general objectives for thesis

  • Aims and Objectives – A Guide for Academic Writing
  • Doing a PhD

One of the most important aspects of a thesis, dissertation or research paper is the correct formulation of the aims and objectives. This is because your aims and objectives will establish the scope, depth and direction that your research will ultimately take. An effective set of aims and objectives will give your research focus and your reader clarity, with your aims indicating what is to be achieved, and your objectives indicating how it will be achieved.

Introduction

There is no getting away from the importance of the aims and objectives in determining the success of your research project. Unfortunately, however, it is an aspect that many students struggle with, and ultimately end up doing poorly. Given their importance, if you suspect that there is even the smallest possibility that you belong to this group of students, we strongly recommend you read this page in full.

This page describes what research aims and objectives are, how they differ from each other, how to write them correctly, and the common mistakes students make and how to avoid them. An example of a good aim and objectives from a past thesis has also been deconstructed to help your understanding.

What Are Aims and Objectives?

Research aims.

A research aim describes the main goal or the overarching purpose of your research project.

In doing so, it acts as a focal point for your research and provides your readers with clarity as to what your study is all about. Because of this, research aims are almost always located within its own subsection under the introduction section of a research document, regardless of whether it’s a thesis , a dissertation, or a research paper .

A research aim is usually formulated as a broad statement of the main goal of the research and can range in length from a single sentence to a short paragraph. Although the exact format may vary according to preference, they should all describe why your research is needed (i.e. the context), what it sets out to accomplish (the actual aim) and, briefly, how it intends to accomplish it (overview of your objectives).

To give an example, we have extracted the following research aim from a real PhD thesis:

Example of a Research Aim

The role of diametrical cup deformation as a factor to unsatisfactory implant performance has not been widely reported. The aim of this thesis was to gain an understanding of the diametrical deformation behaviour of acetabular cups and shells following impaction into the reamed acetabulum. The influence of a range of factors on deformation was investigated to ascertain if cup and shell deformation may be high enough to potentially contribute to early failure and high wear rates in metal-on-metal implants.

Note: Extracted with permission from thesis titled “T he Impact And Deformation Of Press-Fit Metal Acetabular Components ” produced by Dr H Hothi of previously Queen Mary University of London.

Research Objectives

Where a research aim specifies what your study will answer, research objectives specify how your study will answer it.

They divide your research aim into several smaller parts, each of which represents a key section of your research project. As a result, almost all research objectives take the form of a numbered list, with each item usually receiving its own chapter in a dissertation or thesis.

Following the example of the research aim shared above, here are it’s real research objectives as an example:

Example of a Research Objective

  • Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.
  • Investigate the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup.
  • Determine the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types.
  • Investigate the influence of non-uniform cup support and varying the orientation of the component in the cavity on deformation.
  • Examine the influence of errors during reaming of the acetabulum which introduce ovality to the cavity.
  • Determine the relationship between changes in the geometry of the component and deformation for different cup designs.
  • Develop three dimensional pelvis models with non-uniform bone material properties from a range of patients with varying bone quality.
  • Use the key parameters that influence deformation, as identified in the foam models to determine the range of deformations that may occur clinically using the anatomic models and if these deformations are clinically significant.

It’s worth noting that researchers sometimes use research questions instead of research objectives, or in other cases both. From a high-level perspective, research questions and research objectives make the same statements, but just in different formats.

Taking the first three research objectives as an example, they can be restructured into research questions as follows:

Restructuring Research Objectives as Research Questions

  • Can finite element models using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum together with explicit dynamics be used to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion?
  • What is the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup?
  • What is the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types?

Difference Between Aims and Objectives

Hopefully the above explanations make clear the differences between aims and objectives, but to clarify:

  • The research aim focus on what the research project is intended to achieve; research objectives focus on how the aim will be achieved.
  • Research aims are relatively broad; research objectives are specific.
  • Research aims focus on a project’s long-term outcomes; research objectives focus on its immediate, short-term outcomes.
  • A research aim can be written in a single sentence or short paragraph; research objectives should be written as a numbered list.

How to Write Aims and Objectives

Before we discuss how to write a clear set of research aims and objectives, we should make it clear that there is no single way they must be written. Each researcher will approach their aims and objectives slightly differently, and often your supervisor will influence the formulation of yours on the basis of their own preferences.

Regardless, there are some basic principles that you should observe for good practice; these principles are described below.

Your aim should be made up of three parts that answer the below questions:

  • Why is this research required?
  • What is this research about?
  • How are you going to do it?

The easiest way to achieve this would be to address each question in its own sentence, although it does not matter whether you combine them or write multiple sentences for each, the key is to address each one.

The first question, why , provides context to your research project, the second question, what , describes the aim of your research, and the last question, how , acts as an introduction to your objectives which will immediately follow.

Scroll through the image set below to see the ‘why, what and how’ associated with our research aim example.

Explaining aims vs objectives

Note: Your research aims need not be limited to one. Some individuals per to define one broad ‘overarching aim’ of a project and then adopt two or three specific research aims for their thesis or dissertation. Remember, however, that in order for your assessors to consider your research project complete, you will need to prove you have fulfilled all of the aims you set out to achieve. Therefore, while having more than one research aim is not necessarily disadvantageous, consider whether a single overarching one will do.

Research Objectives

Each of your research objectives should be SMART :

  • Specific – is there any ambiguity in the action you are going to undertake, or is it focused and well-defined?
  • Measurable – how will you measure progress and determine when you have achieved the action?
  • Achievable – do you have the support, resources and facilities required to carry out the action?
  • Relevant – is the action essential to the achievement of your research aim?
  • Timebound – can you realistically complete the action in the available time alongside your other research tasks?

In addition to being SMART, your research objectives should start with a verb that helps communicate your intent. Common research verbs include:

Table of Research Verbs to Use in Aims and Objectives

Last, format your objectives into a numbered list. This is because when you write your thesis or dissertation, you will at times need to make reference to a specific research objective; structuring your research objectives in a numbered list will provide a clear way of doing this.

To bring all this together, let’s compare the first research objective in the previous example with the above guidance:

Checking Research Objective Example Against Recommended Approach

Research Objective:

1. Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.

Checking Against Recommended Approach:

Q: Is it specific? A: Yes, it is clear what the student intends to do (produce a finite element model), why they intend to do it (mimic cup/shell blows) and their parameters have been well-defined ( using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum ).

Q: Is it measurable? A: Yes, it is clear that the research objective will be achieved once the finite element model is complete.

Q: Is it achievable? A: Yes, provided the student has access to a computer lab, modelling software and laboratory data.

Q: Is it relevant? A: Yes, mimicking impacts to a cup/shell is fundamental to the overall aim of understanding how they deform when impacted upon.

Q: Is it timebound? A: Yes, it is possible to create a limited-scope finite element model in a relatively short time, especially if you already have experience in modelling.

Q: Does it start with a verb? A: Yes, it starts with ‘develop’, which makes the intent of the objective immediately clear.

Q: Is it a numbered list? A: Yes, it is the first research objective in a list of eight.

Mistakes in Writing Research Aims and Objectives

1. making your research aim too broad.

Having a research aim too broad becomes very difficult to achieve. Normally, this occurs when a student develops their research aim before they have a good understanding of what they want to research. Remember that at the end of your project and during your viva defence , you will have to prove that you have achieved your research aims; if they are too broad, this will be an almost impossible task. In the early stages of your research project, your priority should be to narrow your study to a specific area. A good way to do this is to take the time to study existing literature, question their current approaches, findings and limitations, and consider whether there are any recurring gaps that could be investigated .

Note: Achieving a set of aims does not necessarily mean proving or disproving a theory or hypothesis, even if your research aim was to, but having done enough work to provide a useful and original insight into the principles that underlie your research aim.

2. Making Your Research Objectives Too Ambitious

Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have available. It is natural to want to set ambitious research objectives that require sophisticated data collection and analysis, but only completing this with six months before the end of your PhD registration period is not a worthwhile trade-off.

3. Formulating Repetitive Research Objectives

Each research objective should have its own purpose and distinct measurable outcome. To this effect, a common mistake is to form research objectives which have large amounts of overlap. This makes it difficult to determine when an objective is truly complete, and also presents challenges in estimating the duration of objectives when creating your project timeline. It also makes it difficult to structure your thesis into unique chapters, making it more challenging for you to write and for your audience to read.

Fortunately, this oversight can be easily avoided by using SMART objectives.

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how to create an effective set of aims and objectives for your research project, whether it be a thesis, dissertation or research paper. While it may be tempting to dive directly into your research, spending time on getting your aims and objectives right will give your research clear direction. This won’t only reduce the likelihood of problems arising later down the line, but will also lead to a more thorough and coherent research project.

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Research Aims, Objectives & Questions

The “Golden Thread” Explained Simply (+ Examples)

By: David Phair (PhD) and Alexandra Shaeffer (PhD) | June 2022

The research aims , objectives and research questions (collectively called the “golden thread”) are arguably the most important thing you need to get right when you’re crafting a research proposal , dissertation or thesis . We receive questions almost every day about this “holy trinity” of research and there’s certainly a lot of confusion out there, so we’ve crafted this post to help you navigate your way through the fog.

Overview: The Golden Thread

  • What is the golden thread
  • What are research aims ( examples )
  • What are research objectives ( examples )
  • What are research questions ( examples )
  • The importance of alignment in the golden thread

What is the “golden thread”?  

The golden thread simply refers to the collective research aims , research objectives , and research questions for any given project (i.e., a dissertation, thesis, or research paper ). These three elements are bundled together because it’s extremely important that they align with each other, and that the entire research project aligns with them.

Importantly, the golden thread needs to weave its way through the entirety of any research project , from start to end. In other words, it needs to be very clearly defined right at the beginning of the project (the topic ideation and proposal stage) and it needs to inform almost every decision throughout the rest of the project. For example, your research design and methodology will be heavily influenced by the golden thread (we’ll explain this in more detail later), as well as your literature review.

The research aims, objectives and research questions (the golden thread) define the focus and scope ( the delimitations ) of your research project. In other words, they help ringfence your dissertation or thesis to a relatively narrow domain, so that you can “go deep” and really dig into a specific problem or opportunity. They also help keep you on track , as they act as a litmus test for relevance. In other words, if you’re ever unsure whether to include something in your document, simply ask yourself the question, “does this contribute toward my research aims, objectives or questions?”. If it doesn’t, chances are you can drop it.

Alright, enough of the fluffy, conceptual stuff. Let’s get down to business and look at what exactly the research aims, objectives and questions are and outline a few examples to bring these concepts to life.

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Research Aims: What are they?

Simply put, the research aim(s) is a statement that reflects the broad overarching goal (s) of the research project. Research aims are fairly high-level (low resolution) as they outline the general direction of the research and what it’s trying to achieve .

Research Aims: Examples  

True to the name, research aims usually start with the wording “this research aims to…”, “this research seeks to…”, and so on. For example:

“This research aims to explore employee experiences of digital transformation in retail HR.”   “This study sets out to assess the interaction between student support and self-care on well-being in engineering graduate students”  

As you can see, these research aims provide a high-level description of what the study is about and what it seeks to achieve. They’re not hyper-specific or action-oriented, but they’re clear about what the study’s focus is and what is being investigated.

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general objectives for thesis

Research Objectives: What are they?

The research objectives take the research aims and make them more practical and actionable . In other words, the research objectives showcase the steps that the researcher will take to achieve the research aims.

The research objectives need to be far more specific (higher resolution) and actionable than the research aims. In fact, it’s always a good idea to craft your research objectives using the “SMART” criteria. In other words, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound”.

Research Objectives: Examples  

Let’s look at two examples of research objectives. We’ll stick with the topic and research aims we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic:

To observe the retail HR employees throughout the digital transformation. To assess employee perceptions of digital transformation in retail HR. To identify the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR.

