the Research

Scope of the Research

Scope of research refers to the range of topics, areas, and subjects that a research project intends to cover. It is the extent and limitations of the study, defining what is included and excluded in the research.

The scope of a research project depends on various factors, such as the research questions , objectives , methodology, and available resources. It is essential to define the scope of the research project clearly to avoid confusion and ensure that the study addresses the intended research questions.

How to Write Scope of the Research

Writing the scope of the research involves identifying the specific boundaries and limitations of the study. Here are some steps you can follow to write a clear and concise scope of the research:

  • Identify the research question: Start by identifying the specific question that you want to answer through your research . This will help you focus your research and define the scope more clearly.
  • Define the objectives: Once you have identified the research question, define the objectives of your study. What specific goals do you want to achieve through your research?
  • Determine the population and sample: Identify the population or group of people that you will be studying, as well as the sample size and selection criteria. This will help you narrow down the scope of your research and ensure that your findings are applicable to the intended audience.
  • Identify the variables: Determine the variables that will be measured or analyzed in your research. This could include demographic variables, independent variables , dependent variables , or any other relevant factors.
  • Define the timeframe: Determine the timeframe for your study, including the start and end date, as well as any specific time intervals that will be measured.
  • Determine the geographical scope: If your research is location-specific, define the geographical scope of your study. This could include specific regions, cities, or neighborhoods that you will be focusing on.
  • Outline the limitations: Finally, outline any limitations or constraints of your research, such as time, resources, or access to data. This will help readers understand the scope and applicability of your research findings.

Examples of the Scope of the Research

Some Examples of the Scope of the Research are as follows:

Title : “Investigating the impact of artificial intelligence on job automation in the IT industry”

Scope of Research:

This study aims to explore the impact of artificial intelligence on job automation in the IT industry. The research will involve a qualitative analysis of job postings, identifying tasks that can be automated using AI. The study will also assess the potential implications of job automation on the workforce, including job displacement, job creation, and changes in job requirements.

Title : “Developing a machine learning model for predicting cyberattacks on corporate networks”

This study will develop a machine learning model for predicting cyberattacks on corporate networks. The research will involve collecting and analyzing network traffic data, identifying patterns and trends that are indicative of cyberattacks. The study aims to build an accurate and reliable predictive model that can help organizations identify and prevent cyberattacks before they occur.

Title: “Assessing the usability of a mobile app for managing personal finances”

This study will assess the usability of a mobile app for managing personal finances. The research will involve conducting a usability test with a group of participants, evaluating the app’s ease of use, efficiency, and user satisfaction. The study aims to identify areas of the app that need improvement, and to provide recommendations for enhancing its usability and user experience.

Title : “Exploring the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress reduction among college students”

This study aims to investigate the impact of mindfulness meditation on reducing stress levels among college students. The research will involve a randomized controlled trial with two groups: a treatment group that receives mindfulness meditation training and a control group that receives no intervention. The study will examine changes in stress levels, as measured by self-report questionnaires, before and after the intervention.

Title: “Investigating the impact of social media on body image dissatisfaction among young adults”

This study will explore the relationship between social media use and body image dissatisfaction among young adults. The research will involve a cross-sectional survey of participants aged 18-25, assessing their social media use, body image perceptions, and self-esteem. The study aims to identify any correlations between social media use and body image dissatisfaction, and to determine if certain social media platforms or types of content are particularly harmful.

