|Formulating Aims and Objectives|
Now that you have selected your research topic, the next stage is to begin designing and planning your research project. The primary focus of your research project is usually expressed in terms of an aim and objectives.
What are Aims & Objectives?
An aim is a general statement, which reflects the intention or purpose of your chosen area of research. Whilst an objective is a specific statement relating to the defined goal / aim of your research. It is not uncommon to have more than one objective to satisfy your research aim.
In simple terms the aim and objectives are interrelated. The aim is what you want to achieve, and the objective describes how you are going to achieve that aim.
Formulating Aims & Objectives
The aim of your research should reflect the aspirations and expectations of the research topic. Several examples of an aim are shown below:
In essence the aim 'paints the picture' of your research proposal. Once the aim has been established, the next task is to formulate the objectives.
Objectives can be placed into one of three broad classifications*, knowledge, skill or attitudinal. Examples of all three types can be found below:
*Sub-divisions of each type do exist (Bloom 1991)
In each of the given examples (see e.g. 1,2 & 3 above), the objectives can determine the appropriate methodology to be used, that is:
e.g. 1 Cost-analysis
You must remember objectives have to fulfil
It is also useful to note, that the development of a realistic time schedule may help to prioritise your objectives and help to minimise wasted time and effort.
Aims & Objectives within the Research Proposal
The Aim should be presented in the first paragraph of the research proposal. It should be clear yet succinct whilst reflecting the purpose of your chosen area of research.
Within the format of the research proposal, objectives are normally written directly under the aim. If several objectives exist they are usually numbered so that each objective reads as an 'individual' statement to convey your intentions.
It is important to write both the Aim and Objectives clearly and precisely as this helps to reflect your level of understanding with regards to the research topic. In addition, the clarity of your aim and objectives will allow the reader to ascertain:
Once your Aim and Objectives have been formulated to meet the requirements of your research question, they will provide a sound structure for the development of your Research Proposal.
For further reading please refer to the following titles: