What are you doing and how are you doing it? Articulating your aims and objectives.
What are aims & objectives?
- You need to clearly describe what your intentions are and what you hope to achieve. These are your aims.
- You aims may be to test theory in a new empirical setting, derive new theory entirely, construct a new data-set, replicate an existing study, question existing orthodoxy, and so on. Whatever they are, clearly articulate them and do so early. Definitely include them in your introduction and, if you’re smart, you’ll write them in your abstract.
- Be very explicit. In the opening paragraphs, say, in simple terms, ’the aim of this thesis is to….’
- Think of your aims then as a statement of intent. They are a promise to the reader that you are going to do something. You use the next two hundred pages or so to follow through on that promise. If you don’t make the promise, the reader won’t understand your follow-through. Simple as that.
- Avoid listing too many. Your PhD isn't as long as you think it is and you won't have time or room for more than around two or three.
- When you write them up be very specific. Don't leave things so vague that the reader is left unsure or unclear on what you aim to achieve.
- Make sure there is a logical flow between each of your aims. They should make sense together and should each be separate components which, when added together, are bigger than the sum of their parts.
- Specific: talk in a precise and clear way about what you are going to do
- Measurable: how will you know when you have achieved your aim
- Achievable: make sure that you aren't overly ambitious.
- Realistic: recognise the time and resource constraints that come with doing a PhD and don't attempt to do too much.
- Time constrained: determine when each objective needs to be completed.
Aims & Objectives. Mastered.
Use our free PhD Structure Template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis.
What is the difference between research aims and objectives?
- To understand the contribution that local governments make to national level energy policy.
- Conduct a survey of local politicians to solicit responses
- Conduct desk-research of local government websites to create a database of local energy policy
- Interview national level politicians to understand the impact these local policies have had
- Data will be coded using a code book derived from dominant theories of governance
I can’t articulate them clearly, my research is complicated!
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