Aims, Objectives and Outcomes

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  • The aim refers to what you want to achieve, state in one sentence
    • The aim of this research proposal is to …
    • The aim of this research project is to …..
    • To explore…
  • Always number your objective, outcomes and success criteria
  • The objective is how you are going to achieve it
  • The deliverables are objects which you will produce along the way
  • These are not hypotheses and are often used as key components within the action plan
  • The outcomes (or success criteria) are what the artefact will allow us to achieve:
    • Increase in processing speed will give a quicker response time
    • A load balance across multiple nodes will reduce the risk of server crashing
  • Some universities and students like to divide the objectives into different groups, but this is dependent on your report as you may not have business objectives.
    • Report objectives
    • Personal objectives
    • Technical objectives
    • Business objectives
  • They can be highlighted in a table, written in bullet points or within-text
  • I have highlighted two of the most common approaches below
    • Ask your supervisor which method they require\ want

 

Computer Science tend to prefer this approach 

  • Aim
    • The aim of this research project is to explore the relationship between customers and website interaction leading to a confirmed sale
  • Objectives
    1. To investigate (alternative solution or software)
    2. To design (an artefact to overcome problem)
    3. To explore (potential software requirements)
    4. To examine (how users interact with the software)
    5. To compare (performance or features)
    6. To document (the system using technical drawings)
  • Deliverables
    1. Write (a literature review on ‘topic’)
    2. Create (a project plan in the form of a Gantt chart)
    3. Produce (design documentation)
    4. Manufacture (a prototype of the ‘software’)
    5. Test (the function of the prototype)
    6. Demonstrate (the ‘software’ solving the problem)
    7. See deliverables
  • Outcome (Success Criteria)
    1. The number of website sales will increase, identified through sales comparison
    2. Promotions and reminders (call to action) will lead to website sales, identified through web metrics
    3. The speed to find an item will increase (time to target), identified through web metrics
    4. Customer satisfaction level will increase, identified through web metrics

 

Social Sciences tend to prefer this approach

No Aim Objective   Measure or Outcome
1 (I want) to explore the relationship between the teaching assistants estimation of students level of engagement and disruption during the course of a lesson 1) I will achieve this by using the captured data from the teaching assistant ratings to plot a line graph to identify the relationship between the students level of engagement and disruption during the course of a lesson 1) The line graph will show that has the students level of engagement increases the level of disruption decreases
2 (I want) to explore the relationship between the teaching assistants estimation of student targets success along with levels of engagement and disruption 2) I will achieve this by using the captured data from the teaching assistant ratings to plot a line graph to identify the relationship between the students level of engagement and disruption and target success during the course of a lesson 2) The line graph will show that has the students level of engagement increases their target success will also increase but their level of disruption will decrease
3 (I want) to compare the teaching assistant rating values with that of the teacher when assessing the students targets success along with levels of engagement and disruption 3) I will achieve this by using the captured data from teachers and teaching assistants  a line graph will be plotted to show any divergence relationship between the teacher and teaching assistants ratings. 3) The line graph will show that the teaching assistant ratings for engagement, disruption and target success will reflect that of the teacher

 

Statement of The Problem

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  • The statement of the problem is often smaller than the introduction
  • The statement of the problem gives the reader a clear understanding of the problem and which method/ approach you are going to use to investigate the problem
  • Research which you highlight needs to be specific to your research question\ problem and your intended approach

Writing Frame:

  • Part 1 – (You)
    • State what the problem is (and how it impacts on user or process)
    • State which method you are going to use to investigate the problem
    • State why you will use this method or approach
  • Part 2 – Other People
    • Researcher 1
      • State which methods (approaches) they used to investigate the problem
      • State what their result showed
      • State some key influencing factors or issues with report
    • Researcher 2
      • State which methods (approaches) they used to investigate the problem
      • State what their result showed
      • State some key influencing factors or issues with report
    • Researcher 3
      • State which methods (approaches) they used to investigate the problem
      • State  what their result showed
      • State some key influencing factors or issues with report

Introduction

Depending on the report size (word count) the introduction is likely to be approximately six paragraphs or a couple of hundred words where you will ‘set the scene.’  You do this by highlighting key events which led to the current status\ position.  The introduction is about highlighting key findings by others which supports your project\ problem.

  • Setting the scene,
    • How did we get here
    • Major events which relate to your project\ problem only
    • Two or three paragraphs
  • Background
    • What is it like now
    • How will your project support or move this forward
    • Three or four paragraphs

The Abstract

The abstract gives the reader a clear understanding of the article without having to read the full journal article.  Typically, it is short in length, two or three small paragraphs and is often written as you go or as part of a project proposal.  Here are two simple frameworks which I have come across here and here:

Framework One

  • Purpose
    • State what you are investigating and why
  • Design\methodology\approach
    • State what type of experiment you are using
    • State your population and sample
    • State how you will identify a difference or relationship (prove your hypothesis)
    • State your independent variable(s)
  • Findings\results
    • State the main findings/ conclusions
  • Originality\value
    • State any key recommendations
    • State any significant influencing factors

Framework Two

  • Background
  • Method
  • Results
  • Limitations
  • Conclusions