HOW TO WRITE PROJECT
Being a regular customer to your project supervisor is something now common among many Nigerian final year students. Believe it or leave it! Some students can meet their project supervisors up to 15 times before they scale through chapter one. If you are having headache convincing your supervisor to approve your chapter one or proposal, then this article is for you. You are welcome to my first part of ‘Discover what your supervisor is looking for in your project work’. This phase of a research work is the most important if you ask me. Why? Because this is the foundation in which all research designs, findings, measurement instruments will depend on. For instance your ability to link the background of the study with your problem statement will go a long way in helping you to develop good objectives and research questions to guide the entire study. So you now see why this research phase is so important? To improve upon your project proposal or chapter one.
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Depending on the school's format, the first section of a typical proposal or chapter one is introduction. Most universities and polytechnics will allow students to start with background of the study. For easy understanding, I will group them together. The introduction/background of the study section allows readers to know a bit about the subject matter and the problem in a wider range. Here students’ ability to effectively bring out the central theme of the study is highly rewarded. Before embarking on most research work, there is usually a problem. Your ability to recount the problem in a concise and detailed manner will earn you your first mark in your introductory chapter.
For easy understanding, if you are writing on ‘the effect of ASUU strike actions on academic performance of Undergraduates in Nigerian Universities’ you should be able to recount various ASUU strike actions that has occurred in Nigeria, and implications on students’ academic performances thereafter. For the introductory part, you can start by defining ‘strike’ by one or two authors. After introducing the subject matter or variables/keywords, you start recounting the background of the problem under study.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This is arguably the most important section of the introductory chapter of every project. Your ability to formulate a good background of the study will enable you to write a good problem statement. A problem statement is a summary of the background of the study. While the background of study talks more about the problem on a wider and detailed perspective, the problem statement is a brief summary of the problem.
A good statement of the problem must be concise, factual and relates with the background of the study. It should be brief enough to state the problem in a single line, then supported by previous research work(s) both empirical and theoretical.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
In simple terms objectives of a study is like the ‘map’ for the study. Based on the problem(s) being investigated, students should be able to develop the aims for the study as well as specific objectives to be achieved. Just like the ‘SMART’ analysis, your objectives must be specific to addressing your research problems, it must be measurable (research questions and hypothesis should be able to be formulated out of it), it must be accurate, realistic and timely.
Just like research objectives, your research questions give more insight into how the objectives of the study can be achieved. Students must know that research questions correspond with research objectives. It must be relevant enough to provide answers to problems being investigated by the researcher. It must be good enough to achieve the objectives of the study. Your research questions should be open to answers other than ‘yes/no’. Avoid questions beginning with ‘do/does’ or ‘Are/is’. For example, do not ask research questions like ‘Does ASUU strike affects students’ academic performance?
Hypotheses are tentative statements about a phenomenon. They are more like assumptions to be tested and proved. Hypothesis formulated must be relevant to the problem under study and it should relate with both research objectives and questions of the study.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Students must justify the need for the study and how it will contribute to the society, the body of knowledge if successfully carried out.
To get good marks here, your study should be useful :
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Ability of the student to delimit the study to a manageable limit is rewarded here. Students should explain the boundaries of the study as well as describe the aspect of the problem covered. For example, using our topic ‘the effect of ASUU strike actions on the academic performance of Undergraduates’, one can delimit it to a particular university or selected universities under study.
N/B: Scope could be managed in terms of geographical area, Time or period, research designs etc.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Ability of students to develop both conceptual and operational definitions of terms is rewarded. Students should evaluate the study carefully; define acronyms, keywords and variables in the study.
Additional marks will be added if:
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