Research Proposal SMART Objectives

Trying to come up with a research proposal is hard enough, but the hardest part of it all is writing good objectives. The first step in writing an objective for your research proposal should be figuring out what you want to find out from this study. Now that you know what you want to find out, think about how this information will help society and if there are any other benefits that might come from the findings. Finally, make sure that your objectives are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Are you looking for research proposal SMART objectives? Worry no more! We got you covered!

 Research Proposal SMART Objectives
Research Proposal SMART Objectives

Research Proposal

A research proposal is a document that outlines the research you want to do, why it is important, and how you will go about doing it. It should include your hypothesis, what materials you need for the study, any budget information that applies to your project, and what you anticipate being done with the final results of this study.

Research Proposal Importance

A research proposal should include a strong research question that is focused and easy to answer. This will make it easier for you as the researcher to focus on one idea, which will ultimately help you not get overwhelmed by all of the data that may be collected during your study. Remember that other people need to understand what your research question is and how it will be answered, so make sure to keep it concise and specific.

Research Proposal Objective

When writing your objectives, you should focus on the following: what do you want to find out through the study, how this information will benefit society, any other benefits that might come from the findings, and what you need to do to accomplish this. Make sure that your objectives are both SMART and Researchable.

Researchable Objective

A researchable objective is one where the data collection for this objective can be easily analyzed, either qualitatively or quantitatively, once it has been collected. This means that there are clear answers for the questions you ask or hypotheses that can be supported through your study.

SMART Objective

A SMART objective is one that includes specifics, measures, makes sense, has a realistic time frame and is achievable. These will allow readers of your research proposal to understand what you want to accomplish in your study and how you plan to do it.

Examples of an objective that is not SMART:

  1. To find out more about sleep and how it affects memory consolidation.
  2. To see if people who exercise regularly have better cognitive performance than those who don’t.
  3. To see if green tea can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, since it has been shown to help prevent other brain diseases.

 

Examples of objectives that are SMART:

  1. To gather information from participants about their sleep and memory consolidation patterns after sleeping with the Natural Cycles Sleep assistant for one month and compare it to a control group who did not use this app.
  2. To measure participants’ cognitive performance levels using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment before and after a high-intensity aerobic exercise session.
  3. To see if green tea consumption in the average North American population will lead to a lower likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease, using data collected from participants who answered questions about their green tea consumption habits, medical history, lifestyle choices, etc., over the course of six months.

How do I revise my objective if it isn’t SMART?

There are a few things you can try to do in order to make your objectives SMART:

  1. Make sure that the objective is as specific as possible by asking yourself what exactly you want to find out and how this information will benefit society or any other groups that might be affected by it.
  2. Make sure that the objective is researchable by asking yourself whether you can actually collect the data for this study in a way that allows for easy analysis or whether you will need to make any changes to your method prior to beginning the study.
  3. Ask yourself if your objectives are realistic within your time frame. For example, if your study is supposed to take place over two months you can’t have objectives that ask for data collection over a year’s time period.
  4. Make sure the objective makes sense by asking yourself whether it fits in with the larger purpose of your study and why you want to find out the information you are asking about.
  5. Ask yourself if your objective is achievable by thinking about how many people you need to include in the study and whether the procedures you want to conduct are feasible given your resources, setting and time frame.
  6. Once you have revised your objectives check them with a colleague who has expertise in research methodology for feedback on whether they still need some work.
  7. After you’ve revised your objective and made sure it is SMART, put the objectives in the introduction part of your proposal so that readers understand what you will analyze and why they should keep on reading to find out more about the results of your study.

How do I find out if my objective is SMART?

If you are unsure whether your objective is SMART ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the objective specific? Does it tell me exactly what I want to find out, or does it leave room for ambiguity? Can I measure if I’ve accomplished this objective (i.e. through data analysis)? Can the participants tell me if I’ve accomplished it?
  2. Is the objective measurable? If yes, can I measure it using existing tools or data or do I need to develop new ones? How will I know when I’ve reached this objective? Can several different researchers work on this objective at the same time and come up with the same results?
  3. Is the objective relevant? Does it matter to society or any other groups that might be affected by this study? Will answering the question help me and/or others improve their lives?
  4. Is the objective feasible? Can I accomplish this objective within my time frame, with my existing resources, in the available setting for this study?
  5. Is the objective achievable? Can I collect enough relevant data to answer the question I’ve set out to answer in a way that is both valid and reliable?
  6. Is the objective relevant? Does it matter to society or any other groups that might be affected by this study? Will answering this question help me and/or others improve their lives?
  7. Is the objective achievable? Can I collect enough relevant data to answer the question I’ve set out to answer in a way that is both valid and reliable?
  8. Do my objectives make sense? Do they fit in with the larger purpose of my study and why am I asking these questions/what do I want to find out?
  9. Do my objectives make sense? Do they fit in with the larger purpose of my study and why am I asking these questions/ what do I want to find out?

Good Objective

A good objective in a research proposal shows what you want to find out from the study, why it is important, and how you will go about doing it. You should state in your objectives whether or not you will be testing hypotheses.

 Example Research Proposal

good research proposal example should include: a specific, well-defined problem statement; the variables and hypothesis that will be studied in the research; an explanation of why these variables and hypotheses are important or relevant to your study; the materials you will collect and use for your study; the research methods you plan to use to conduct the study; a budget that applies to this study; expected time schedule for completing the project; a description of how you will process, analyze, and interpret the data collected through your study.

 Understandable Objective

Think about your audience when writing your objective. What do they need to know in order for them to understand what you are studying? Will it make more sense if you summarized your hypothesis or research question into one sentence? Do not only think about the people that will be reviewing your study, but also how someone who is not an expert in this field might understand your objective.

 

Good Hypothesis

A good hypothesis should include: the independent and dependent variables; the direction of the relationship between these two variables; any limitations that you foresee within your own study; an explanation as to why you believe this hypothesis is true (for example, what previous research backs up your claim).

Good Problem Statement

A good problem statement will include: your proposed solution for this problem; the current literature that discusses the issue you are studying; past attempts by other researchers to solve this issue and whether or not these attempts were successful; how you plan on measuring the success of your study (for example, what criteria needs to be met in order for your problem statement to have been solved?); how your data collection methods will support the success of your study.

Conclusion

An effective research proposal will have an objective that is focused, measurable and achievable. It should be specific enough to guide the researcher in their work but open-ended for creativity within boundaries of time and budget constraints. A good way to start writing your objectives would be by looking at past projects you’ve completed or ones similar to what you are proposing now—what was achieved? What did it take?

When were those results attained? What skills were needed for this project? You can use these answers as a framework from which to build new objectives on top of old successes. If you need help with crafting smart research goals, we want hear from you! Our team has experience running successful experts who can help on the research objectives and the research proposal at large!

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