And for the student wellness topic:

To determine whether student self-care predicts the well-being score of engineering graduate students. To determine whether student support predicts the well-being score of engineering students. To assess the interaction between student self-care and student support when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students.

  As you can see, these research objectives clearly align with the previously mentioned research aims and effectively translate the low-resolution aims into (comparatively) higher-resolution objectives and action points . They give the research project a clear focus and present something that resembles a research-based “to-do” list.

The research objectives detail the specific steps that you, as the researcher, will take to achieve the research aims you laid out.

Research Questions: What are they?

Finally, we arrive at the all-important research questions. The research questions are, as the name suggests, the key questions that your study will seek to answer . Simply put, they are the core purpose of your dissertation, thesis, or research project. You’ll present them at the beginning of your document (either in the introduction chapter or literature review chapter) and you’ll answer them at the end of your document (typically in the discussion and conclusion chapters).  

The research questions will be the driving force throughout the research process. For example, in the literature review chapter, you’ll assess the relevance of any given resource based on whether it helps you move towards answering your research questions. Similarly, your methodology and research design will be heavily influenced by the nature of your research questions. For instance, research questions that are exploratory in nature will usually make use of a qualitative approach, whereas questions that relate to measurement or relationship testing will make use of a quantitative approach.  

Let’s look at some examples of research questions to make this more tangible.

Research Questions: Examples  

Again, we’ll stick with the research aims and research objectives we mentioned previously.  

For the digital transformation topic (which would be qualitative in nature):

How do employees perceive digital transformation in retail HR? What are the barriers and facilitators of digital transformation in retail HR?  

And for the student wellness topic (which would be quantitative in nature):

Does student self-care predict the well-being scores of engineering graduate students? Does student support predict the well-being scores of engineering students? Do student self-care and student support interact when predicting well-being in engineering graduate students?  

You’ll probably notice that there’s quite a formulaic approach to this. In other words, the research questions are basically the research objectives “converted” into question format. While that is true most of the time, it’s not always the case. For example, the first research objective for the digital transformation topic was more or less a step on the path toward the other objectives, and as such, it didn’t warrant its own research question.  

So, don’t rush your research questions and sloppily reword your objectives as questions. Carefully think about what exactly you’re trying to achieve (i.e. your research aim) and the objectives you’ve set out, then craft a set of well-aligned research questions . Also, keep in mind that this can be a somewhat iterative process , where you go back and tweak research objectives and aims to ensure tight alignment throughout the golden thread.

The importance of strong alignment 

Alignment is the keyword here and we have to stress its importance . Simply put, you need to make sure that there is a very tight alignment between all three pieces of the golden thread. If your research aims and research questions don’t align, for example, your project will be pulling in different directions and will lack focus . This is a common problem students face and can cause many headaches (and tears), so be warned.

Take the time to carefully craft your research aims, objectives and research questions before you run off down the research path. Ideally, get your research supervisor/advisor to review and comment on your golden thread before you invest significant time into your project, and certainly before you start collecting data .  

Recap: The golden thread

In this post, we unpacked the golden thread of research, consisting of the research aims , research objectives and research questions . You can jump back to any section using the links below.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below – we always love to hear from you. Also, if you’re interested in 1-on-1 support, take a look at our private coaching service here.

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34 Comments

Isaac Levi

Thank you very much for your great effort put. As an Undergraduate taking Demographic Research & Methodology, I’ve been trying so hard to understand clearly what is a Research Question, Research Aim and the Objectives in a research and the relationship between them etc. But as for now I’m thankful that you’ve solved my problem.

Hatimu Bah

Well appreciated. This has helped me greatly in doing my dissertation.

Dr. Abdallah Kheri

An so delighted with this wonderful information thank you a lot.

so impressive i have benefited a lot looking forward to learn more on research.

Ekwunife, Chukwunonso Onyeka Steve

I am very happy to have carefully gone through this well researched article.

Infact,I used to be phobia about anything research, because of my poor understanding of the concepts.

Now,I get to know that my research question is the same as my research objective(s) rephrased in question format.

I please I would need a follow up on the subject,as I intends to join the team of researchers. Thanks once again.

Tosin

Thanks so much. This was really helpful.

sylas

i found this document so useful towards my study in research methods. thanks so much.

Michael L. Andrion

This is my 2nd read topic in your course and I should commend the simplified explanations of each part. I’m beginning to understand and absorb the use of each part of a dissertation/thesis. I’ll keep on reading your free course and might be able to avail the training course! Kudos!

Scarlett

Thank you! Better put that my lecture and helped to easily understand the basics which I feel often get brushed over when beginning dissertation work.

Enoch Tindiwegi

This is quite helpful. I like how the Golden thread has been explained and the needed alignment.

Sora Dido Boru

This is quite helpful. I really appreciate!

Chulyork

The article made it simple for researcher students to differentiate between three concepts.

Afowosire Wasiu Adekunle

Very innovative and educational in approach to conducting research.

Sàlihu Abubakar Dayyabu

I am very impressed with all these terminology, as I am a fresh student for post graduate, I am highly guided and I promised to continue making consultation when the need arise. Thanks a lot.

Mohammed Shamsudeen

A very helpful piece. thanks, I really appreciate it .

Sonam Jyrwa

Very well explained, and it might be helpful to many people like me.

JB

Wish i had found this (and other) resource(s) at the beginning of my PhD journey… not in my writing up year… 😩 Anyways… just a quick question as i’m having some issues ordering my “golden thread”…. does it matter in what order you mention them? i.e., is it always first aims, then objectives, and finally the questions? or can you first mention the research questions and then the aims and objectives?

UN

Thank you for a very simple explanation that builds upon the concepts in a very logical manner. Just prior to this, I read the research hypothesis article, which was equally very good. This met my primary objective.

My secondary objective was to understand the difference between research questions and research hypothesis, and in which context to use which one. However, I am still not clear on this. Can you kindly please guide?

Derek Jansen

In research, a research question is a clear and specific inquiry that the researcher wants to answer, while a research hypothesis is a tentative statement or prediction about the relationship between variables or the expected outcome of the study. Research questions are broader and guide the overall study, while hypotheses are specific and testable statements used in quantitative research. Research questions identify the problem, while hypotheses provide a focus for testing in the study.

Saen Fanai

Exactly what I need in this research journey, I look forward to more of your coaching videos.

Abubakar Rofiat Opeyemi

This helped a lot. Thanks so much for the effort put into explaining it.

Lamin Tarawally

What data source in writing dissertation/Thesis requires?

What is data source covers when writing dessertation/thesis

Latifat Muhammed

This is quite useful thanks

Yetunde

I’m excited and thankful. I got so much value which will help me progress in my thesis.

Amer Al-Rashid

where are the locations of the reserch statement, research objective and research question in a reserach paper? Can you write an ouline that defines their places in the researh paper?

Webby

Very helpful and important tips on Aims, Objectives and Questions.

Refiloe Raselane

Thank you so much for making research aim, research objectives and research question so clear. This will be helpful to me as i continue with my thesis.

Annabelle Roda-Dafielmoto

Thanks much for this content. I learned a lot. And I am inspired to learn more. I am still struggling with my preparation for dissertation outline/proposal. But I consistently follow contents and tutorials and the new FB of GRAD Coach. Hope to really become confident in writing my dissertation and successfully defend it.

Joe

As a researcher and lecturer, I find splitting research goals into research aims, objectives, and questions is unnecessarily bureaucratic and confusing for students. For most biomedical research projects, including ‘real research’, 1-3 research questions will suffice (numbers may differ by discipline).

Abdella

Awesome! Very important resources and presented in an informative way to easily understand the golden thread. Indeed, thank you so much.

Sheikh

Well explained

New Growth Care Group

The blog article on research aims, objectives, and questions by Grad Coach is a clear and insightful guide that aligns with my experiences in academic research. The article effectively breaks down the often complex concepts of research aims and objectives, providing a straightforward and accessible explanation. Drawing from my own research endeavors, I appreciate the practical tips offered, such as the need for specificity and clarity when formulating research questions. The article serves as a valuable resource for students and researchers, offering a concise roadmap for crafting well-defined research goals and objectives. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced researcher, this article provides practical insights that contribute to the foundational aspects of a successful research endeavor.

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General and specific objectives in thesis writing

Make use of the guidelines below to understand the variations between thesis and purpose statements

Within the beginning of writing, thesis or purpose statements are often rough or ill-created and therefore are helpful mainly as planning tools.

A thesis statement or purpose statement will emerge while you think and talk about a subject. The statement could be restricted or clarified and finally labored into an intro.

While you revise your paper, attempt to phrase your thesis or purpose statement inside a precise way in order that it matches the information and organization of the paper.

Thesis statements

A thesis statement is really a sentence which makes an assertion in regards to a subject and predicts the way the subject is going to be developed. It doesn’t simply announce a subject: it states something concerning the subject.

Good: X makes a substantial effect on the teenage population because of its.

Bad: Within this paper, I’ll discuss X.

A thesis statement constitutes a promise towards the readers concerning the scope, purpose, and direction from the paper. It summarizes the conclusions the author has arrived at concerning the subject.

A thesis statement is usually located close to the finish from the introduction. Sometimes inside a lengthy paper, the thesis is going to be expressed in a number of sentences or perhaps an entire paragraph.

A thesis statement is concentrated and particular enough to become proven inside the limitations from the paper. Key phrases (nouns and verbs) ought to be specific, accurate, and suggestive of the plethora of research, thrust from the argument or analysis, and also the organization of supporting information.

Purpose statements

General and specific objectives in thesis writing your thesis, the

Common beginnings include:

This paper examines. The purpose of this paper would be to. and The objective of this essay would be to.

An objective statement constitutes a promise towards the readers about the introduction of the argument but doesn’t preview the specific conclusions the author has attracted.

An objective statement usually seems toward the finish from the introduction. The reason statement might be expressed in a number of sentences or perhaps entire paragraph.

An objective statement is particular enough to fulfill the needs from the assignment. Purpose statements are typical in research papers in certain academic disciplines, during other disciplines they’re considered too blunt or direct. If you’re unsure about utilizing a purpose statement, ask your instructor.

This paper will check out the environmental destruction from the Sahel preceding the drought and what causes this disintegration from the land. The main focus is going to be around the economic, political, and social relationships which introduced concerning the ecological problems within the Sahel.

Sample purpose and thesis statements

The next example combines an objective statement along with a thesis statement (bold).

More extensive and long lasting reforms may likely have permitted Chile the chance to help expand these horizons.

For additional recommendations on writing thesis statements, check out our handout on Creating a Thesis Statement.

Last updated: August 29, 2014

Feedback, questions or ease of access issues 2014 Board of Regents from the College of Wisconsin System

While your condition formulation serves to explain the purpose of your thesis, the objectives offer an accurate description from the specific actions you’ll take to be able to achieve this aim. Just like the issue formulation, the general objective ought to be presented in one sentence.

Once more, check out the issue formulation in the previous lesson: “Is the amount of understanding on suggested dietary practices associated with the dietary status of women that are pregnant attending antenatal care in Northern Uganda?”

The correspondent overall objective ought to be written being an infinitive sentence e.g.: “To analyse the association between dietary understanding and also the dietary status of women that are pregnant attending antenatal care (ANC) in Northern Uganda.

Here the thing is the overall objective states just how you want to address your condition: “I want to obtain the response to problem A, by finishing action B”. After this you need to explain or detail action B through some specific objectives (usually between two and 4), e.g.:

  • To evaluate the understanding level among ANC attendees around the suggested dietary practices while pregnant
  • To evaluate the dietary status of women that are pregnant attending ANC
  • To analyse the record association between dietary understanding level and dietary status in women that are pregnant attending ANC

Each specific objective includes one infinitive sentence and really should be phrased in a manner that assists you to draw a conclusion from inside the scope from the thesis.

