This piece was prepared with undergraduates, postgraduate students and other undergrads in mind, with the intention of enlightening them on the significance and essence of research, proposal, and project writing. Writing a successful proposal or project requires an in-depth understanding of the research process. Thus, it is impossible to have a handle on proposal and project concepts without first knowing what the phrase research means. Therefore, before discussing project or proposal writing, a firm grasp and comprehension of what research is required.
The French term “rechercher,” meaning “to hunt for again,” is the root of the English word “research.” It combines the French words for “again” (re) and “to search for” (chercher).
It follows that prior to beginning a search, one must have some level of knowledge about what is being sought, as well as the location(s) and methods(s) for conducting the search. But it’s possible that the researcher may fail for one reason or another, so he begins yet another quest. In other words, he initiates a fresh search for information on the variables; so, the phrase “research” simply means seeking for things again in other various areas; exerting new efforts; and without assuming anything. The term “research” refers to a methodology of gathering information or posing questions that follows a certain set of rules.
Research can be defined in a broader sense as the systematic, objective analysis and recording of controlled observations that may lead to the development of generalizations, principles, theories, which may lead to the prediction and ultimate control of many events that may be the consequences or causes of precise activities.
Therefore, a senior-year undergraduate must have a thorough understanding of the scientific method, which is founded on scientific inquiry and requires that all accessible data be evaluated or explored according to a predetermined set of principles. There is a course in most Nigerian universities’ 200-level curriculum called “scientific research procedures,” and it is designed to educate undergraduate students how to draft research proposals.
Students’ writing projects should focus on issue identification, purpose declaration, data collection and analysis, and conclusion drawing. In other words, this is a method for figuring out how to solve issues. Therefore, this should be seen as a strategy for locating and collecting useful data, with the end goal of answering legitimate questions that naturally arise throughout the research process. The purpose of this is to facilitate effective investigations into existing issues and the prediction of future occurrences.
Scientific methods are used in research because the goal is to learn as much as possible about a topic as quickly and effectively as possible. The following may be seen as the central concept of doing research, which emerges from the numerous explanations given above.
- i) An effective and regular procedure.
- ii) The presence and correct characterization of a research topic that has to be examined.
iii) Gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data pertinent to resolving research issues.
- iv) Drawing sweeping conclusions from the findings to facilitate more effective future management of comparable events.
From these definitions of research, we may deduce the following aspects of normal research project writing:
One, most research projects start with an issue in mind, which they then aim to address or provide answers for. It’s common knowledge that there can’t be a research endeavor if there isn’t anything to investigate.
That it is expected that the findings of a typical project would contribute to the development of generalizations, principles, and theories that, when applied to other comparable settings in the future, might create the same consequences. That is to say, the problem-solving procedures should be repeatable and consistent in their outcomes over a wide range of local variables.
Third, the means by which the study is conducted must be crucial, be as systematic and useful as feasible, and include the gathering of substantial data.
The research plan, also known as the design or technique, serves as the guiding principle for the study measures necessary to attain the goals in (d) and (e) above.
Fifthly, the study’s findings should provide something new and significant to the development of knowledge in the subject. As a result, the goal of each study should be to push the bounds of what we already know.
HOW A RESEARCH PROJECT IS CARRIED OUT
Research methods have evolved into a more scientific procedure. Because of their objective, scientific nature, research programs now take a data-driven, methodical approach to addressing problems, rather than leaving outcomes to chance. Thus, this scientific/practical method of doing research involves clearly defined stages that are strikingly comparable to those of a research project as described above.
Included in these methods are: –
While it is anticipated that the research topic would be grounded in real-world situations, it is equally important to emphasize that not all issues arising in the actual world are amenable to academic investigation. Both of these factors need to be taken into account.