When to Write Scope of the Research

Here is a guide on When to Write the Scope of the Research:

  • Before starting your research project, it’s important to clearly define the scope of your study. This will help you stay focused on your research question and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information.
  • The scope of the research should be determined by the research question or problem statement. It should outline what you intend to investigate and what you will not be investigating.
  • The scope should also take into consideration any limitations of the study, such as time, resources, or access to data. This will help you realistically plan and execute your research.
  • Writing the scope of the research early in the research process can also help you refine your research question and identify any gaps in the existing literature that your study can address.
  • It’s important to revisit the scope of the research throughout the research process to ensure that you stay on track and make any necessary adjustments.
  • The scope of the research should be clearly communicated in the research proposal or study protocol to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the research objectives and limitations.
  • The scope of the research should also be reflected in the research design, methods, and analysis plan. This will ensure that the research is conducted in a systematic and rigorous manner that is aligned with the research objectives.
  • The scope of the research should be written in a clear and concise manner, using language that is accessible to all stakeholders, including those who may not be familiar with the research topic or methodology.
  • When writing the scope of the research, it’s important to be transparent about any assumptions or biases that may influence the research findings. This will help ensure that the research is conducted in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • The scope of the research should be reviewed and approved by the research supervisor, committee members, or other relevant stakeholders. This will ensure that the research is feasible, relevant, and contributes to the field of study.
  • Finally, the scope of the research should be clearly stated in the research report or dissertation to provide context for the research findings and conclusions. This will help readers understand the significance of the research and its contribution to the field of study.

Purpose of Scope of the Research

Purposes of Scope of the Research are as follows:

  • Defines the boundaries and extent of the study.
  • Determines the specific objectives and research questions to be addressed.
  • Provides direction and focus for the research.
  • Helps to identify the relevant theories, concepts, and variables to be studied.
  • Enables the researcher to select the appropriate research methodology and techniques.
  • Allows for the allocation of resources (time, money, personnel) to the research.
  • Establishes the criteria for the selection of the sample and data collection methods.
  • Facilitates the interpretation and generalization of the results.
  • Ensures the ethical considerations and constraints are addressed.
  • Provides a framework for the presentation and dissemination of the research findings.

Advantages of Scope of the Research

Here are some advantages of having a well-defined scope of research:

  • Provides clarity and focus: Defining the scope of research helps to provide clarity and focus to the study. This ensures that the research stays on track and does not deviate from its intended purpose.
  • Helps to manage resources: Knowing the scope of research allows researchers to allocate resources effectively. This includes managing time, budget, and personnel required to conduct the study.
  • Improves the quality of research: A well-defined scope of research helps to ensure that the study is designed to achieve specific objectives. This helps to improve the quality of the research by reducing the likelihood of errors or bias.
  • Facilitates communication: A clear scope of research enables researchers to communicate the goals and objectives of the study to stakeholders, such as funding agencies or participants. This facilitates understanding and enhances cooperation.
  • Enables replication : A well-defined scope of research makes it easier to replicate the study in the future. This allows other researchers to validate the findings and build upon them, leading to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Increases the relevance of research: Defining the scope of research helps to ensure that the study is relevant to the problem or issue being investigated. This increases the likelihood that the findings will be useful and applicable to real-world situations.
  • Reduces the risk of scope creep : Scope creep occurs when the research expands beyond the original scope, leading to an increase in the time, cost, and resources required to complete the study. A clear definition of the scope of research helps to reduce the risk of scope creep by establishing boundaries and limitations.
  • Enhances the credibility of research: A well-defined scope of research helps to enhance the credibility of the study by ensuring that it is designed to achieve specific objectives and answer specific research questions. This makes it easier for others to assess the validity and reliability of the study.
  • Provides a framework for decision-making : A clear scope of research provides a framework for decision-making throughout the research process. This includes decisions related to data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Scope of the Research Vs Scope of the Project

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How to Write the Rationale of the Study in Research (Examples)

objectives of the study in research sample

What is the Rationale of the Study?

The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the “purpose” or “justification” of a study. While this is not difficult to grasp in itself, you might wonder how the rationale of the study is different from your research question or from the statement of the problem of your study, and how it fits into the rest of your thesis or research paper. 