The greater precisely you formulate your particular objectives, the more it will likely be to define the kind of study and which method(s) you’ll use inside your further research. You are able to refine your particular objective by clearly stating in case your given action would be to understand, analyse or create &#8211 in sync using the hierarchy of learning objectives and also the answer to the assessment of understanding content as present in for instance Blossom’s taxonomy. In this manner, your particular objectives will signal your height of ambition in addition to in which you will set the finest effort inside your thesis.

TIP! Your well-defined research objectives can help you identify the kind of study you’ll do. Practical limitations and/or advice out of your supervisor may need that you simply reformulate any a number of your objectives. Don’t worry this really is a part of the study process.

Would you now understand how to formulate objectives? Test out your understanding within the following.

refine &#8211 well-defined

Are you aware..

the time spent, to refine and define your general research objective as well as your specific objectives, is wisely spent and can repay many-fold. When your research objectives are prepared, you’ve completed 1 / 2 of your thesis needs – the rest of the half is easy, hands-on work! . that the well-defined research objectives can help you identify the kind of study you’ll do. Practical limitations and/or advice out of your supervisor may need that you simply reformulate any a number of your objectives. Don’t worry this really is a part of the study process.

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Together with Denmark’s Electronic Research Library (DEFF)

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How to Write the Dissertation Aims and Objectives – Guide & Examples

Published by Grace Graffin at January 27th, 2023 , Revised On October 9, 2023

Aims and objectives are among the essential aspects of a dissertation. If you write aims and objectives effectively, they can act as a foundation to give your research clarity and focus.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information regarding aims and objectives, their differences, writing tips , and the common mistakes you should avoid while writing them.

The aim is often a single sentence or a short paragraph that describes your dissertation’s main goal and intent. It tells what you hope to achieve at the end. You should write the aim so that it becomes identifiable when it is achieved with the completion of your dissertation .

The aim is written in a subsection of the introduction to clarify the overall purpose of the dissertation .

Example: It is often observed that employees in culturally diverse workplaces struggle to work effectively in a team. A probable cause of this issue is bullying at the workplace. This research investigates the impact of bullying on employee job satisfaction at culturally diverse workplaces and the resulting loss of employee productivity. This research will use surveys and case study analysis to analyze the impact of bullying on employees.

The objectives in a dissertation describe the ways through which you intend to achieve the research aim. They are specific statements that break down the aim into several smaller key sections of the overall research. Suitable objectives can help you stay focused and conduct research in the direction of your aim.

The number of objectives should be realistic; usually, between three to six, and each one should be possible to achieve. The following example shows the objectives for the previously-mentioned dissertation aim.

1. identification of the behaviors that are considered as bullying 2. exploring the factors that cause bullying at a culturally diverse workplace 3. analyzing the relationship between bullying and job satisfaction of employees 4. providing suitable recommendations on minimizing the bullying at the workplace

The objectives of a dissertation should be SMART.

  • Specific: should be precise, focused, and well-defined
  • Measurable: the progress should be measurable, and you should be able to determine when you have achieved an objective.
  • Achievable: you should be able to carry out the required action within your available resources
  • Relevant: should be related to the dissertation aim
  • Time-bound: should be possible within the available time

Differences between aims and objectives

Aims and objectives are often mixed, but there are clear differences between them.

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How to write aims and objectives?

There is no particular way or standard to write the aims and objectives. Different researchers have different writing styles, and often it can be influenced by your research supervisor. However, you should follow certain basic principles while writing aims and objectives in a dissertation.

Writing the aim statement

The aim statement should cover the following essential elements.

  • Why is the research necessary? (covers the underlying problem on which the study is to be conducted)
  • What is the research about? (description of the research title)
  • How are you going to conduct it? (a brief statement of intended research methods)

An appropriate aim clearly defines the research purpose without confusing the reader. If you struggle to explain your research and its importance in simpler terms, you should consider refining your research to clarify it further.

Writing objectives

The objectives describe how you would achieve your research aim. You can do this through the following steps,

  • The first one to two objectives can be applied to the literature review . (Verbs to be used: investigate, examine, study)
  • One objective can be applied to the methodology portion. (Verbs to be used: collect, select, demonstrate, estimate)
  • Two to three objectives can cover the critical evaluation or discussion chapters (Verbs to be used: analyze, compare, evaluate)
  • The final objective will cover the conclusion or recommendation portion. (Verbs to be used: conclude, recommend)

Instead of writing like a paragraph, the objectives should be written as a numbered list to give them more clarity.

How many aims and objectives should be there?

It depends upon the topic of your research and mainly upon your supervisor’s requirements. Generally, a dissertation has a single broad statement as the research aim. However, it is acceptable to include a main aim along with two to three subsidiary aims.

Similarly, the number of objectives should be realistic and sufficient to measure the progress regarding the achievement of the research aim. Their number can generally vary from three to six depending upon the aim.

Common mistakes to avoid while writing research aims and objectives

  • Writing a broad research aim

Writing a broad research aim is a common mistake, and it often becomes difficult to achieve. It may create a problem when you are asked to prove how you have achieved your aims during your  viva defense . It would be best to narrow your study to a specific area in the early stages of the dissertation.

  • Formulating overlapping research objectives

The objectives should be written such that they are measurable and distinct from each other. If they overlap, it makes it difficult to structure your dissertation properly in specific chapters.

  • Setting unrealistic aims

Students often get over-ambitious while describing the research aim and face problems afterward in achieving those aims. You should avoid this mistake and be realistic about what you can achieve in the available time and resources.

Aims and objectives are the sections that require significant time and attention to avoid future hassles while conducting research and writing your dissertation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to set dissertation aims and objectives.

To set dissertation aims and objectives, define your research goals clearly. Aims state what you want to achieve, while objectives outline specific, measurable steps to reach those goals. Ensure they align with your research question and contribute to your study’s significance.

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Research Method

Home » Research Objectives – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Objectives – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Objectives

Research Objectives

Research objectives refer to the specific goals or aims of a research study. They provide a clear and concise description of what the researcher hopes to achieve by conducting the research . The objectives are typically based on the research questions and hypotheses formulated at the beginning of the study and are used to guide the research process.

Types of Research Objectives

Here are the different types of research objectives in research:

  • Exploratory Objectives: These objectives are used to explore a topic, issue, or phenomenon that has not been studied in-depth before. The aim of exploratory research is to gain a better understanding of the subject matter and generate new ideas and hypotheses .
  • Descriptive Objectives: These objectives aim to describe the characteristics, features, or attributes of a particular population, group, or phenomenon. Descriptive research answers the “what” questions and provides a snapshot of the subject matter.
  • Explanatory Objectives : These objectives aim to explain the relationships between variables or factors. Explanatory research seeks to identify the cause-and-effect relationships between different phenomena.
  • Predictive Objectives: These objectives aim to predict future events or outcomes based on existing data or trends. Predictive research uses statistical models to forecast future trends or outcomes.
  • Evaluative Objectives : These objectives aim to evaluate the effectiveness or impact of a program, intervention, or policy. Evaluative research seeks to assess the outcomes or results of a particular intervention or program.
  • Prescriptive Objectives: These objectives aim to provide recommendations or solutions to a particular problem or issue. Prescriptive research identifies the best course of action based on the results of the study.
  • Diagnostic Objectives : These objectives aim to identify the causes or factors contributing to a particular problem or issue. Diagnostic research seeks to uncover the underlying reasons for a particular phenomenon.
  • Comparative Objectives: These objectives aim to compare two or more groups, populations, or phenomena to identify similarities and differences. Comparative research is used to determine which group or approach is more effective or has better outcomes.
  • Historical Objectives: These objectives aim to examine past events, trends, or phenomena to gain a better understanding of their significance and impact. Historical research uses archival data, documents, and records to study past events.
  • Ethnographic Objectives : These objectives aim to understand the culture, beliefs, and practices of a particular group or community. Ethnographic research involves immersive fieldwork and observation to gain an insider’s perspective of the group being studied.
  • Action-oriented Objectives: These objectives aim to bring about social or organizational change. Action-oriented research seeks to identify practical solutions to social problems and to promote positive change in society.
  • Conceptual Objectives: These objectives aim to develop new theories, models, or frameworks to explain a particular phenomenon or set of phenomena. Conceptual research seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the subject matter by developing new theoretical perspectives.
  • Methodological Objectives: These objectives aim to develop and improve research methods and techniques. Methodological research seeks to advance the field of research by improving the validity, reliability, and accuracy of research methods and tools.
  • Theoretical Objectives : These objectives aim to test and refine existing theories or to develop new theoretical perspectives. Theoretical research seeks to advance the field of knowledge by testing and refining existing theories or by developing new theoretical frameworks.
  • Measurement Objectives : These objectives aim to develop and validate measurement instruments, such as surveys, questionnaires, and tests. Measurement research seeks to improve the quality and reliability of data collection and analysis by developing and testing new measurement tools.
  • Design Objectives : These objectives aim to develop and refine research designs, such as experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational designs. Design research seeks to improve the quality and validity of research by developing and testing new research designs.
  • Sampling Objectives: These objectives aim to develop and refine sampling techniques, such as probability and non-probability sampling methods. Sampling research seeks to improve the representativeness and generalizability of research findings by developing and testing new sampling techniques.

How to Write Research Objectives

Writing clear and concise research objectives is an important part of any research project, as it helps to guide the study and ensure that it is focused and relevant. Here are some steps to follow when writing research objectives:

  • Identify the research problem : Before you can write research objectives, you need to identify the research problem you are trying to address. This should be a clear and specific problem that can be addressed through research.
  • Define the research questions : Based on the research problem, define the research questions you want to answer. These questions should be specific and should guide the research process.
  • Identify the variables : Identify the key variables that you will be studying in your research. These are the factors that you will be measuring, manipulating, or analyzing to answer your research questions.
  • Write specific objectives: Write specific, measurable objectives that will help you answer your research questions. These objectives should be clear and concise and should indicate what you hope to achieve through your research.
  • Use the SMART criteria: To ensure that your research objectives are well-defined and achievable, use the SMART criteria. This means that your objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Revise and refine: Once you have written your research objectives, revise and refine them to ensure that they are clear, concise, and achievable. Make sure that they align with your research questions and variables, and that they will help you answer your research problem.

Example of Research Objectives

Examples of research objectives Could be:

Research Objectives for the topic of “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Employment”:

  • To investigate the effects of the adoption of AI on employment trends across various industries and occupations.
  • To explore the potential for AI to create new job opportunities and transform existing roles in the workforce.
  • To examine the social and economic implications of the widespread use of AI for employment, including issues such as income inequality and access to education and training.
  • To identify the skills and competencies that will be required for individuals to thrive in an AI-driven workplace, and to explore the role of education and training in developing these skills.
  • To evaluate the ethical and legal considerations surrounding the use of AI for employment, including issues such as bias, privacy, and the responsibility of employers and policymakers to protect workers’ rights.

When to Write Research Objectives

  • At the beginning of a research project : Research objectives should be identified and written down before starting a research project. This helps to ensure that the project is focused and that data collection and analysis efforts are aligned with the intended purpose of the research.
  • When refining research questions: Writing research objectives can help to clarify and refine research questions. Objectives provide a more concrete and specific framework for addressing research questions, which can improve the overall quality and direction of a research project.
  • After conducting a literature review : Conducting a literature review can help to identify gaps in knowledge and areas that require further research. Writing research objectives can help to define and focus the research effort in these areas.
  • When developing a research proposal: Research objectives are an important component of a research proposal. They help to articulate the purpose and scope of the research, and provide a clear and concise summary of the expected outcomes and contributions of the research.
  • When seeking funding for research: Funding agencies often require a detailed description of research objectives as part of a funding proposal. Writing clear and specific research objectives can help to demonstrate the significance and potential impact of a research project, and increase the chances of securing funding.
  • When designing a research study : Research objectives guide the design and implementation of a research study. They help to identify the appropriate research methods, sampling strategies, data collection and analysis techniques, and other relevant aspects of the study design.
  • When communicating research findings: Research objectives provide a clear and concise summary of the main research questions and outcomes. They are often included in research reports and publications, and can help to ensure that the research findings are communicated effectively and accurately to a wide range of audiences.
  • When evaluating research outcomes : Research objectives provide a basis for evaluating the success of a research project. They help to measure the degree to which research questions have been answered and the extent to which research outcomes have been achieved.
  • When conducting research in a team : Writing research objectives can facilitate communication and collaboration within a research team. Objectives provide a shared understanding of the research purpose and goals, and can help to ensure that team members are working towards a common objective.

Purpose of Research Objectives

Some of the main purposes of research objectives include:

  • To clarify the research question or problem : Research objectives help to define the specific aspects of the research question or problem that the study aims to address. This makes it easier to design a study that is focused and relevant.
  • To guide the research design: Research objectives help to determine the research design, including the research methods, data collection techniques, and sampling strategy. This ensures that the study is structured and efficient.
  • To measure progress : Research objectives provide a way to measure progress throughout the research process. They help the researcher to evaluate whether they are on track and meeting their goals.
  • To communicate the research goals : Research objectives provide a clear and concise description of the research goals. This helps to communicate the purpose of the study to other researchers, stakeholders, and the general public.

Advantages of Research Objectives

Here are some advantages of having well-defined research objectives:

  • Focus : Research objectives help to focus the research effort on specific areas of inquiry. By identifying clear research questions, the researcher can narrow down the scope of the study and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information.
  • Clarity : Clearly stated research objectives provide a roadmap for the research study. They provide a clear direction for the research, making it easier for the researcher to stay on track and achieve their goals.
  • Measurability : Well-defined research objectives provide measurable outcomes that can be used to evaluate the success of the research project. This helps to ensure that the research is effective and that the research goals are achieved.
  • Feasibility : Research objectives help to ensure that the research project is feasible. By clearly defining the research goals, the researcher can identify the resources required to achieve those goals and determine whether those resources are available.
  • Relevance : Research objectives help to ensure that the research study is relevant and meaningful. By identifying specific research questions, the researcher can ensure that the study addresses important issues and contributes to the existing body of knowledge.

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How to Write Research Objectives

How to Write Research Objectives

3-minute read

  • 22nd November 2021

Writing a research paper, thesis, or dissertation ? If so, you’ll want to state your research objectives in the introduction of your paper to make it clear to your readers what you’re trying to accomplish. But how do you write effective research objectives? In this post, we’ll look at two key topics to help you do this:

  • How to use your research aims as a basis for developing objectives.
  • How to use SMART criteria to refine your research objectives.

For more advice on how to write strong research objectives, see below.

Research Aims and Objectives

There is an important difference between research aims and research objectives:

  • A research aim defines the main purpose of your research. As such, you can think of your research aim as answering the question “What are you doing?”
  • Research objectives (as most studies will have more than one) are the steps you will take to fulfil your aims. As such, your objectives should answer the question “How are you conducting your research?”

For instance, an example research aim could be:

This study will investigate the link between dehydration and the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in intensive care patients in Australia.

To develop a set of research objectives, you would then break down the various steps involved in meeting said aim. For example:

This study will investigate the link between dehydration and the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in intensive care patients in Australia. To achieve this, the study objectives w ill include:

  • Replicat ing a small Singaporean study into the role of dehydration in UTIs in hospital patients (Sepe, 2018) in a larger Australian cohort.
  • Trialing the use of intravenous fluids for intensive care patients to prevent dehydration.
  • Assessing the relationship between the age of patients and quantities of intravenous fluids needed to counter dehydration.

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Note that the objectives don’t go into any great detail here. The key is to briefly summarize each component of your study. You can save details for how you will conduct the research for the methodology section of your paper.

Make Your Research Objectives SMART

A great way to refine your research objectives is to use SMART criteria . Borrowed from the world of project management, there are many versions of this system. However, we’re going to focus on developing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound objectives.

In other words, a good research objective should be all of the following:

  • S pecific – Is the objective clear and well-defined?
  • M easurable – How will you know when the objective has been achieved? Is there a way to measure the thing you’re seeking to do?
  • A chievable – Do you have the support and resources necessary to undertake this action? Are you being overly ambitious with this objective?
  • R elevant – Is this objective vital for fulfilling your research aim?
  • T imebound – Can this action be realistically undertaken in the time you have?

If you follow this system, your research objectives will be much stronger.

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Better Thesis

  • Getting started
  • Criteria for a problem formulation
  • Find who and what you are looking for
  • Too broad, too narrow, or o.k.?
  • Test your knowledge
  • Lesson 5: Meeting your supervisor
  • Getting started: summary
  • Literature search
  • Searching for articles
  • Searching for Data
  • Databases provided by your library
  • Other useful search tools
  • Free text, truncating and exact phrase
  • Combining search terms – Boolean operators
  • Keep track of your search strategies
  • Problems finding your search terms?
  • Different sources, different evaluations
  • Extract by relevance
  • Lesson 4: Obtaining literature
  • Literature search: summary
  • Research methods
  • Combining qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Collecting data
  • Analysing data
  • Strengths and limitations
  • Explanatory, analytical and experimental studies
  • The Nature of Secondary Data
  • How to Conduct a Systematic Review
  • Directional Policy Research
  • Strategic Policy Research
  • Operational Policy Research
  • Conducting Research Evaluation
  • Research Methods: Summary
  • Project management
  • Project budgeting
  • Data management plan
  • Quality Control
  • Project control
  • Project management: Summary
  • Writing process
  • Title page, abstract, foreword, abbreviations, table of contents
  • Introduction, methods, results
  • Discussion, conclusions, recomendations, references, appendices, layout
  • Use citations correctly
  • Use references correctly
  • Bibliographic software
  • Writing process – summary
  • Getting started /

Lesson 3: Research objectives

While your problem formulation serves to describe the aim of your thesis, the objectives provide an accurate description of the specific actions you will take in order to reach this aim. As with the problem formulation, the overall objective should be framed in a single sentence.

Once again, take a look at the problem formulation from the previous lesson: “Is the level of knowledge on recommended nutritional practices related to the nutritional status of pregnant women attending antenatal care in Northern Uganda?”

The correspondent overall objective should be written as an infinitive sentence e.g.: “To analyse the association between nutritional knowledge and the nutritional status of pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) in Northern Uganda.

Here you see that the overall objective states exactly how you intend to address your problem: “I want to find the answer to problem A, by completing action B”. You then have to explain or detail action B through a set of specific objectives (usually between two and four), e.g.:

  • To assess the knowledge level among ANC attendees on the recommended nutritional practices during pregnancy
  • To assess the nutritional status of pregnant women attending ANC
  • To analyse the statistical association between nutritional knowledge level and nutritional status in pregnant women attending ANC

Each specific objective consists of one infinitive sentence and should be phrased in a way that makes it possible to draw a conclusion from within the scope of the thesis.

The more precisely you formulate your specific objectives, the simpler it will be to define the type of study and which method(s) you will use in your further research. You can refine your specific objective by clearly stating if your given action is to understand, analyse or create – in tune with the hierarchy of learning objectives and the key to the assessment of knowledge content as found in for example Bloom’s taxonomy. In this way, your specific objectives will signal your level of ambition as well as where you will place the greatest effort in your thesis.

TIP! Your well-defined research objectives will help you identify the type of study you will do. Practical limitations and/or advice from your supervisor may require that you reformulate all or some of your objectives. Don’t worry; this is all part of the research process.

Do you now know how to formulate objectives? Test your knowledge in the following.

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Research-Methodology

Formulating Research Aims and Objectives

Formulating research aim and objectives in an appropriate manner is one of the most important aspects of your thesis. This is because research aim and objectives determine the scope, depth and the overall direction of the research. Research question is the central question of the study that has to be answered on the basis of research findings.

Research aim emphasizes what needs to be achieved within the scope of the research, by the end of the research process. Achievement of research aim provides answer to the research question.

Research objectives divide research aim into several parts and address each part separately. Research aim specifies WHAT needs to be studied and research objectives comprise a number of steps that address HOW research aim will be achieved.

As a rule of dumb, there would be one research aim and several research objectives. Achievement of each research objective will lead to the achievement of the research aim.

Consider the following as an example:

Research title: Effects of organizational culture on business profitability: a case study of Virgin Atlantic

Research aim: To assess the effects of Virgin Atlantic organizational culture on business profitability

Following research objectives would facilitate the achievement of this aim:

  • Analyzing the nature of organizational culture at Virgin Atlantic by September 1, 2022
  • Identifying factors impacting Virgin Atlantic organizational culture by September 16, 2022
  • Analyzing impacts of Virgin Atlantic organizational culture on employee performances by September 30, 2022
  • Providing recommendations to Virgin Atlantic strategic level management in terms of increasing the level of effectiveness of organizational culture by October 5, 2022

Figure below illustrates additional examples in formulating research aims and objectives:

Formulating Research Aims and Objectives

Formulation of research question, aim and objectives

Common mistakes in the formulation of research aim relate to the following:

1. Choosing the topic too broadly . This is the most common mistake. For example, a research title of “an analysis of leadership practices” can be classified as too broad because the title fails to answer the following questions:

a) Which aspects of leadership practices? Leadership has many aspects such as employee motivation, ethical behaviour, strategic planning, change management etc. An attempt to cover all of these aspects of organizational leadership within a single research will result in an unfocused and poor work.

b) An analysis of leadership practices in which country? Leadership practices tend to be different in various countries due to cross-cultural differences, legislations and a range of other region-specific factors. Therefore, a study of leadership practices needs to be country-specific.

c) Analysis of leadership practices in which company or industry? Similar to the point above, analysis of leadership practices needs to take into account industry-specific and/or company-specific differences, and there is no way to conduct a leadership research that relates to all industries and organizations in an equal manner.

Accordingly, as an example “a study into the impacts of ethical behaviour of a leader on the level of employee motivation in US healthcare sector” would be a more appropriate title than simply “An analysis of leadership practices”.

2. Setting an unrealistic aim . Formulation of a research aim that involves in-depth interviews with Apple strategic level management by an undergraduate level student can be specified as a bit over-ambitious. This is because securing an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook or members of Apple Board of Directors might not be easy. This is an extreme example of course, but you got the idea. Instead, you may aim to interview the manager of your local Apple store and adopt a more feasible strategy to get your dissertation completed.

3. Choosing research methods incompatible with the timeframe available . Conducting interviews with 20 sample group members and collecting primary data through 2 focus groups when only three months left until submission of your dissertation can be very difficult, if not impossible. Accordingly, timeframe available need to be taken into account when formulating research aims and objectives and selecting research methods.

Moreover, research objectives need to be formulated according to SMART principle,

 where the abbreviation stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Examples of SMART research objectives

At the conclusion part of your research project you will need to reflect on the level of achievement of research aims and objectives. In case your research aims and objectives are not fully achieved by the end of the study, you will need to discuss the reasons. These may include initial inappropriate formulation of research aims and objectives, effects of other variables that were not considered at the beginning of the research or changes in some circumstances during the research process.

Research Aims and Objectives

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21 Research Objectives Examples (Copy and Paste)

research aim and research objectives, explained below

Research objectives refer to the definitive statements made by researchers at the beginning of a research project detailing exactly what a research project aims to achieve.

These objectives are explicit goals clearly and concisely projected by the researcher to present a clear intention or course of action for his or her qualitative or quantitative study. 

Research objectives are typically nested under one overarching research aim. The objectives are the steps you’ll need to take in order to achieve the aim (see the examples below, for example, which demonstrate an aim followed by 3 objectives, which is what I recommend to my research students).

Research Objectives vs Research Aims

Research aim and research objectives are fundamental constituents of any study, fitting together like two pieces of the same puzzle.

The ‘research aim’ describes the overarching goal or purpose of the study (Kumar, 2019). This is usually a broad, high-level purpose statement, summing up the central question that the research intends to answer.

Example of an Overarching Research Aim:

“The aim of this study is to explore the impact of climate change on crop productivity.” 

Comparatively, ‘research objectives’ are concrete goals that underpin the research aim, providing stepwise actions to achieve the aim.

Objectives break the primary aim into manageable, focused pieces, and are usually characterized as being more specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Examples of Specific Research Objectives:

1. “To examine the effects of rising temperatures on the yield of rice crops during the upcoming growth season.” 2. “To assess changes in rainfall patterns in major agricultural regions over the first decade of the twenty-first century (2000-2010).” 3. “To analyze the impact of changing weather patterns on crop diseases within the same timeframe.”

The distinction between these two terms, though subtle, is significant for successfully conducting a study. The research aim provides the study with direction, while the research objectives set the path to achieving this aim, thereby ensuring the study’s efficiency and effectiveness.

How to Write Research Objectives

I usually recommend to my students that they use the SMART framework to create their research objectives.

SMART is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It provides a clear method of defining solid research objectives and helps students know where to start in writing their objectives (Locke & Latham, 2013).

Each element of this acronym adds a distinct dimension to the framework, aiding in the creation of comprehensive, well-delineated objectives.

Here is each step:

  • Specific : We need to avoid ambiguity in our objectives. They need to be clear and precise (Doran, 1981). For instance, rather than stating the objective as “to study the effects of social media,” a more focused detail would be “to examine the effects of social media use (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) on the academic performance of college students.”
  • Measurable: The measurable attribute provides a clear criterion to determine if the objective has been met (Locke & Latham, 2013). A quantifiable element, such as a percentage or a number, adds a measurable quality. For example, “to increase response rate to the annual customer survey by 10%,” makes it easier to ascertain achievement.
  • Achievable: The achievable aspect encourages researchers to craft realistic objectives, resembling a self-check mechanism to ensure the objectives align with the scope and resources at disposal (Doran, 1981). For example, “to interview 25 participants selected randomly from a population of 100” is an attainable objective as long as the researcher has access to these participants.
  • Relevance : Relevance, the fourth element, compels the researcher to tailor the objectives in alignment with overarching goals of the study (Locke & Latham, 2013). This is extremely important – each objective must help you meet your overall one-sentence ‘aim’ in your study.
  • Time-Bound: Lastly, the time-bound element fosters a sense of urgency and prioritization, preventing procrastination and enhancing productivity (Doran, 1981). “To analyze the effect of laptop use in lectures on student engagement over the course of two semesters this year” expresses a clear deadline, thus serving as a motivator for timely completion.

You’re not expected to fit every single element of the SMART framework in one objective, but across your objectives, try to touch on each of the five components.

Research Objectives Examples

1. Field: Psychology

Aim: To explore the impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance in college students.

  • Objective 1: To compare cognitive test scores of students with less than six hours of sleep and those with 8 or more hours of sleep.
  • Objective 2: To investigate the relationship between class grades and reported sleep duration.
  • Objective 3: To survey student perceptions and experiences on how sleep deprivation affects their cognitive capabilities.

2. Field: Environmental Science

Aim: To understand the effects of urban green spaces on human well-being in a metropolitan city.

  • Objective 1: To assess the physical and mental health benefits of regular exposure to urban green spaces.
  • Objective 2: To evaluate the social impacts of urban green spaces on community interactions.
  • Objective 3: To examine patterns of use for different types of urban green spaces. 

3. Field: Technology

Aim: To investigate the influence of using social media on productivity in the workplace.

  • Objective 1: To measure the amount of time spent on social media during work hours.
  • Objective 2: To evaluate the perceived impact of social media use on task completion and work efficiency.
  • Objective 3: To explore whether company policies on social media usage correlate with different patterns of productivity.

4. Field: Education

Aim: To examine the effectiveness of online vs traditional face-to-face learning on student engagement and achievement.

  • Objective 1: To compare student grades between the groups exposed to online and traditional face-to-face learning.
  • Objective 2: To assess student engagement levels in both learning environments.
  • Objective 3: To collate student perceptions and preferences regarding both learning methods.

5. Field: Health

Aim: To determine the impact of a Mediterranean diet on cardiac health among adults over 50.

  • Objective 1: To assess changes in cardiovascular health metrics after following a Mediterranean diet for six months.
  • Objective 2: To compare these health metrics with a similar group who follow their regular diet.
  • Objective 3: To document participants’ experiences and adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

6. Field: Environmental Science

Aim: To analyze the impact of urban farming on community sustainability.

  • Objective 1: To document the types and quantity of food produced through urban farming initiatives.
  • Objective 2: To assess the effect of urban farming on local communities’ access to fresh produce.
  • Objective 3: To examine the social dynamics and cooperative relationships in the creating and maintaining of urban farms.

7. Field: Sociology

Aim: To investigate the influence of home offices on work-life balance during remote work.

  • Objective 1: To survey remote workers on their perceptions of work-life balance since setting up home offices.
  • Objective 2: To conduct an observational study of daily work routines and family interactions in a home office setting.
  • Objective 3: To assess the correlation, if any, between physical boundaries of workspaces and mental boundaries for work in the home setting.

8. Field: Economics

Aim: To evaluate the effects of minimum wage increases on small businesses.

  • Objective 1: To analyze cost structures, pricing changes, and profitability of small businesses before and after minimum wage increases.
  • Objective 2: To survey small business owners on the strategies they employ to navigate minimum wage increases.
  • Objective 3: To examine employment trends in small businesses in response to wage increase legislation.

9. Field: Education

Aim: To explore the role of extracurricular activities in promoting soft skills among high school students.

  • Objective 1: To assess the variety of soft skills developed through different types of extracurricular activities.
  • Objective 2: To compare self-reported soft skills between students who participate in extracurricular activities and those who do not.
  • Objective 3: To investigate the teachers’ perspectives on the contribution of extracurricular activities to students’ skill development.

10. Field: Technology

Aim: To assess the impact of virtual reality (VR) technology on the tourism industry.

  • Objective 1: To document the types and popularity of VR experiences available in the tourism market.
  • Objective 2: To survey tourists on their interest levels and satisfaction rates with VR tourism experiences.
  • Objective 3: To determine whether VR tourism experiences correlate with increased interest in real-life travel to the simulated destinations.

11. Field: Biochemistry

Aim: To examine the role of antioxidants in preventing cellular damage.

  • Objective 1: To identify the types and quantities of antioxidants in common fruits and vegetables.
  • Objective 2: To determine the effects of various antioxidants on free radical neutralization in controlled lab tests.
  • Objective 3: To investigate potential beneficial impacts of antioxidant-rich diets on long-term cellular health.

12. Field: Linguistics

Aim: To determine the influence of early exposure to multiple languages on cognitive development in children.

  • Objective 1: To assess cognitive development milestones in monolingual and multilingual children.
  • Objective 2: To document the number and intensity of language exposures for each group in the study.
  • Objective 3: To investigate the specific cognitive advantages, if any, enjoyed by multilingual children.

13. Field: Art History

Aim: To explore the impact of the Renaissance period on modern-day art trends.

  • Objective 1: To identify key characteristics and styles of Renaissance art.
  • Objective 2: To analyze modern art pieces for the influence of the Renaissance style.
  • Objective 3: To survey modern-day artists for their inspirations and the influence of historical art movements on their work.

14. Field: Cybersecurity

Aim: To assess the effectiveness of two-factor authentication (2FA) in preventing unauthorized system access.

  • Objective 1: To measure the frequency of unauthorized access attempts before and after the introduction of 2FA.
  • Objective 2: To survey users about their experiences and challenges with 2FA implementation.
  • Objective 3: To evaluate the efficacy of different types of 2FA (SMS-based, authenticator apps, biometrics, etc.).

15. Field: Cultural Studies

Aim: To analyze the role of music in cultural identity formation among ethnic minorities.

  • Objective 1: To document the types and frequency of traditional music practices within selected ethnic minority communities.
  • Objective 2: To survey community members on the role of music in their personal and communal identity.
  • Objective 3: To explore the resilience and transmission of traditional music practices in contemporary society.

16. Field: Astronomy

Aim: To explore the impact of solar activity on satellite communication.

  • Objective 1: To categorize different types of solar activities and their frequencies of occurrence.
  • Objective 2: To ascertain how variations in solar activity may influence satellite communication.
  • Objective 3: To investigate preventative and damage-control measures currently in place during periods of high solar activity.

17. Field: Literature

Aim: To examine narrative techniques in contemporary graphic novels.

  • Objective 1: To identify a range of narrative techniques employed in this genre.
  • Objective 2: To analyze the ways in which these narrative techniques engage readers and affect story interpretation.
  • Objective 3: To compare narrative techniques in graphic novels to those found in traditional printed novels.

18. Field: Renewable Energy

Aim: To investigate the feasibility of solar energy as a primary renewable resource within urban areas.

  • Objective 1: To quantify the average sunlight hours across urban areas in different climatic zones. 
  • Objective 2: To calculate the potential solar energy that could be harnessed within these areas.
  • Objective 3: To identify barriers or challenges to widespread solar energy implementation in urban settings and potential solutions.

19. Field: Sports Science

Aim: To evaluate the role of pre-game rituals in athlete performance.

  • Objective 1: To identify the variety and frequency of pre-game rituals among professional athletes in several sports.
  • Objective 2: To measure the impact of pre-game rituals on individual athletes’ performance metrics.
  • Objective 3: To examine the psychological mechanisms that might explain the effects (if any) of pre-game ritual on performance.

20. Field: Ecology

Aim: To investigate the effects of urban noise pollution on bird populations.

  • Objective 1: To record and quantify urban noise levels in various bird habitats.
  • Objective 2: To measure bird population densities in relation to noise levels.
  • Objective 3: To determine any changes in bird behavior or vocalization linked to noise levels.

21. Field: Food Science

Aim: To examine the influence of cooking methods on the nutritional value of vegetables.

  • Objective 1: To identify the nutrient content of various vegetables both raw and after different cooking processes.
  • Objective 2: To compare the effect of various cooking methods on the nutrient retention of these vegetables.
  • Objective 3: To propose cooking strategies that optimize nutrient retention.

The Importance of Research Objectives

The importance of research objectives cannot be overstated. In essence, these guideposts articulate what the researcher aims to discover, understand, or examine (Kothari, 2014).

When drafting research objectives, it’s essential to make them simple and comprehensible, specific to the point of being quantifiable where possible, achievable in a practical sense, relevant to the chosen research question, and time-constrained to ensure efficient progress (Kumar, 2019). 

Remember that a good research objective is integral to the success of your project, offering a clear path forward for setting out a research design , and serving as the bedrock of your study plan. Each objective must distinctly address a different dimension of your research question or problem (Kothari, 2014). Always bear in mind that the ultimate purpose of your research objectives is to succinctly encapsulate your aims in the clearest way possible, facilitating a coherent, comprehensive and rational approach to your planned study, and furnishing a scientific roadmap for your journey into the depths of knowledge and research (Kumar, 2019). 

Kothari, C.R (2014). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques . New Delhi: New Age International.

Kumar, R. (2019). Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners .New York: SAGE Publications.

Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management review, 70 (11), 35-36.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2013). New Developments in Goal Setting and Task Performance . New York: Routledge.

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How to Write Objectives in a Research Proposal

Last Updated: May 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Felipe Corredor . Felipe is a Senior College Admissions Consultant at American College Counselors with over seven years of experience. He specializes in helping clients from all around the world gain admission into America's top universities through private, one-on-one consulting. He helps guide clients through the entire college admissions process and perfect every aspect of their college applications. Felipe earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Chicago and recently received his MBA. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 121,774 times.

A research proposal is a detailed outline for a significant research project. They’re common for class assignments, capstone papers, grant applications, and even job applications in some fields, so it's possible you'll have to prepare one at some point. The objectives are a very important part of a research proposal because they outline where the project is headed and what it will accomplish. Developing objectives can be a little tricky, so take some time to consider them. Then work on wording them carefully so your readers understand your goals. With clear objectives, your research proposal will be much stronger.

Brainstorming Your Objectives

Step 1 State your main research question to guide your ideas.

  • For example, your research question might be “What is the effect of prolonged TV-watching on children?” You can then use that question to build your study around.
  • Narrow down your research topic if it’s too broad. A broad research topic makes breaking the objectives down much more difficult. A research question like “How can we save the environment?” is a huge question. Something like “What safety measures would prevent ocean pollution?” is more specific and attainable. [2] X Research source

Step 2 Describe the ultimate goal of your study.

  • Remember that in most cases, you shouldn’t state that your study will prove or disprove something exactly since you haven’t done the work yet. Don’t say “This study proves that honey is not an effective treatment for acne.” Instead, make it something like “This study will demonstrate whether or not honey is an effective treatment for acne.”

Step 3 Break that goal down into sub-categories to develop your objectives.

  • If your research question was “What is the effect of prolonged TV-watching on children?” then there are a few categories you could look at. Objectives wrapped up within that question might be: 1) the incidence of eyestrain among children who watch a lot of TV, 2) their muscular development, 3) their level of socialization with other children. Design your objectives around answering these questions.

Step 4 Limit your objectives to 3 to 5 at most.

  • You could always state in your research proposal that you plan to design future experiments or studies to answer additional questions. Most experiments leave unanswered questions and subsequent studies try to tackle them.

Step 5 Divide your objectives into 1 general and 3-4 specific ones.

  • A general objective might be "Establish the effect of diet on mental health." Some specific goals in that project could be 1) Determine if processed foods make depression worse, 2) Identify foods that improve mood, 3) Measure if portion sizes have an impact on mood.
  • Not all research proposals want you to divide between general and specific goals. Remember to follow the instructions for the proposal you're writing.

Step 6 Assess each objective using the SMART acronym.

  • The best goals align with each letter in the SMART acronym. The weaker ones are missing some letters. For example, you might come up with a topic that’s specific, measurable, and time-bound, but not realistic or attainable. This is a weak objective because you probably can’t achieve it.
  • Think about the resources at your disposal. Some objectives might be doable with the right equipment, but if you don’t have that equipment, then you can’t achieve that goal. For example, you might want to map DNA structures, but you can’t view DNA without an electron microscope.
  • Ask the same question for your entire project. Is it attainable overall? You don’t want to try to achieve too much and overwhelm yourself.
  • The specific words in this acronym sometimes change, but the sentiment is the same. Your objectives should overall be clear and specific, measurable, feasible, and limited by time.

Using the Right Language

Step 1 Start each objective with an action verb.

  • Verbs like use, understand, or study is vague and weak. Instead, choose words like calculate, compare, and assess.
  • Your objective list might read like this: 1) Compare the muscle development of children who play video games to children who don’t, 2) Assess whether or not video games cause eyestrain, 3) Determine if videogames inhibit a child’s socialization skills.
  • Some proposals use the infinitive form of verbs, like “to measure” or “to determine.” This is also fine but refer to the proposal instructions to see if this is correct.

Step 2 State each objective clearly and concisely.

  • You can further explain your objectives further in the research proposal. No need to elaborate a lot when you’re just listing them.
  • If you’re having trouble shortening an objective to 1 sentence, then you probably need to split it into 2 objectives. It might also be too complicated for this project.

Step 3 Use specific language so readers know what your goals are.

  • For example, “Determine if sunlight is harmful” is too vague. Instead, state the objective as “Determine if prolonged sun exposure increases subjects’ risk of skin cancer.”
  • It’s helpful to let someone else read your proposal and see if they understand the objectives. If they’re confused, then you need to be more specific.

Step 4 State your objectives as outcomes rather than a process.

  • For example, don’t say “Measure the effect of radiation on living tissue.” Instead, say “Determine what level of radiation is dangerous to living tissue.”
  • Remember, don’t state the objectives as you’ve already done the experiments. They’re still not answered.

Writing the Objectives

Step 1 Insert your objectives after your introduction and problem statement.

  • This is a common format for research proposals, but not universal. Always follow the format that the instructions provided.
  • Depending on how long your introduction has to be, you might also list the objectives there. This depends on whether or not you have room.

Step 2 Note the objectives...

  • At the very least, the abstract should list the general objective. This tells the readers what your study is working towards.

Step 3 Introduce the section with your general objective first.

  • In some research projects, the general objective is called a long-term goal instead. Adjust your language to the proposal requirements.
  • Some proposals directions may just want the specific objectives rather than a division between the general and specific ones. Don’t divide them if the instructions tell you not to.

Step 4 List your specific objectives next.

  • Your introduction may be as follows: "My long-term objective with this project is determining whether or not prolonged video-game playing is harmful to children under 5. I will accomplish this aim by meeting the following objectives: 1) Compare the muscle development of children who play videogames to children who don’t 2) Assess whether or not videogames cause eyestrain 3) Determine if videogames inhibit a child’s socialization skills"
  • The specific objectives are usually listed as a bullet or numbered points. However, follow the instructions given.

Research Proposal Templates

general objectives for thesis

Expert Q&A

  • It’s always a good idea to let someone else read your research proposals and make sure they’re clear. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Proofread! A great proposal could be ruined by typos and errors. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

general objectives for thesis

  • Some proposal instructions are very specific, and applicants that don’t follow the format are eliminated. Always follow the instructions given to stay within the requirements. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

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Write a Synopsis for Research

  • ↑ https://uk.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-assets/15490_book_item_15490.pdf
  • ↑ https://research-methodology.net/research-methodology/research-aims-and-objectives/
  • ↑ https://www.uh.edu/~lsong5/documents/A%20sample%20proposal%20with%20comment.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3282423/
  • ↑ https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/evaluation/pdf/brief3b.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.open.edu/openlearncreate/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=231&section=8.6.2
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6398294/
  • ↑ https://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0601009.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.bpcc.edu/institutional-advancement-grants/how-to-write-goals-and-objectives-for-grant-proposals
  • ↑ https://guides.library.illinois.edu/c.php?g=504643&p=3454882

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General objectives and specific objectives

The general and specific objectives are fundamental elements for the accomplishment of academic works, like for example, a thesis of degree.

The  general objective is a statement that summarizes the central idea and purpose  of a work.

The  specific objectives detail the processes necessary  for the complete accomplishment of the work.

General objective

The general objective should present the central idea of ​​an academic work, succinctly and objectively stating the purpose of the study and the goal to be achieved.

In other words, the general objective synthesizes the hypothesis or problem to be investigated, specifies the purpose of the study and defines the topic.

General objective example

“Verify if there is a relationship between the increase in Internet access and the decrease in the use of television in the southwestern region of Mexico.”

The purpose of the work is expressed in “verifying if there is a relationship between the increase in Internet access and the decrease in the use of television.” The delimitation is expressed in “in the southwestern region of Mexico.”

Specific objectives

The specific objectives are directly related to the general objectives, detailing the processes necessary for their realization. In this way, the specific objectives serve as a guide for how the work will be approached.

The specific objectives should present in detail the goals of the project. This is how the object studied is related to its particularities and the steps to be followed to meet the general objective are identified.

Example of specific objectives

Continuing with the previous example, the specific objectives could be:

  • Analyze the increase in Internet access in the last year;
  • Analyze the number of televisions in homes in the southwestern region of Mexico;
  • Verify the use of television in homes in the southwestern region of Mexico;
  • Compare the standard of increasing Internet access with a decrease in the use of televisions.

See also  Goal and objective .

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How to Write Research Objectives in Research Proposal

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by  Antony W

January 26, 2022

general objectives for thesis

In this guide, you’ll learn how to write objectives in a research proposal, step-by-step. Whether your proposal is for a grant application, a class assignment, or a capstone paper, we’ll give you the insight you need to develop your objectives and get everything right the first time.

Objectives are important in a research proposal because they give a potential reader (or your target audience) a clear insight on what your project is about, where it’s headed, and what it’s likely to accomplish. Clear objectives make the project easy to write, not to mention that you end up with a stronger proposal that easily convinces your reader.

Developing reasonable objectives for a research proposal isn’t as straightforward. You have to build them on the main theme of your research’s aim. So you do have to take some time to write and look at them with careful consideration.

In the rest of this guide, we’ll give you some helpful tips that you can use to write the objectives the right way.

Brainstorm Your Research Objectives

Your research question plays an important role in the brainstorming stage because it helps you to figure out the objectives of your research proposal. Write down the research question, analyze it, and then think about the steps that you’d take to answer the question.

Instructors suggest narrowing down broad research question to make it easy to break down the objectives of the proposal. For example, a research question such as “What safety measures can we take to protect children from cyber bullying” is more specific and therefore easily attainable. In other words, your research question should be as specific as possible.

It’s in the brainstorming stage that you identify and describe the primary goal of your study. State the expected result more definitely, so that a reader knows exactly what you want a proposed project to achieve. Refrain from stating that your research seeks to prove or disprove an issue. You haven’t done research at this point so there can’t be an absolute certainty.

Now that you have your research question and the goal of your study, determine what steps you’d take to approach your research. At this point, you should be able to break your goal down into small categories from which you can get your list of objectives.

Write down as many objective as you can find after breaking your goal down into sub-categories. Then identify 3 to 5 objectives that make the most sense. Narrowing down is important to ensure the assignment doesn’t overwhelm you and the project doesn’t end up rather unwieldy. Limiting the objectives to 5 at most also ensures you end up with a substantial project that answers the most important questions.

Your research proposal needs to have general and specific objective. A general objective is what you expect your research project to achieve in the long-term, and the specific objectives act as the building blocks for what you expect to achieve.

Determine whether your objectives are SMART. The last thing you want to waste your time on is a research objective that isn’t Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. If all your objectives meet all these criteria, then you have strong objectives for your study. If one or more of your objectives doesn’t pass this test, consider looking at your list and make changes accordingly.

Write the Objectives of Your Research Proposal

It’s important to understand the format of a research proposal before you start writing your objectives. Ideally, you’ll start your research proposal with an introduction and your research question. After laying a foundation and establishing a direction for your project, list the general and specific objectives that you came up with in the brainstorming stage.

Some instructors advise that students should include abstract in their research proposals. If the assignment guideline requires that you give a detailed summary of the proposal, include the research objectives in this section but don’t go into detailed explanation for each.

Start with the general objective first. Give a short description about the research project and then mention its ultimate goal. Follow this with the most specific objectives of the project in a numbered list, making sure you give each objective a number.

Do check the assignment brief to know what type of objective you should include in the project. That’s because some instructors often ask for more specific objectives rather than diving them into two. Always rely on the instructions provided, even if you think they state contrary to what you’ve learned over the years. 

Use an Appropriate Language When Writing

The language you use to write a research proposal is just as significant as the formatting of the document itself. So you shouldn’t just write your objectives vaguely and expect to score good grades.

Instead of using a genera writing approach to write the objectives of a research proposal:

  • Begin each objective with verbs because they are all about actions. Verbs make each objective look not just dynamic but also actionable.
  • Each objective should not be more than a sentence long. Delete unnecessary and ambiguous words to make the language you use clear, simple, and actionable. If the sentence can make sense without a word or phrase, there’s no point having the word or phrase in the sentence.
  • Use a language used in the area of your study and make sure what you’re putting down in words is easy to read and understand. You don’t need specific data here, but make sure readers know what you intend the project to achieve. 

We can’t stress enough how significant it is to make your objectives as actionable as possible. Rather than making your objective read like questions, structure them such that they are definitive answers. That way, you’ll end up with a stronger proposal that’s equally interesting to read.

Get Help With Writing A Research Proposal

Do you need help with your research proposal writing but don’t know which academic writing service to trust? We’re here to help. Help for Assessment helps students understand their assignments and complete their research papers on time. Click here to place an order and we will help you get your research proposal written fast. 

