Identifying Research Objectives

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Identifying your research objectives

In the previous section you have defined your research problem and research questions. In this section we build further on this by thinking about your research goals. We are going to help you to make your research objectives explicit and concrete so they are connected to your research problem. You will notice that these concrete goals will also help to demarcate your research area: What are you going to do and what are you not going to do?

In this section (based on Varkevisser, Pathmanathan & Brownlee, 2003) you will find more information about the following:

What are research objectives?
Why should research objectives be developed?
How should you state your objectives?
Where do I localize the objectives in my thesis?
Worksheet 1.4

What are research objectives?

The objectives of a research project summarize what is to be achieved by the study. These objectives should be closely related to the research problem.

The general objective of a study states what researchers expect to achieve by the study in general terms. It is possible (and advisable) to break down a general objective into smaller, logically connected parts. These are normally referred to as specific objectives. Specific objectives should systematically address the various research questions. They should specify what you will do in your study, where and for what purpose.

Here you can find some examples of research objectives.

Aquaculture Agriculture Business Education

Why should research objectives be developed?

The formulation of objectives will help you to:

Focus the study (narrowing it down to essentials);
Avoid the collection of data which are not strictly necessary for understanding and solving the problem you have identified; Organize the study in clearly defined parts or phases.
Properly formulated, specific objectives will facilitate the development of your research methodology and will help...
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