004 Literature Review in Research Methodology – How to Set Research Objectives

Hey it’s Dr. Liu here with better life
research tips. Today I want to talk about how to set good research objectives. When you set your research objectives, there are two important principles.The first principle is to think big and aim high. The second principle is to be realistic and
start low. At first glance these two principles may sound contradictory. But
in fact they’re not, because the process of setting research objectives involves
at least two steps. In the first step, you want to find a fundamental real-world
problem you want to help to solve. Solving the problem should have a
significant impact, because you want to be part of something important. You do
not want to focus your work on a small hole. Because if you are not contributing to a big or important fundamental problem, even if you work hard and do a great job, your impact will still be limited. In order to be important and impactful you need to think big and aim high. But on the other hand, targeting a big problem and aim high does not necessarily mean big and complex objectives.You are not expected to solve all the problem in one study. You should focus on something that you
can handle. You want to start low and take realistic and small steps. Therefore
after you identify the significant fundamental problem, the next step is to
figure out realistic objectives that help to solve the identified overall
problem. Your objectives should be realistic because you want to be
credible and have acceptable chance of success. You should evaluate the
available resources you have, and check what you are able to do in your study at the current time. You should learn to appreciate small and
solid gains. Your objective may be small, but as long as they are set in the right
direction, accumulation of small and solid gains will ultimately lead to the
solving of the overall problem. There is a saying, “you do not have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Sometimes you may want to set a clear
goal or aim for solving the overall problem. The goal is something you are
trying to achieve. And it provides direction for your work. The objectives
are the steps you take to get to the goal. The goal is the destination, and objectives are your milestones. The goal
may be a great building, but your objective could be just a small brick. The goal is
sometimes shared with many researchers in the same field. That is how
researchers from different part of the world and from different times can work
together to solve big problems. But for objectives of your study, you often have to take ownership. In order to set meaningful goal, you need to understand
your field, and the critical needs of your target audiences. It would be nice
to get advices from other people in related field. Professional conferences
are a great place to meet people, to meet expert in your area, and get these
advices on your goal. But for the specific objectives in your study, they
may not be a lot of people who can understand. You may have to rely more on
yourself, your reading, your preliminary results, your advisors, and your colleagues who work closely with you. In fact when you write your literature review, one of the main tasks could be to establish the relationship
between your research objectives and the overall goal. You may need to provide a
rationale for your proposed research objectives. You want to persuade your readers that your proposed research objectives will contribute to the solving of a fundamental real-world problem, or contribute to the overall
goal. It is common that the significance of the fundamental problem or the
overall goal has already been well recognized by the research community. Therefore, in
your literature view, your main task is often to provide your special angle for
solving the identified problem by proposing your specific research objectives. The diagrams here explains a typical structure of a research paper. In
the literature review or the introduction section, you move from fundamental problem to a specific critical need, and then you continue to move to more
specific research objectives. And you prove to your reader that your proposed
research objectives will make solid contribution to the solving of a
fundamental problem, and in the same time, they are realistic and feasible. After
you complete the specific task defined by your research objectives. You get your
results and you can describe how your results realized your objectives in the
discussion section. And finally, in the conclusion section you may restate and specify how your realized objectives have contributed to the overall goal ,or the solving of a fundamental problem. And what are the
next steps. Good research objectives should be clear and allow for practical
action. Sometimes they should reflect the methodology parts to some extent.
Achievement of the objectives should be measurable. Two common types of quantitative
research objectives are descriptive objectives and analytical objectives. For descriptive objectives, a common verb to use is “to estimate”. For example ,the
objective can be “to estimate the value of a certain variable using a certain
method.” For analytical objectives, a common verb to use is “to determine”. For
example, the objective can be “to determine whether variable A is affected by variable B”. Of course there are many other verbs can be used. But it is
generally not a good idea to use the verbs such as “to study” or “to investigate”
in research objectives, because these verbs are not specific and clear enough.
And achievement of these kind of objectives are not actually measurable.To
have a measurable objectives can be very important, especially, when many researchers from different part of the world are working together towards a
shared goal, and your research is part of a group effort of the research community.
In order to build a great building together, you need to make it clear for the size of the brick you make, and how others can use your brick in the building. Thanks for watching I’m Dr. Liu with research tips for the underdogs. In the next video,I will talk about how to narrow down
your research question, and focus your topic to the appropriate level. Until
next time, keep studying for a better life.

3 Replies to “004 Literature Review in Research Methodology – How to Set Research Objectives

  1. English Captions can be turned on at the Settings. Please excuse my accent, and feel free to leave comments. I would appreciate your feedback!

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