Developing research questions or aims and objectives
Start with a broad topic area and try to conceive of particular issues that seem interesting.
Are there familiar practical or theoretical problems in your field?
1. Consider one or two areas or topics that interests you, e.g.
1. Strategy processes in high tech industries
2. appraisal systems
3. Sustainability issues
2. Within the topic area identify ideas or issues you might explore in detail
1. Whether strategy makes any difference to company success
2. Women’s experience of appraisal systems
3. Embedding sustainability in strategy
4. Impact assessment of ‘whatever’
3. Identify practical or theoretical problems
1. There is not clear agreement that strategy makes a difference
2. The 'glass ceiling' effect in promotion/advancement
4. What questions arise from personal experience, current debates, or from
reading the research literature.
1. To what extent is company strategy responsible for success ?
2. do women feel that the glass ceiling effect is embedded in appraisal
Frame your research topic as either questions, or an aim and objectives
Assess the extent to which strategy in the global ICT industry makes any difference
to business success
1. Assess the contribution of competitor analysis to strategy success
2. Evaluate the influence of business leaders’ in driving strategy processes
3. Assess the extent to which the everyday practice of strategy versus formal
statements and plans influence business success.
4. Assess the influence of organisational structure, reward systems, and
culture in shaping the practice of strategy.
Aim and Objectives
1. are broad statements of desired outcomes, or the general intentions of the research,
which focus your research proposal.
2. emphasize what is to be accomplished, not how it is to be accomplished.
3. identify the scope of the project outcomes.
4. should reflect the aspirations and expectations of the research topic.
Once aims have been established, the next task is to formulate the objectives. Generally, a
project should have no more than two or three aims statements, while it may include a
number of objectives consistent with them.
1. are the steps you are going to take to answer your research questions or a specific
list of tasks needed to accomplish the goals of the project
2. emphasize how aims are to be accomplished
3. must be highly focused and feasible
4. address the more immediate project outcomes
5. make accurate use of concepts and be sensible and precisely described
6. are usually numbered so that each objective reads as an 'individual' statement to
convey your intentions
Aims and Objectives should not:
1. be too vague, ambitious or broad in scope; aims are often over-optimistic of what
the project can achieve.
2. just repeat each other in different terms
3. just be a list of things related to your research topic
4. spend time discussing details of your job or research site i.e.:
1. In the Conclusions of your project report you will need to assess whether or not you
have met your objectives and if not, why not.
2. you may not meet your aims in full. Your research may reveal that your questions
were inappropriate, that there are intervening variables you could not account for,
or the circumstances of the study have changed. Whatever the case, your
Conclusions should reflect on how well the research design has contributed to
addressing your aim and objectives.
Example research questions
1. Does X have a positive or negative impact on job satisfaction?
2. Does job satisfaction vary by level in the organization?
3. Explore the extent to which technological innovations disrupt traditional methods of
working in firms?
4. Do workers try to resist new ideas and if so how far are they successful?
5. Does X lead to empowerment or disempowerment?
6. Does the way that innovations [technical or administrative] are introduced have an
influence on the nature of its impact on: strategy process, job satisfaction, other?
Descriptive research is used to answer descriptive research questions: What is happening?
How is something happening? Why is something happening?
What is the average number of staff development hours per year for teachers in the
What is the association between student-teacher ratios and student achievement in
the state’s elementary schools?
How does instruction differ among teachers in the district who receive different
amounts of staff development?
Why do teacher qualifications influence instruction?
All investigations take place in some context. The context explains the significance and relevance of
the proposed study. Here the writer explains why the proposed study is important, and to whom.
How well known is the issue being examined? How common is the phenomenon?
Research Approach and Method
For each specific objective you must have a method to attempt to achieve it. The
development of a realistic time schedule may help to prioritize your objectives and help to
minimize wasted time and effort.