A STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON RESEARCH PROJECT WRITING FOR UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES OF EDUCATION AND POLYTECHNICS IN NIGERIA

December 21, 2014 By Austine Archibong

Undergraduate research project is an independent effort required of students in tertiary institutions. The students, though supervised by an academic staff, are to carry out a pre-determined research within the constraints of their study.

The supervisor is primarily to receive proposals of the research interest, approve it, provide guidance and assess the work at the end. An external supervisor is usual, to provide an external and independent assessment of their research work. Click Here for Samples of Contemporary Project Topics

The proposal for the topic is to include the intended subject of study, a brief description, justification for the work, aims and milestones, software and hardware to be employed, assumptions to be made, the methodologies involved and the references.

There are standards in the research build-up, actual research, presentation and print submissions. These put the students in shape for the strict rules they are to face after-school.
In developing the content, there are certain guidelines that would be beneficial.
The work is usually divided into five chapters (broadly) before any further divisions.
Hence the typical formats as such:

  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table Of Content
  • List Of Tables
  • List Of Figures
  • List Of Symbols/ Nomenclature (Where Applicable)
  • Main Work (Chapter One To Five)
  • References
  • Appendices (Where Applicable)

Title page: Here, the name of the institution is put, the title of the report, the name of the Author, then the reason for the report (this is why it is required that students add that it is 'in partial fulfilment of the course requirement required for the award of the B.Sc degree.' Then the date is added.

Approval page: The name of the institution and department, then a statement signifying approval for the work by the supervisor, head of department and external supervisor. Space is reserved for signatures of all listed parties as well.

Dedication page: This is where the researcher dedicate the research to a deity, someone, dead or/and alive. This is different from the acknowledgement.

Acknowledgement: The researcher here writes to appreciate all that contributed, (technical, financial, moral and otherwise) to the success of the research. 

Abstract: This is the synopsis of the research work. It is often written last with the tense in past. Usually less than 100 words summarizing the problem statement, the methodology employed, the findings, conclusion and recommendations. This should be in a single paragraph and the word limit not exceeded. Click Here for More Info on Writing a Good Abstract

Table of content: The main heading s and sub-headings and page numbers are listed. This allows for easy page identification and reference. The table of content should be edited at the final stage as well, to correctly capture the reflections in the work.

List of tables/figures/symbols: The list is to aid the reader in locating tables/figures/symbols. It should contain the tag numbers, tag which reflects the content and the page numbers. It should be well-numbered and unambiguous. In the main content, the figure/table should be well-labelled.
(The body of the work)

Chapter One: This is usually the introduction.
This describes the background, scope and purpose of the research. The rest of the report should be tied to the information supplied. The researcher should strive to present sufficient details regarding why the study was carried out. It shouldn't be rushed, a gradual build-up of the content from bottom to top is ideal. It should be closed with a linking paragraph that would disclose the objectives, constraints and limitations. Click Here for More Info on How to Write a Good Intro

Chapter two: This is usually the literature theoretical review.
This presents basically, the work done by others. It is on the ground work done by others that the current research is to be based, hence the review. It sums up the pros and cons of all past work but due credit should be given to the various Authors (see the guide on referencing on this website). The use of quotations should be less in use, more of paraphrasing (reading and making out meaning in your own words), making comments in the review is great as well, it just depends on the context. Click Here for More Info on How to Write a Literature Review

Chapter three: This is usually the research methodology.
Here the language used should be in past tense. It is a sum-up of the research design, procedures, the area and population of study. The data sampling and data sources are detailed as well. The method used, from all alternatives, should also be justified. The materials and equipment used is also included. Click Here for More on How to Write Research Methodology

Chapter four: This is usually for data presentation and analysis (results and discussion).
The results obtained in the research are presented here. Visual aids like graphs, charts and the likes should be used as well. The results should be discussed then compared with results of past Authors. The effects and applications of the results should be detailed as well.

Chapter five: This part houses the conclusions and recommendations.
From the results of the research, conclusions are made, then suggestions for improvement for other researchers with similar interest. Based on the whole happenings, recommendations are proffered.

References: This is a list of all the relevant journals, books and all sources of information consulted in the research work, either online or print. Plagiarism should be avoided at all costs, all quoted and exact words of different sources should be properly referenced, in-text and at the references' list/bibliography. MLA, APA and Chicago style are the commonest referencing styles. (See a comprehensive guide on this blog) Click Here for More Info on Referencing

Appendices: This is for all extra materials that were not added to the body of the work. This encapsulates extensive proofs, official data from case study, list of parameters, et al.
P.S: After writing, the researcher should painstakingly proofread the whole content for grammatical and spelling errors. This could be very distracting while reading the material.
The page numbers are easily distorted by changing font size and type, spacing et al. The final submission should be very clear, error-free(to a large degree) and as required by standard.

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