Basic Guide on How to Define the Objectives of a Research Paper

How to Define the Objectives of a Research Paper

After choosing the research topic, it is necessary to understand how to define the objectives of a project. It is these elements that will guide the later stages of the study, facilitating the work to reach results that contribute to the scientific field. Anyone who has never written a project or research paper before may be frightened by so many technical terms. However, there is no cause for concern. Check out our tips and see that doing a project can be simpler than you think.

What are the specific objectives of a research paper?

The specific objective presents in detail the results to be achieved through a scientific research. From there, there is a more detailed specification on the steps that should be part of the research. The logic for understanding the use of specific objectives is very simple. That’s because just keep in mind that they sequence the points to reach the general objective. It is as if they guided the execution of their research, thus identifying the entire process carried out.

Difference between general and specific objective

The definition of the previous topic likely helped you to better understand the difference between the general objective and the specific objective. But to resolve your doubts once and for all, we will now punctuate everything you need to know in order not to confuse such descriptions anymore.

While the general objective defines the “problem of your research,” the specific objective corresponds to the issues that must be analyzed. Check out the example below and see the difference:

Main objective:

  • “Analyze the influence of social networks on consumer behavior.”

Specific objectives:

  • Identify which social networks are most used.
  • Check how digital actions influence the purchase of the product.
  • Analyze how the big brands adapted their communication strategies.
  • Compare consumer behavior before and after Web 2.0.

Writing tips for research objectives

In addition to knowing how to reference materials used, page numbering, and other points that involve formatting a research paper, another important detail is about language.

Both for general and specific purposes, it is necessary to use verbs in infinity. The reason why verbs are in this mode is related to what is intended to be achieved through research. Each verb must understand a different purpose within the search, so its definitions happen as follows:

  • Knowledge Verbs: Connect; enunciate; to establish; exemplify; express; identify; indicate; measure; Show; name; register; list; report; select; calculate; to quote; to rank; to define; to describe; distinguish; enumerate; to specify.
  • Verbs of Understanding: Conclude; to illustrate; infer; to interpret; locate describe; distinguish; deduct; report; review demonstrate; to discuss; explain; identify.
  • Application Verbs: To apply; to interpret; organize; structure; to illustrate; list.
  • Analysis Verbs: Analyze; correlate; differentiate; to discuss; to detect; to discover; discriminate; examine classify; categorize; match; to compare; prove; to contrast; to experiment; identify; investigate; prove; select.
  • Synthesis Verbs: Match; organize; to plan; to compose; create; prove; deduct; develop; to document; explain; list.
  • Evaluation Verbs: To evaluate; list; select; validate; conclude; verify; criticize; to interpret; to judge; justify; standardize; value.

See how to define the objectives for a research paper

Many research projects are born out of a student’s doubt or curiosity. It is intended to know more about a subject, or else to understand why a certain phenomenon happens. These inquiries can be the starting point for the investigation of the problem, that is, the question to be answered. In most cases, the general objective of the survey ends up deriving from this central issue. For example, if the problem is something like “how do teenagers react to advertising on Instagram?” the objective will look like this:

Identify possible reactions of teenagers who use the social networking site Instagram to advertising pieces served in this medium.

Note that it is not necessary to extend too much or use very pompous words. The simpler and more direct the language, the easier it will be for the public to understand what the work in question is about.

The use of verbs in the infinitive is a way to make the purpose of the research paper even clearer. Actions such as “inquire,” “investigate” and “discover” are expected from any researcher. So, here’s the tip: follow this path.

From the general objective to the specific objectives

There is no way to define the objectives of a project without thinking about the schedule of activities. When you know the general proposal and the time available to carry it out, it becomes easier to design the next stages of the investigation. That is where the specific objectives come in. Each of them justifies a stage of the research process, all of which must contribute to reaching some result.

Returning to the previous example, we can think of specific objectives such as:

  • Identify teenagers who use Instagram.
  • Discover Instagram advertising pieces aimed at this audience.
  • Understand the effects that these pieces have on young people.

For each specific objective, a methodological procedure can be thought of. In the case of objective 1, one way to obtain a sample of the audience within the expected age range would be to apply an online questionnaire. From the data collected, the student could filter possible subjects for a qualitative approach.

As for specific objective 2, a survey can be made between digital agencies that produce content for Instagram. Another possibility would be for the student to access the application and take note of the marks that appear in his feed.

Finally, specific objective 3 would require more in-depth interviews to ascertain the possible impacts of advertising on adolescents. All of these steps must be foreseen within the period of the work so that there is still time for the discussion of the results and the writing of the final report.

Example Two

Main goal

  • Analyze how eating habits within schools influence the choices of children and adolescents in adulthood.

Specific objectives:

  • Check the number of schools that sell food in canteens.
  • Analyze which foods are most consumed.
  • Know the percentage of students who use the commercial canteen service in the school environment.
  • Document the transition from eating habits from adolescence to adulthood.

Example Three

Main goal

  • List the main artistic movements that contributed to fashion in the 20th century and how new trends were created.

Specific objectives:

  • Theorize the main pillars that established the consumer industry.
  • Conceptualize the recurring habits of mass culture.
  • Understand how futurism and surrealism influenced the concept of important brands.
  • Understand the influence of schools on the visual concept of clothing and electronics brands.

Tips for making specific objectives of a research paper

To conclude this article, see some tips below that will help you to define specific objectives. It is worth remembering that the main rule is to fragment the general objective into specifics and for that, you must:

  • Remember that the general objective is broader, because of this it can be subdivided into parts.
  • Ask what information is needed to achieve the overall objective.
  • Know that each verb refers to a different purpose within your search.
  • Understand what specific objective a detailing is of the general objective.
  • Gather all the specific objectives to arrive at the general objective of the research.