In determining the success of your research project, it is crucial to understand your research objectives and aim. However, it is, unfortunately, an aspect that many students struggle with, resulting in poor performance. As a result of their importance, if you suspect even the slightest possibility that you belong to this group of students, we strongly recommend that you read this article in its entirety.
In this article, we describe what research aim and objectives are, what distinguishes them from each other, and how to write them correctly.
What is Research Aim?
Research aims describe the purpose or main goal of a project. It help your reader to understand the focus of your research and gives them an idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Research aims are found in their own subsection under the introduction section of all research documents, regardless of whether they are dissertations or research papers.
In most situations, a research aim is expressed as a broad statement of the main goal of the study and doesn’t need to be more than one sentence. The exact format of the outline will vary depending on your preference, but it should all explain the purpose (context), your objective (the actual aim), and how you plan to accomplish it (highlights of your objectives).
What are Research Objectives?
Research aim defines what your study is going to answer, but research objectives outline how it’s going to answer it.
Those objectives break down each component of your research project into smaller portions, each representing a key section of it. Thus, almost all dissertations and theses are organized into numbered lists, with each item getting its own chapter.
Understanding the difference between research objectives and aim
The above explanation should make clear the difference between aim and objectives, but to clarify:
- Aim focus on what a project proposes to achieve; objectives focus on how the project will achieve its goal.
- The research objectives are more specific than the research aims.
- Objectives focus on the short-term and immediate outcomes of a project while aim focus on its long-term outcomes.
- It would be best to write an objective as a numbered list; research aim can be written in one sentence or short paragraph.
How to Write the Aim and Objectives of Research?
It is important to note that there is no definitive way to write clear objectives and aim for research. Researchers typically formulate their goals and objectives in so many different ways, and your supervisor may often influence the formulation based on their preferences.
Nevertheless, there are a few basic principles you should observe to ensure good practice; these principles are listed below.
The aim should include three parts, which address the following questions:
- Why is this research necessary?
- What is the purpose of this study?
- How will you accomplish it?
It is easier to accomplish writing your research aim by addressing each question using its own sentence, although you can combine sentences for each or write multiple sentences for each question, the important thing is to address each one individually.
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.
Each of your research objectives should have the following:
- Specific: Is the action you intend to take unclear, or is it focused and well-defined?
- Assessable: What method will you use to measure your progress and determine when you have accomplished your goal?
- Obtainable: Do you have the necessary support, resources, and facilities to execute the project?
- Relevant: Does the action you propose support the achievement of your research aim?
- Timebound: Are you realistically able to complete the action within the given timeframe?
Properly formulating the aims and objectives of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper is an integral part of its success. Your goals and objectives will determine what your research ultimately looks like in terms of scope, depth, and direction. You will gain clarity in your research and in the minds of your readers if you establish clear aims and objectives, with your aim stating what you wish to achieve, and your objectives indicating how you will do that. Moreover, you will have a clearer direction for your research if you take the time to establish your research objective and aim. This will lead to fewer future issues, but also to a more thorough and cohesive research project.