The rationale of the study links the background of the study to your specific research question and justifies the need for the latter on the basis of the former. In brief, you first provide and discuss existing data on the topic, and then you tell the reader, based on the background evidence you just presented, where you identified gaps or issues and why you think it is important to address those. The problem statement, lastly, is the formulation of the specific research question you choose to investigate, following logically from your rationale, and the approach you are planning to use to do that.

Table of Contents:

How to write a rationale for a research paper , how do you justify the need for a research study.

  • Study Rationale Example: Where Does It Go In Your Paper?

The basis for writing a research rationale is preliminary data or a clear description of an observation. If you are doing basic/theoretical research, then a literature review will help you identify gaps in current knowledge. In applied/practical research, you base your rationale on an existing issue with a certain process (e.g., vaccine proof registration) or practice (e.g., patient treatment) that is well documented and needs to be addressed. By presenting the reader with earlier evidence or observations, you can (and have to) convince them that you are not just repeating what other people have already done or said and that your ideas are not coming out of thin air. 

Once you have explained where you are coming from, you should justify the need for doing additional research–this is essentially the rationale of your study. Finally, when you have convinced the reader of the purpose of your work, you can end your introduction section with the statement of the problem of your research that contains clear aims and objectives and also briefly describes (and justifies) your methodological approach. 

When is the Rationale for Research Written?

The author can present the study rationale both before and after the research is conducted. 

  • Before conducting research : The study rationale is a central component of the research proposal . It represents the plan of your work, constructed before the study is actually executed.
  • Once research has been conducted : After the study is completed, the rationale is presented in a research article or  PhD dissertation  to explain why you focused on this specific research question. When writing the study rationale for this purpose, the author should link the rationale of the research to the aims and outcomes of the study.

What to Include in the Study Rationale

Although every study rationale is different and discusses different specific elements of a study’s method or approach, there are some elements that should be included to write a good rationale. Make sure to touch on the following:

  • A summary of conclusions from your review of the relevant literature
  • What is currently unknown (gaps in knowledge)
  • Inconclusive or contested results  from previous studies on the same or similar topic
  • The necessity to improve or build on previous research, such as to improve methodology or utilize newer techniques and/or technologies

There are different types of limitations that you can use to justify the need for your study. In applied/practical research, the justification for investigating something is always that an existing process/practice has a problem or is not satisfactory. Let’s say, for example, that people in a certain country/city/community commonly complain about hospital care on weekends (not enough staff, not enough attention, no decisions being made), but you looked into it and realized that nobody ever investigated whether these perceived problems are actually based on objective shortages/non-availabilities of care or whether the lower numbers of patients who are treated during weekends are commensurate with the provided services.

In this case, “lack of data” is your justification for digging deeper into the problem. Or, if it is obvious that there is a shortage of staff and provided services on weekends, you could decide to investigate which of the usual procedures are skipped during weekends as a result and what the negative consequences are. 

In basic/theoretical research, lack of knowledge is of course a common and accepted justification for additional research—but make sure that it is not your only motivation. “Nobody has ever done this” is only a convincing reason for a study if you explain to the reader why you think we should know more about this specific phenomenon. If there is earlier research but you think it has limitations, then those can usually be classified into “methodological”, “contextual”, and “conceptual” limitations. To identify such limitations, you can ask specific questions and let those questions guide you when you explain to the reader why your study was necessary:

Methodological limitations

  • Did earlier studies try but failed to measure/identify a specific phenomenon?
  • Was earlier research based on incorrect conceptualizations of variables?
  • Were earlier studies based on questionable operationalizations of key concepts?
  • Did earlier studies use questionable or inappropriate research designs?

Contextual limitations

  • Have recent changes in the studied problem made previous studies irrelevant?
  • Are you studying a new/particular context that previous findings do not apply to?

Conceptual limitations

  • Do previous findings only make sense within a specific framework or ideology?

Study Rationale Examples

Let’s look at an example from one of our earlier articles on the statement of the problem to clarify how your rationale fits into your introduction section. This is a very short introduction for a practical research study on the challenges of online learning. Your introduction might be much longer (especially the context/background section), and this example does not contain any sources (which you will have to provide for all claims you make and all earlier studies you cite)—but please pay attention to how the background presentation , rationale, and problem statement blend into each other in a logical way so that the reader can follow and has no reason to question your motivation or the foundation of your research.

Background presentation

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, most educational institutions around the world have transitioned to a fully online study model, at least during peak times of infections and social distancing measures. This transition has not been easy and even two years into the pandemic, problems with online teaching and studying persist (reference needed) . 

While the increasing gap between those with access to technology and equipment and those without access has been determined to be one of the main challenges (reference needed) , others claim that online learning offers more opportunities for many students by breaking down barriers of location and distance (reference needed) .  

Rationale of the study

Since teachers and students cannot wait for circumstances to go back to normal, the measures that schools and universities have implemented during the last two years, their advantages and disadvantages, and the impact of those measures on students’ progress, satisfaction, and well-being need to be understood so that improvements can be made and demographics that have been left behind can receive the support they need as soon as possible.

Statement of the problem

To identify what changes in the learning environment were considered the most challenging and how those changes relate to a variety of student outcome measures, we conducted surveys and interviews among teachers and students at ten institutions of higher education in four different major cities, two in the US (New York and Chicago), one in South Korea (Seoul), and one in the UK (London). Responses were analyzed with a focus on different student demographics and how they might have been affected differently by the current situation.

How long is a study rationale?

In a research article bound for journal publication, your rationale should not be longer than a few sentences (no longer than one brief paragraph). A  dissertation or thesis  usually allows for a longer description; depending on the length and nature of your document, this could be up to a couple of paragraphs in length. A completely novel or unconventional approach might warrant a longer and more detailed justification than an approach that slightly deviates from well-established methods and approaches.

Consider Using Professional Academic Editing Services

Now that you know how to write the rationale of the study for a research proposal or paper, you should make use of our free AI grammar checker , Wordvice AI, or receive professional academic proofreading services from Wordvice, including research paper editing services and manuscript editing services to polish your submitted research documents.

You can also find many more articles, for example on writing the other parts of your research paper , on choosing a title , or on making sure you understand and adhere to the author instructions before you submit to a journal, on the Wordvice academic resources pages.

BrightLink Prep

Sample Study/Research Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship

objectives of the study in research sample

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In statement of purpose.

With an admissions rate of less than 20%, even applicants with the most outstanding profiles and GRE test scores get rejected from the Fulbright program. What sets successful Fulbright applicants stand out are their unique experiences, achievements and their ability to bring a positive change towards the society in which they live. Hence this makes the Study/Research Objectives the most crucial element of your Fulbright application.

In this post, I am going to share with you the study/research objectives of a successful   Fulbright applicant — her goals, career aspirations, achievements, dreams, and challenges. But before I do that, do know that a study/research objective is all about answering two primary questions: “What you want to study” and “Why you want to study it?”.

Through these questions, you have to demonstrate that you are mature enough to make logical future goals and not mere impulsive ones. In your answers, Fulbright expects you to be specific by telling about your majors and field of interest and also by telling the exact program you want to pursue. Moreover, you have to explain how this degree is a natural fit and is aligned with your previous experiences and how will it help you achieve your future goals.

Writing a study objective is not JUST answering these questions one by one. It is about telling a good story that answers all of the above in a lucid and captivating manner. It’s not about dramatizing things – as if copying plots from Harry Potter. It’s about making sure to tie together answers to the above questions.

By the way, the exact question on study/research objectives is as follows:

Write a clear and detailed description of your study/research objectives, and give your reasons for wanting to pursue them. Be specific about your major field and your specialized interests within this field. Describe the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan fits in with your previous training and your future objectives. This statement is an essential part of your application and is required. Do not mention specific U.S. universities at which you would like to study.   (Please limit your response to 700-750 words.)