An Explicit and Concise Statement of the Research Problem: – It’s one thing to be able to identify researchable problems, thus this is obviously crucial. To be able to put same down extremely accurately, simply, and clearly is something else else. Unless the issue is affirmed in such a way as to be precise, to the point, and clear, further investigation into it will be impossible.
Formulating Important Research Questions and/or Valid Research Hypotheses: – Be aware of the difference between a research question and a research hypothesis. A research hypothesis is a statement that may be tested using scientific methodology due to its specificity and its assumed veracity or applicability. As a sort of statement, it announces the speaker’s expectation on the topic at hand, with the intention of helping to dispel any confusion that may have arisen. On the other hand, a research question is a set of well-thought-out inquiries posed by the researcher once the issue has been clearly stated. The research questions are framed such that once solutions are proposed, the research issues at hand are solved. Thus, the questions on the research questionnaire, also known as “questionnaire items,” are developed based on the research question. While some research projects, particularly at the highly complicated stage, need both hypotheses and research questions, others may just need one or the other depending on the circumstances.
Fourth, assemble all the information you’ll need for your study by: – The scientific approach requires data compilation on the topic of study because of its empirical character. Tools including questionnaires, in-person/direct observation, in-depth interviews, and archival materials are often utilized in the process of data collection. The instruments are designed to elicit specific information from participants that will be useful in answering the research questions and/or generating empirical evidence to support the hypotheses. Respondents are the individuals (or groups of individuals) from whom a researcher hopes to glean information relevant to his study. This might be a specific set of people at a certain moment, such as pupils in a particular class or classes, teachers in elementary and secondary schools, farmers, technicians, medical professionals, patients, engineers, market ladies, etc.
5: Presenting and Discussing Analyses and Data Gathered – Since the researcher’s primary focus will be on collecting raw data from the study area, it is customary to give the raw data first, followed by debates and analyses.
There is a plethora of methods for achieving this goal, including: –
- The nature of the study being undertaken
- The kinds of devices used for its data collection; and
iii. Information collected at the study’s conclusion
Despite this, it’s worth noting that data is commonly presented in tabular form and via diagrammatic representation in the form of charts, histograms, and frequency tables. Different but crucial mathematical approaches are used to test hypotheses and are offered here for debates and interpretations.
Extrapolating Study-Based Insights, Conclusions, and Suggestions – Here, the numerous things are spoken about, and its contribution(s) to knowledge are made obvious and visible. That’s what the inferences, conclusions, and suggestions are supposed to accomplish, and it’s also where the broad strokes, theoretical frameworks, and guiding principles would be pulled from. With the goal of furthering the current circumstances, this document assigns duties to stakeholders.
When Considering a Research Project, Why Do We Need It?
A simple inquiry about the scope of a research endeavor or proposal, “Why Research Project?” To provide a satisfactory response, however, we must first take a cursory look at the problems that predated the very concept of research. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there will always be new information to learn and uncover in this globe.
Man was designed to be inquisitive and interested, so that he can learn from his experiences and eventually master the challenges he faces in his surroundings. He was insatiably curious and always looking for clarification on life’s unanswered mysteries. Man was constantly confronted with this predicament, therefore he had to actively seek out solutions to a broad variety of “unknowns” in order to ensure his own existence.
Despite the fact that mankind has always been in a state of perpetual questioning, it is surprising to learn that the methods he has historically used have been so crude and haphazard. Only with the development of science did things start looking up, according to this theory. Because of scientific advancements, there are now established norms and practices for conducting this kind of study that are generally regarded by the scientific community as valid.
That’s the “scientific method,” as it’s often known. Thus, the value of research to people in their personal and professional life as well as to corporations and governments in a society cannot be overstated.
In today’s world, research is regarded as one of the most useful resources for: –
- a) Pushing the Boundaries of Knowledge: – Research projects are undertaken with the expectation that their outcomes will add something new, however little, to the body of knowledge in their respective fields. This kind of contribution will help push the limits of what is known in that area even farther. The vast majority of man’s discoveries and advances, and notably those of scientists, are the direct results of extensive investigation.
