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From the foregoing conceptualisations of the term research, on can safely make the following summary as being the characteristics of a typical research project writing: -

a. That a typical research project must begin on the basis of a problem in mind for which purpose the research sets to resolve. Generally speaking, it is believed that there cannot be a research project in the absence of a problem of interest.

b. That the outcomes/findings of a typical project should help to develop generalizations, principles and theories, which, when applied in other similar situations in the future, could produce the same results. That is, the methods employed to arrive at the results/findings should be reproduce able and yield same results under varying circumstances elsewhere.

c. That the process of conducting the research project must, of necessity, be as systematic and empirical as possible, through the collection of relevant data for the project. This becomes imperative if (b) above must be achieved.

d. To achieve both (b) and (c) above, there is the need for carefully and appropriately selected research plan, otherwise known as design or method, serving as guideline for the research procedures.

e. In the end, the outcomes/findings of the research project should contribute something new to the growth of knowledge in that field of study. Thus, every research project must help to expand further the present frontiers of knowledge.

The Processes Involved in a Research Project

The processes involved in a typical research project have become scientific in nature. This scientific nature of research projects has, in turn, brought about their empirical approach to problem solving rather than speculations. Thus, there are well-defined stages involved in this scientific/empirical approach to research undertakings, which are quite similar to the characteristics of a research project given above. These processes include: -

a. Identification of a Researchable Problem-Although it is expected that the research project should emanate from real-life situations, it is equally important to note that not all real-life situation problems are researchable. There must be a balance between these two.

b. Clear and Concise Statement of the Research Problem: - This is quite important in view of the fact that it is just one thing to be able to identify the researchable problem. It is yet another, quite different thing to be able to put same down very precisely, concisely and clearly. The problem would seize to be researchable until and unless one has been able to state it so well and good as to be precise, concise and clear.

c. Formulating Necessary Research Questions and/or Appropriate

Research Hypotheses: - Note that there is a difference between

Research Question and Research Hypotheses. A research hypothesis is a definite statement whose supposed truth or practicability is testable through the scientific method. It is a form of statement, which declares one’s prediction on the subject matter intended to help clarify certain ambiguities/doubts. On the other hand, a research question is an intelligent question posed by the researcher, consequent upon the clear statement of the problem. The research questions are set in such a way that once answers have been provided to them, the research problems in question become resolved. Thus, the research question forms the basis upon which the questions on the research questionnaire, otherwise known as “questionnaire items” are formed.

Although there are research projects, which have hypotheses and research questions combined, especially at the very advanced stage of research, several other research circumstances required only one of the two.

d. Collecting Required Data for the Research: - Due to the empirical nature of the scientific method of research, data are to be collected on the subject of investigation. Instruments such as questionnaire, personal/direct observation, interviews and documentary sources are often used for the purpose of data gathering. The instruments are so designed that they seek specific information from respondents, which would help in providing needed answers to the research questions and/or providing relevant data for testing the hypotheses. By the term “respondents”, we refer to the group of research subjects {people} from whom the researcher intends to collect relevant data for the purpose of his research project. This could be students in a class or group of classes, primary and post-primary institutions, farmers, technicians, medical doctors, engineers, market women, etc. in a particular point in time.

e. Presenting for Analysis and Discussing the Data Collected: - Since the researcher will basically collecting raw data from the field of study, it is expected that such data are presented first, and then subjected to discussions and interpretations. There are so many methods of doing this; depending on such things as: -

i. The type of research in question.

ii. The type of instruments for its data-gathering; and

iii. The types of data collected in the end.

Regardless of all these, however, it is important to note that tabular presentation of data as well as diagrammatic representation in the forms of charts, histograms and frequency tables, are common. For hypotheses testing, the various but relevant statistical methods are employed and are so presented for necessary discussions and interpretations.

f. Drawing Inferences, Conclusions and Recommendations from the

Analysis: - This is where the so-much-talked-about contribution(s) to knowledge is made manifest and clearly stated. That is, what the inferences, conclusions and recommendations set out to do; and it is on this basis that generalizations, principles and theories would be derived.

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