And the following study objective has answered this exact same question. Read on and get inspiration from this applicant.

Sample Study Research Objectives (SRO) for Fulbright Scholarship

My country, a nation created as the first home for the British-India Muslims almost six decades ago today, represents one of the world’s most troubling states on the brink of an economic catastrophe. Record levels of unemployment, unprecedented inflation rates, ever-increasing fiscal deficit, and looming energy crises; are just a few of the vices which have crippled my country at a macro level. Having nearly averted a balance of payments crisis back in 2008, with help from the International Monetary Fund, my country is again headed on a path of self-annihilation. Despite being rich in natural resources and self-sufficient in food production, our economic infrastructure is falling apart daily. So one is forced to ponder, but why? What makes us fail where others have succeeded? What makes us weak while others grow strong, but how do we make things right?

A childhood inquisition into finding an answer to these questions introduced me to economics. My first degree in the chosen subject gave me a well-rounded coverage of the discipline. It helped me develop an open-minded and scientific approach to problem-solving, including mathematical and statistical abilities. It imparted the necessary training to analyze and develop solutions for various micro and macroeconomic problems. With time, what started as a mere curiosity, slowly took the form of a passion: a desire to understand and decode and to learn how all the dots connect to form a complete picture.

After graduation, my induction into the Corporate Finance & Planning division at UCH Power, country’s second-largest independent power producer with a gross capacity of 586MW, allowed me to transition into the practical world. However, this in no way diminished my resolve to understand and evolve solutions for my country’s problems. My move to UCH culminated in my desire to under the grass root reality of the key issues plaguing the economy’s most wrecked sector: The Energy Sector. Electricity shortages have crippled the economy and have often led to violent protests in recent years. As a result, thousands of industrial units have been forced to shut down operations, affecting industrial output and the livelihoods of thousands of families. Furthermore, the country’s primary reliance on imported oil for power generation makes it vulnerable to volatility in international prices. To make matters worse, the electricity supply gap is projected to increase in the coming years, thereby imposing the need for significant investments in the power sector on a priority basis.

As an integral part of UCH’s Corporate Finance and Planning team, I have been primarily responsible for invoicing, research, reporting, and treasury functions. This affiliation has allowed me to interact with notable industry leaders, key government representatives, and distinguished members of the finance community. Furthermore, as part of a larger team, I have undertaken several projects to spread knowledge about the ills of energy sector and have learned and grown immensely. For instance, while working on numerous presentations and formulating economic reviews for our CEO, I have had the opportunity to educate myself on the lapses in our economic and energy planning system, which has marred our country brutally. Furthermore, participation in the recently held Annual Energy Conference, the biggest energy convention of the year, provided me with a formal platform to meet local and international stakeholders and policymakers to discuss and analyze key energy issues and their possible solutions. This has gone a long way in boosting my self-confidence while simultaneously providing me with the unique opportunity to hear the viewpoints of notable personalities within the energy sector. Therefore, despite being part of the corporate world, I have continued on my quest to seek answers to the questions that have plagued my inquisitive mind since my freshman days at college.

Having spent the last two years as part of the worst-hit sector, I have come to the grim conclusion that our problem is not one of resource shortage but one of grave resource mismanagement. Policymakers in my country have failed to foresee and plan for the growing energy demand. Despite being blessed with numerous geographical locations ideally suited for the construction of hydroelectric dams, our country’s reliance on imported oil for power generation grows by the year. Renewable energy remains a relatively unexplored concept. To make matters worse, even in the face of certain disasters, our policymakers have failed to devise a viable plan to put our country back on the path to recovery. Having said so, my choices are now clear: to be a silent observer and see my country torn apart or become part of the system and change it from within. I choose the latter.

However, despite such a productive work experience, I recognize the need for an advanced degree in the discipline if I seek to be truly effective in achieving my future goals. A master’s degree which can equip me with the skills required to effectively design and implement an economic policy with a strong emphasis on the economic problems of developing and transition economies will go far in helping me achieve my career goals upon my return to my homeland. Furthermore, I firmly believe that by pursuing a master’s degree in economic/public policy from a reputable graduate school, I will have the opportunity to truly understand and appreciate the competing interests and views surrounding a variety of complex issues about the sector’s policy framework, investment regime, institutions, and energy security.

Upon my return, I would like to seek employment with USAID, ADB, World Bank, or any of the other international development aid organizations as part of their project planning and mobilization team. Having previously been part of the team responsible for the planning and development of UCH II, a 404MW capacity expansion project for UCH Power, I will be uniquely placed to take advantage of the previously gained insight into the energy sector to ensure proper planning and utilization of development grants and loans. This will also allow me to put my newly acquired knowledge to practical use by working with national and international policymakers to correct the inherent flaws in our national planning process.

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  1. Thesis Objectives Of The Study Sample

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  2. 10 Easy Steps: How to Write Objectives in Research for Maximum Results

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  3. 20+ research objectives examples

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  1. What is research

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    Research proposal examples. Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management".

  13. What Is a Research Design

    A research design is a strategy for answering your research question using empirical data. Creating a research design means making decisions about: Your overall research objectives and approach. Whether you'll rely on primary research or secondary research. Your sampling methods or criteria for selecting subjects. Your data collection methods.

  14. Purpose Statement

    The purpose statement succinctly explains (on no more than 1 page) the objectives of the research study. These objectives must directly address the problem and help close the stated gap. Expressed as a formula: Good purpose statements: Flow from the problem statement and actually address the proposed problem; Are concise and clear

  15. Formulating Research Aims and Objectives

    Formulating research aim and objectives in an appropriate manner is one of the most important aspects of your thesis. This is because research aim and objectives determine the scope, depth and the overall direction of the research. Research question is the central question of the study that has to be answered on the basis of research findings.

  16. Objectives of Research

    An in-depth analysis of information creates space for generating new questions, concepts and understandings. The main objective of research is to explore the unknown and unlock new possibilities. It's an essential component of success. Over the years, businesses have started emphasizing the need for research.

  17. Research Objectives: Definition and How To Write Them

    Here are three simple steps that you can follow to identify and write your research objectives: 1. Pinpoint the major focus of your research. The first step to writing your research objectives is to pinpoint the major focus of your research project. In this step, make sure to clearly describe what you aim to achieve through your research.

  18. Research questions, hypotheses and objectives

    The development of the research question, including a supportive hypothesis and objectives, is a necessary key step in producing clinically relevant results to be used in evidence-based practice. A well-defined and specific research question is more likely to help guide us in making decisions about study design and population and subsequently ...

  19. How to Write a Qualitative Research Objective

    You don't want to be too deep into your research plan before realizing the set of participants you recruited aren't the right people for answering the questions you want to answer with your research. I highly recommend writing your qualitative research objective first, and socializing it before beginning any study. Here's a quick guide:

  20. Background of The Study

    Example 1: "There has been a significant increase in the incidence of diabetes in recent years. This has led to an increased demand for effective diabetes management strategies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a new diabetes management program in improving patient outcomes.".

  21. Scope of the Research

    Scope of research refers to the range of topics, areas, and subjects that a research project intends to cover. It is the extent and limitations of the study, defining what is included and excluded in the research. The scope of a research project depends on various factors, such as the research questions, objectives, methodology, and available ...

  22. How to Write the Rationale of the Study in Research (Examples)

    The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the "purpose" or "justification" of a study.

  23. Sample Study/Research Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship

    Sample Study Research Objectives (SRO) for Fulbright Scholarship. My country, a nation created as the first home for the British-India Muslims almost six decades ago today, represents one of the world's most troubling states on the brink of an economic catastrophe. Record levels of unemployment, unprecedented inflation rates, ever-increasing ...