How to develop an Objective of Research Study

An essential feature of good research work is the availability of meaningful and unambiguous Objective of Research Study. A well-structured research objective provides direction and focuses on the study.

Thus, it ensures that the end product (findings) of the research would be relevant and aligned to attain the general objective of the research study.

Writing a measurable research objective gives your work an edge over other research works done on topics which are similar to yours. While writing the research objectives, the researcher should entertain such questions as;

  • Why am I embarking on this research?
  • What do I plan to achieve at the end of this research study

The answers to these questions would provide the researcher with some clues on how to frame good research objectives. However, a good research objective should technically capture the research problems in short and concise sentences.  When writing your research objectives, ensure to:

  1. Adopt the use of actionable verbs (Ascertain, determine, understand, analyse, appraise, define, diagnose, explore, identify, investigate, observe, assess, highlight, constrain, control, govern, influence, limit, maintain, prohibit, regulate, attest, contend, demonstrate, document, indicate, reveal, elaborate, establish, propose among others)
  2. Use words that are direct  enough  to be measured (Avoid verbs like – “to know” as it’s difficult to measure the extent of knowing)
  3. Your research objectives should be aligned with the research problems.
  4. The research objectives should be within the geographical scope of the study. Let us say that a researcher is working on “Factors influencing prostitution among female undergraduate students of Delta State University”. Ideally, the research objectives should be centred on the various factors such as poverty, home training, exposure to sex education, peer influence and other possible factors which could be responsible for the status quo among the said population. It is therefore absurd for the research objectives of the topic mentioned above to shift its focus from its content and geographical scope, for example, instead of the researcher focusing on female undergraduate students in Delta State University, to female undergraduate students in other higher institutions in Nigeria.
  5. Your research objectives should also be within the content scope, as reflected in your research topic. Say, for instance, your researcher is anchored on ascertaining the effect of poor nutrition during pregnancy on maternal/infant health. It is therefore expected that your research objectives should be directed towards ascertaining the health implications of poor nutrition during pregnancy on both the mother and child. It is out of context, therefore for the researcher to frame such research objectives as “to ascertain the effect of Hiv/Aids on maternal/infant health. The reason is that Hiv/Aids is not a disease caused by poor nutrition. However, it could be integrated into the literature reviews as a hindrance to optimal maternal/infant health.
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You must avoid making such mistakes because such mistakes prove to your readers that you do not know the nitty-gritty of your research topic.

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