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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The final part of clarifying your research project involves thinking in more detail about your research objectives . Research objectives should be closely related to the statement of the problem and summarise what you hope will be achieved by the study. For example, if the problem identified is low utilisation of antenatal care services, the general objective of the study could be to identify the reasons for this low uptake, in order to find ways of improving it.

Writing your research objectives clearly helps to:

  • Define the focus of your study
  • Clearly identify variables to be measured
  • Indicate the various steps to be involved
  • Establish the limits of the study
  • Avoid collection of any data that is not strictly necessary.

What do you think might happen if you started a research project, but hadn’t written any clear research objectives?

Without clearly written research objectives, you might be confused about the limits of the study, what data should be collected, or how to conduct the research.

Objectives can be general or specific. The general objective of your study states what you expect to achieve in general terms. Specific objectives break down the general objective into smaller, logically connected parts that systematically address the various aspects of the problem. Your specific objectives should specify exactly what you will do in each phase of your study, how, where, when and for what purpose.

How should your objectives be stated?

Your objectives should be stated using action verbs that are specific enough to be measured, for example: to compare, to calculate, to assess, to determine, to verify, to calculate, to describe, to explain, etc. Avoid the use of vague non-active verbs such as: to appreciate, to understand, to believe, to study, etc., because it is difficult to evaluate whether they have been achieved.

Case Study 13.3 General and specific objectives for a counselling project

A research study designed to assess the accessibility and acceptability of the Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Services for HIV infection in kebele X had the following general and specific objectives:

General objective: To identify factors that affects the acceptability of VCT services and to assess community attitudes towards comprehensive care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Specific objectives:

  • To assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of the community towards HIV/AIDS and VCT services.
  • To identify barriers and concerns related to VCT and its uptake.
  • To assess the awareness and perception of the study community regarding comprehensive care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

What is the difference between the specific objectives and the general objective of a research project? You can use the example in Case Study 13.3 to help you answer this question.

Specific objectives are detailed objectives that describe what will be researched during the study, whereas the general objective is a much broader statement about what the study aims to achieve overall.

In the next study session, we will move on to teach you about research strategies and alternative study designs that you may choose to conduct for a small-scale research project in your community.

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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

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Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

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Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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Daily Concepts

What are the general and specific objectives?

We explain what the general and specific objectives are, examples and the functions they fulfill. Characteristics and steps to carry them out.

General and Specific Objectives

When speaking of general and specific objectives, allusion is made to the goals set by a research, a project or an organization , classified based on the elements on which they focus and the specific approach they contemplate, as follows:

  • General objective. There is usually only one, since it encompasses the entirety of an investigation or a project, and is the primary goal to be achieved, that towards which all the efforts of an organization or all the chapters of a degree thesis contribute, for example.
  • Specific objectives. There are usually several, since each segment of an organization or each chapter of an investigation has its own goal to achieve, which is sub-edited or contained in the general objective.

A) Yes, the sum of all the specific objectives would have to give the general objective as a result Since the latter comprise the steps that must be taken first (and often in a successive or organized way) to reach the top of the ladder.

Examples of general and specific objectives

General and specific objectives

A simple example of general and specific objectives is the publication of a novel. The general objective is that: to write a novel and publish it in a publishing house.

But it encompasses many small steps to follow, many short-term goals to achieve and which will be the specific objectives: write the first chapter, write the second, and so on; then correct the first, correct the second, and so on until the end. And then find a publisher. All of them can be considered specific objectives.

Another simple example is quitting smoking as a general goal. But that happens by smoking one less cigarette each week, then buying half a pack, then buying only the few that are smoked a day and so on until you quit smoking completely. All these previous steps would be specific objectives.

Role of general and specific objectives

Normally, the objectives are raised before taking action or investigation , it is much more convenient to know where we want to go before starting to walk.

In other words, we can only find out which is the best route to success if we first know what the goal we have set ourselves is. That is why setting clear goals is part of any planning in any area.

For example: university research, technology projects, business plans and military strategies always have a goal set in advance. A) Yes, its effectiveness will depend on the method that is most convenient (ie: faster, safer, profitable … depending on the specific area).

Characteristics of the general and specific objectives

general and specific objectives

General objectives are easily defined: they are global ones, covering the entirety of a project or task. There may be more than one, of course, in cases where there are high general aspirations.

But usually only one is chosen , which will be the north towards which all efforts will outline separately. The general objective is usually the mission of the companies or the projects, and it is usually long-term.

Instead, specific objectives are usually short-term and circumscribe to concrete conditions, to individual goals. Any general objective can be broken down into a series of specific objectives, which must first be met in order to achieve the totality of the proposed global goal.

Steps to formulate objectives

To formulate objectives, various algorithms can be followed, but a very simple one would be the following:

  • Establish an ideal state of affairs. This means: dreaming. Think positive. Our general objective, the first that we must find, is that future and possible goal that we want, that place where we want to find ourselves and we are willing to strive for it.
  • Specify the general objective. The dream, the ideal vision, must be “translated” into concrete, achievable, measurable objectives, and inserted into a credible time sequence. For example: it is useless to consider losing weight from one day to the next, it is unreal; But if I set my mind to it over six months, I will have time to accomplish my specific goals.
  • Identify obstacles. Once I know where I want to go and how long it will take to get there, it’s time to see what things I will find along the way and how I can prepare for it. My specific objectives will thus be to overcome each of these obstacles, or each of the steps taken on the route that I intend to take.
  • Identify resources and skills. As soon as I know what my obstacles will be, I will be able to know what my strengths, strengths and weaknesses are, and I will be able to plan my specific goals based on them, so that they are as adapted to reality as possible.

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Privacy Overview

Research Objective Generator for Theses & Papers

Here's how to start using our objective generator for research:

  • Choose an action verb from the drop-down list.
  • Enter your aim.
  • Move the toggle if needed.
  • Click “Generate now” and enjoy a properly formulated objective.

In this article, you will find the definition of the research objective, its importance to the scientific paper, and practical tips that’ll help you to create a great one for your research.

  • ️✅ The Tool’s Benefits
  • ️🎯 Research Objective Basics
  • ️✍️ How to Write
  • ️✨ Research Objective Tips
  • ️🔍 Free Examples
  • ️🔗 References

✅ Research Objective Generator: the Benefits

A research objective is a crucial part of your paper that points to purpose of the study. Creating an effective research objective is a challenging task, even for experienced researchers.

Not sure how to do it?

No worries!

Our research objective generator can help you out.

Here are its main advantages:

🎯 Research Objective: the Basics

What is a research objective.

The research objective specifies how you are going to achieve your goal . It’s like a roadmap of your study that summarizes its aims, describes the results you expect to accomplish at the end, and helps you to keep track of your research.

The objective should always appear in the introduction of your paper or scientific article, right after the problem or thesis statement .

Importance of a Research Objective

Find below the list of reasons why a research objective is important.

The picture enumerates the functions of a research objective.

A good research objective is important because it:

  • Describes the scope of your study. It allows you to keep an eye on your findings.
  • Establishes the design of your research. It helps to choose the appropriate methods and procedures for data collection and measurement .
  • Defines data and factors you need to evaluate. It narrows down your research to several measurable components you have to assess or compare.
  • Specifies the contribution of your project to existing research. That’s a great way to show you know the studies conducted in your field and have something valuable to add to them.

✍️ How to Write a Research Objective

To write a strong and clear research objective, follow our three-step guide.

Step 1 - Define the Central Point of Your Research

It’s the first and the most crucial step. Begin with looking through the literature and studies in your area to determine the gaps in existing research . Then, consider how your project can fill these gaps and formulate the primary aim and objective.

Step 2 - Break Down Your Point into Several Objectives

So, you have the primary objective that states what you intend to achieve through your research. Now, it’s time to break it down. Think about what smaller steps you can take to attain your goal. These will be your specific, narrow objectives.

Step 3 - Write Down Your Objectives Using the SMART Format

The SMART format will help you to achieve your goals by keeping them clear and easy to understand.

The picture explains what the SMART format means.

A SMART objective is:

✨ Research Objective Writing Tips

To formulate effective research objectives, follow these actionable tips:

  • Keep them realistic. Ensure you can actually achieve your goals. Make them simple enough to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • Define your goals. You must distinctly understand what issue you are going to solve with your research. For example, you can start by making a list of questions and then using them to formulate your research aims. After you have your goals, think about how you will achieve them—these will be your objectives.
  • Use action verbs. Strong action verbs make your objectives measurable and more actionable.
  • Proofread your objectives. To make your research competent and reliable, ensure your writing is free of typos and grammar mistakes.
  • Ask for feedback. Make a draft of your objectives and ask a peer to review them. That’s a perfect way to ensure your research goals are clear to others.

🔍 Research Objectives Examples

Finally, let’s take a look at some practical examples and review them:

This research aims to analyze the reasons for teenage smoking, identify the change in the smoking rates among teenagers for the last year, and map out actionable solutions to address the issue.

This research aims to assess the influence of flipped classroom learning method on student scores and compare the scores of students exposed to flipped classroom learning method versus the direct instruction method.

This research aims to study the influence of deforestation on the animal species in the sample region in the past 5 years, evaluate the species extinction risk in the area, and propose practical solutions to the problem.

These objectives include strong action verbs (identify, analyze, assess, compare, map out, etc.), time limits, and measurable outcomes. Based on them, the researcher can decide on the methods to use and the variables to measure.

Now, you know everything to create a perfect objective for your research. Go for it! Or you can save your time and use our objective maker for research. It’ll generate a well-formulated research objective just in a few seconds!

If you need to write a thesis statement, try our thesis maker .

❓ Research Objective Generator FAQ

❓ how do you write a smart objective in research.

The first step to writing a SMART objective for your research is to determine your principal aim and consider how you will achieve it. Next, write down your objective and ensure it fits the following criteria: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

❓ What is a SMART research objective?

A SMART research objective is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. It means that the objective must include a precise, realistic task that is concise with the rest of the research, suppose some definite results, and be finished by a specific time.

❓ What are research objectives examples?

Research objectives show how you will address the aim of your research, for example: "This research aims to indicate the connection between a sedentary lifestyle and muscular atrophy, evaluate the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle, and map out practical solutions to the issue."

❓ What are the 5 SMART goals examples?

To check whether your goals are SMART, ask the following questions:

  • What’ll you achieve? (Specific)
  • How do you know it’s done? (Measurable)
  • Can you do it? (Achievable)
  • Is it concise with the study in general? (Relevant)
  • When will you accomplish it? (Time-based)

🔗 References

  • Research Objectives: Definition and How To Write Them: Indeed
  • Research Objectives: OpenLearn
  • Formulating Research Aims and Objectives: Oxford University Press
  • Defining Goals, Objectives, and Hypotheses: GitLab

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  • “Beyond GBS” organizations strengthen their ownership of end-to-end outcomes. They run GBS like a business in terms of performance, cost, and service levels, and they attract more attention from the C-suite.
  • They lead digitization initiatives, scale their best practices internally using consistent structures and processes globally, and provide new value-added services adjacent to their core delivery.
  • Implementing this model involves building a robust digital and data backbone, fostering internal partnerships, and redefining the GBS mandate to include value-added activities beyond traditional transactional processes.

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By  Fabrice Roghé ,  Sascha Kleebaur , and  Kai Sondermann

Key Takeaways

Once a revolutionary organization inside many companies, global business services (GBS) today stands at a crossroads. Created in the 1990s to centralize transactional tasks for finance, HR, and other internal units, many GBS functions have reached a strategic tipping point—requiring corporate leaders to make crucial decisions on the future of their GBS organizations.

A recent BCG study showed that only 41% of companies believe that GBS creates value. With that in mind, the leaders of these support functions must raise their game at a time when companies around the world face unprecedented challenges in how they operate. Marginal adjustments to GBS strategy are no longer sufficient.