(b) When it comes to fostering social progress, – This is connected to the previous point since solving societal, political, and economic problems through research findings is the primary means by which civilization advances. Such implementations make human civilization a more desirable place to live. When compared to the generations before us, this has had a profound effect on the state of the world we live in now. Computers and the World Wide Web are only two examples of research products.
- d) Facilitating Human Interaction with Nature: – Because of the intricate nature of man’s environment, he has little choice but to mold it to his will if he is to survive; the fruits of his labor in the form of scientific inquiry have enabled him to not only gain a deeper understanding of his environment but also to subjugate it to his will by means of conquest. As a result of his conquests, man has shown that he can exert influence on events both nearby and far away.
The globe has shrunk to the size of a normal hamlet because to advances in telecommunications and computing, both of which are the outcomes of extensive study.
(c) Facilitating Man’s Achievable Goals: – It goes without saying that the lives of people and communities today are vastly improved as compared to those of previous generations as a direct consequence of the exponential advancements discussed above. This is due to the fact that the social, economic, and political benefits gained by the populace as a result of research are substantial. Achieving one’s personal goals becomes much simpler, making life more meaningful and satisfying for the vast majority of people.
(d) Assisting Man in Working Out His Differences: – It is a well-established reality that man is perpetually at odds with himself, his neighbors, and his environment. This is because the information he needs is so much more extensive than the information he currently has. By dedicating himself consistently to this investigation, he has a good chance of discovering solutions to his various difficulties and, in turn, resolving his conflicts.
What makes writing a project different from researching a topic?
A project is a proposed or potential activity; a well planned out endeavor. Another definition of a research project is a series of assignments given to a group of schoolchildren during which standard curriculum is presented with unusual emphasis on one or more selected themes and the children are encouraged to conduct their own independent research in support of classroom instruction.
However, writing is the act of putting together words in a logical arrangement that the writer has carefully selected so that the reader may understand what the writer intends simply and concisely. Common writing abilities include: –
(i). Method Selection I
(ii). The use of proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization
(iii) Making sure the paragraphs, headings, and subheadings all make sense.
(iv) Conducting thorough and accurate edits and revisions to the text.
From what has been said, it is clear that project writing and research points are essentially the same thing with a few minor distinctions. Both mean doing an inquiry, although research is more often associated with a more refined kind of inquiry. For instance, research conducted at the graduate and doctoral levels typically receives the most attention.
However, the phrase “project-writing” is more often associated with the undergraduate level and refers to lengthy essays that must be completed under the supervision of an instructor, bound, and presented to the research department as part of the candidate’s degree or certificate requirements. A student in a polytechnic, college of education, or university is unlikely to graduate without completing a project work, therefore this is a familiar notion to them.
It follows that research is the most refined version of the project writing process. Not only is it more challenging than project writing, but it also requires a higher level of sophistication and expertise, as well as the heavy involvement of professionals. While project writing is an example of research, the more advanced forms of project writing are what are typically meant when the term “research” is used. Words like “project,” “thesis,” and “dissertation” have been coined to help differentiate between these two types of research works and to indicate the depth of investigation involved in each.
Though it’s true that all three names may be used interchangeably, the usage of thesis or dissertation is more acceptable for graduate-level research than it is for undergraduate project writing. In contrast to a project, which need not be defended at all, a thesis or dissertation will go through many defenses, allowing for the incorporation of feedback from a wide range of subject-matter experts. As a result, the quality of research works is noticeably greater than that of project writing.
However, for obvious reasons, this article is aimed primarily at those who are in the category of project writers. There are already many texts that meet the needs of the more advanced research community, so this can only serve as a sample to them. The primary objective is to break down the complicated topic of conducting research, particularly in terms of practical methods. The purpose of this is to encourage students to pursue a more thorough grasp of the topic thereafter.