As the limitations of traditional models become evident, GBS must transition from a purely operational role to a more strategic one. Although global business service organizations have been at the forefront of change in the past, they now need to reinvent themselves to build support and enabling functions that are more resilient, flexible, and scalable. They also need to expand their charters and provide more value-added activities such as collections and payments, customer management, and even sales functions.

The next generation of GBS functions are becoming more closely intertwined with corporate success—and the GBS model, as a key amplifier of change, is about to take center stage, creating value beyond its legacy contributions. GBS can lead the transformation of areas such as customer experience , operations , and worker training. This requires corporations to adopt a new mindset—and a new framework that we call “Beyond GBS.”

A Bold Vision for Global Business Services

Under the traditional GBS model, C-suite and GBS executives alike have focused largely on consolidating tasks, maximizing transactional processing efficiency, and minimizing costs by bundling resources and operating from low-cost locations around the world.

But the legacy model may have hit its limits: between 2009 and 2021, overhead costs—as measured by sales and general administration—grew 35% more than overall corporate margins, giving rise to what’s known as the “GBS value dilemma.”

This creates three imperatives for GBS organizations:

  • To further strengthen their ownership of end-to-end outcomes
  • To run GBS like a business in terms of performance, cost, and service levels
  • To attract more attention from the C-suite

The “Beyond GBS” model puts these imperatives into practice. It offers a bold vision, strategy, mandate, and governance structure that is aligned with the company’s strategic direction and initiatives and promoted by the group, business, and functional leadership. “Beyond GBS” organizations lead digitization initiatives, scale their best practices internally around the world using consistent structures and processes, and provide new value-added services adjacent to their core delivery.

Taking Support Functions to the Next Level

“Beyond GBS” is the highest of five levels in the support-function journey. At the first, or bottom, level are the roughly 15% of companies that either have no GBS function or have standalone centers siloed across multiple geographies. Companies at this level suffer the most: one company we’ve studied has 117,000 accounting cost centers for 72,000 employees, 150 reporting lines between shared services and the business units they support, and a $5 billion gap in cost optimization versus their peers.

The second level, representing 40% of companies, are those organizations still running multifunctional service factories. The third level and fourth levels, each representing another 20% of companies, consist of organizations with integrated global support functions.

The fifth, and highest, level consists of the roughly 5% of all companies who have gone beyond GBS. These companies have digitized transactional activities and developed effective platform deliveries and end-to-end solutions. They achieve all this while rebalancing workloads seamlessly between global worksites.

Reaching this top level remains a challenge for many companies. In our experience, GBS organizations achieve roughly 80% of the potential gains—the low-hanging fruit, in other words—if they depend on labor arbitrage, process efficiencies, and the first-time digitization of processes. Despite the complexity and high costs of most GBS initiatives, GBS teams tend to hit an early ceiling and incremental improvements tend to be small. This is particularly true for laggard GBS functions, which represent about two-thirds of all organizations.

The success of GBS organizations is mainly limited by weakly aligned top-management GBS priorities, a nonaligned target picture, and subsequently having a very rigid governance and ineffective steering of the GBS model. Leapfrogging from a less mature GBS model to an advanced one has only proven successful in isolated cases, given the lack of synchronized implementation across the organization. Thus, rather than focusing on incremental improvement of traditional practices—which add value for no more than 10% of companies—companies need to completely rethink and redesign the GBS function.

How to Get Started

Before implementing the best practices of the “Beyond GBS” model, corporate leaders must ensure that they have a firm foundation in place. That starts with an enhanced digital and data backbone with the latest technology solutions and continues with the following three building blocks:

  • An agile internal customer front line that brings GBS close to its customers and fosters rapid delivery of services and a responsive iteration of new offerings
  • A highly effective delivery platform that drives exceptional operations, focuses on value-adding activities, and attracts high-quality employees
  • A digital innovation center that delivers a steady stream of new capabilities and technologies, enabling constant improvement in the GBS unit’s interfaces and delivery platforms

Assured that a solid foundation is in place, organizations can then begin implementing the “Beyond GBS” model. There are five steps companies should take to unlock the most business value:

1. Forge internal “value partnerships.” This step repositions GBS teams from a siloed, transactional processing unit to a partner that can help other business units optimize their processes to create total company value through outcome- and impact-based solutions.

2. Boldly rescope your mandate. Leaders need to think beyond the transactional core mindset of the past to a bolder, broader, and even more radical vision of what GBS can provide. To be sure, transactional processing cannot be ignored. But by embracing AI and analytics, GBS can play a valuable role in ESG and compliance reporting and user experience design—all with a clear link to overall strategy and business outcomes. Once the foundation is secured, GBS leaders have an opportunity to sell the CEO and C-suite team on a broader charter.

3. Expand talent and capability access. To expand beyond extended-workbench thinking requires the creation of vibrant capability hubs and global capability teams that provide nonclassical GBS services, including R&D and other center-of-expertise activities. This shift allows these services to collocate to locations with the best mix of cost and talent. At the same time, attracting and retaining the best talent remain priorities and can be enhanced with upskilling and cross-skilling initiatives. This approach places greater emphasis on expertise and digital capabilities.

4. Rethink global ways of working. This critical step moves teams beyond the obligatory, if not forced, cross-functional and organizational alignment to a new model promoting institutionalized global ownership. This includes a globally organized mandate and the formation of distributed teams with global coverage. The goal is to maximize the contribution of global team members. GBS leaders can play a key role in fostering global functional ownership that enhances the contributions of these global teams.

5. Build in scale and resilience. The optimal setup for a “Beyond GBS” approach is a platform-based operating and technology model that provides agility, flexibility, and a healthy redundancy of globalized and localized services along a multicapability hub infrastructure that leverages external partners. The three key components of this model are a customer-centric interface, an agile (and digital) “center of competence,” and a global network of shared delivery platforms managed by the GBS team and vendors as needed. This setup ensures the company is globally resilient even as it scales—and enables the company to continuously rebalance workloads based on the geopolitical climate.

In the “Beyond GBS” model, vibrant service hubs are built around a globally consistent, modular approach that enables new “plug-and-play” services. This approach also allows for the collocation of noncore GBS functions at hubs to leverage GBS’s infrastructure costs and capabilities in the broader organizational ecosystem.

The main objective, of course, is to attract and retain the best talent while operating at the lowest costs. In addition, building out core process standards atop a digital and data backbone based on the latest tech solutions will create even more value. Leading these efforts are GBS’s global process owners, who will shape service operations globally and lead process optimization and digitization initiatives.

The evolution of the traditional GBS function into a more strategic business unit creates vast new opportunities for companies. By expanding beyond its historic back-office role, GBS teams can provide real value and drive impact rather than maintaining rigid structures and services. Solutions will become innovative and highly customized. And most important, “Beyond GBS” functions operate as business-like entities—actively managed by leading talent and measured against clear outcomes.

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Managing Director & Senior Partner

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Partner and Associate Director

Kai Sondermann

Partner and Associate Director, Organization Transformation

ABOUT BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP

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Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that question the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting, technology and design, and corporate and digital ventures. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and enabling them to make the world a better place.

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Analysis Ukraine's new commander-in-chief General Syrskyi has been issued a list of military priorities. A daunting list of challenges awaits him

Commander of the Ukrainian army, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, gives instructions in a shelter in Soledar.

The announcement of General Valerii Zaluzhnyi's dismissal last week had been a long time coming.

The Ukrainian military commander-in-chief commanded through the darkest hours of 2022 and the successes of the Kharkiv and Kherson offensives. It had become apparent over the past year that Zaluzhnyi's public comment on Ukrainian strategy, his intervention in the mobilisation debate and his inability to forge a military force that could execute a successful counteroffensive in 2023 all factored into his dismissal, announced by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on February 9.

Following Zaluzhnyi's dismissal, the commander of Ukrainian Ground Forces, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, was appointed as the new commander-in-chief. At the same time, Zelenskyy also provided him with explicit guidance . It represents an odd mix of strategic and tactical initiatives, including having more generals visit the front line.

Zelenskyy in front of a Ukrainian flag wearign a khaki t shirt

First, Zelenskyy directed that a strategy for 2024 be developed. Clearly the president is unhappy with the current proposed approach for Ukraine's defence. Syrskyi will need to quickly present a plan that balances defensive and offensive operations as well as reconstitutes and rotates elements of the Ukrainian military. He must also align Zelenskyy's political goals with existing military means.

A second Zelenskyy priority for his new commander-in-chief is to address logistics issues. This is about ensuring accountability for securing Western-provided weapons – and ensuring the right weapons and munitions get to the appropriate combat formations in a timely fashion. It is a big challenge given the dwindling military resources that the West is able to provide Ukraine.

Personnel, training and warfighting issues

Another imperative for Zelenskyy is fixing military personnel issues. There are shortfalls in the number and quality of combat soldiers, particularly infantry, which General Zaluzhnyi had hoped to resolve with the mobilisation law currently before the Ukrainian parliament. This mobilisation debate , which has political and military dimensions, is only one element of the personnel challenges facing the new commander-in-chief.

Training is another significant challenge, with many soldiers not receiving sufficient basic training because of a lack of time. The counteroffensive also demonstrated there were major shortfalls in combined arms training at scale as well as the battlefield integration of supporting elements such as engineers and air defence.

Zelenskyy has also stressed the importance of addressing the size and number of headquarters. Numerous headquarters filled with large staffs are not only a drain on people, they can often create delays in wartime decision-making. Many Western military institutions, including Australia, share this problem.

The final priority in Zelenskyy's statement is establishing Ukraine's new independent military service for uncrewed military vehicles. Ukraine has for two years been acting as a battlefield laboratory. The formation of this new institution reflects again how Ukraine is experimenting with new warfighting ideas and organisations. This is driving thinking about transformation in Western military forces more broadly.

Shortly after his appointment, General Syrskyi provided his initial guidance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces via his Telegram channel. In it, he emphasises reconstituting the Ukrainian Armed Forces after a very tough 2023, improving training, and the continued absorption of new and evolved technology. He also highlights the requirement for the Ukrainian military to keep learning, adapting and developing new warfighting concepts, describing how "only changes and constant improvement of the means and methods of warfare will make it possible to achieve success".

Still, many of the keys to Syrskyi's success lie outside his remit. Securing Western military support is the responsibility of the defence minister, and is a process subject to the whims of various national leaders and parliaments. Even if the dysfunction of the US Congress is overcome, the West is running out of weapons, artillery and air defence munitions to give Ukraine. The Ukraine conflict, which is also a war of industrial systems, could be determined by production levels this year.

A polarising figure

The Ukrainian mobilisation debate will also have a significant impact on the capability of its military over the next 12 months. Combat forces on the front line are exhausted, under strength and short of important munitions . An influx of fresh conscripts is needed to rebuild units with personnel shortages and rotate brigades out for rest. Syrskyi has little influence in this mobilisation debate, but its outcome will be a crucial foundation for his plans this year and beyond.

A polarising figure in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Syrskyi therefore has a complex set of challenges before him. He must conduct an aggressive defence of his homeland, destroying Russian forces while preserving and reconstituting Ukraine's military. He must also successfully execute a major program of transformation in a million-person military. These alone are gargantuan challenges.

Two men in army uniforms embrace each other among a crowd inside an opulent building.

On top of this he must build a military strategy which closes the growing gap between the desired political outcomes of his president with Ukraine's dwindling military resources. The outcome of the Battle of Avdiivka will provide insights into this. Like Bakhmut, the president appears to not want to give up Avdiivka even if the military situation indicates a withdrawal may now be the best option to preserve the remaining fighters. Not giving up territory and preserving combat forces in the current environment will be very difficult to achieve.

Syrskyi's success will rely on a good relationship with his president, a supportive Ukrainian parliament, military assistance from the West and political objectives aligning with military realities. It is a daunting predicament.

Mick Ryan is a strategist and retired Australian Army major general. He served in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a strategist on the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is also a non-resident fellow of the Lowy Institute and at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

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