SECRET REVEALED: DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT SUPERVISOR IS LOOKING FOR IN YOUR PROJECT WORK AND HOW YOUR PROJECT IS GRADED

SECRET REVEALED: DISCOVER WHAT YOUR
PROJECT SUPERVISOR IS LOOKING FOR IN YOUR PROJECT WORK AND HOW YOUR PROJECT IS
GRADED
Being a ‘regular customer’ to your
project supervisor is something now common among many Nigerian final year
students.  Believe it or leave it! Some students can meet their project
supervisors up to 15 times before they scale through chapter one. If you are
having headache convincing your supervisor to approve your chapter one or
proposal, then this article is for you.
You are welcome to my first part of ‘Discover what your supervisor is looking
for in your project work’. This first series will cover the
proposal/introductory sections of your research work.  As we all know,
good grades do not just fall from heaven-it takes hard work and favor from God.
Before you submit that seminar paper or research paper with the caption
‘submitted in partial fulfillment for the award of a degree’…. Your work must be
good enough.
The first thing most project supervisors’ need from every student is their
project proposal or a chapter one. This phase of a research work is the most
important if you ask me. Why? Because this is the foundation in which all
research designs, findings, measurement instruments will depend on. For
instance your ability to link the background of the study with your problem
statement will go a long way in helping you to develop good objectives and
research questions to guide the entire study. So you now see why this research
phase is so important?
To improve upon your project proposal or chapter one, I am going to handle each
section one after the other and let you know what is required of you. Enjoy!
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Depending on the school’s format, the first section of a typical proposal or
chapter one is introduction. Most universities and polytechnics will allow
students to start with background of the study. For easy understanding, I will
group them together. The introduction/background of the study section allows
readers to know a bit about the subject matter and the problem in a wider
range. Here students’ ability to effectively bring out the central theme of the
study is highly rewarded. Before embarking on most research work, there is
usually a problem. Your ability to recount the problem in a concise and
detailed manner will earn you your first mark in your introductory chapter.
Example
For easy understanding, if you are writing on ‘the effect of ASUU strike
actions on academic performance of Undergraduates in Nigerian Universities’ you
should be able to recount various ASUU strike actions that has occurred in
Nigeria, and implications on students’ academic performances  thereafter.
For the introductory part, you can start by defining ‘strike’ by one or two
authors. After introducing the subject matter or variables/keywords, you start
recounting the background of the problem under study.
The first recorded ASUU strike was on………..(Write more)
After then the problem of poor infrastructure in Nigerian Universities now led
to another disastrous……
Empirical studies recorded by some renowned Nigerian researchers have indicated
that students do not study during this strike due to…….
N/B:
  • Start with a little introduction on your major keywords
    or variables in the study.
  • Give a concise and historical background of the problem
    under study.
  • Reference authors and if possible bring in a little
    empirical study centering around identified problems for the study in the
    background of the study.
  • Depending on your schools’ format, also take a little
    time to write on the background of the organization or area under study.
  • Do not make it too long. Ideally should not exceed two
    standard pages.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This is arguably the most important section of the introductory chapter of
every project. Your ability to formulate a good background of the study will
enable you to write a good problem statement. A problem statement is a summary
of the background of the study. While the background of study talks more about
the problem on a wider and detailed perspective, the problem statement is a
brief summary of the problem.
A good statement of the problem must be concise, factual and relates with the
background of the study. It should be brief enough to state the problem in a
single line, then supported by previous research work(s) both empirical and theoretical.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
In simple terms objectives of a study is like the ‘map’ for the study. Based on
the problem(s) being investigated, students should be able to develop the aims
for the study as well as specific objectives to be achieved. Just like the
‘SMART’ analysis, your objectives must be specific to addressing your research
problems, it must be measurable (research questions and hypothesis should be
able to be formulated out of it), it must be accurate, realistic and timely.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Just like research objectives, your research questions give more insight into
how the objectives of the study can be achieved. Students must know that
research questions correspond with research objectives. It must be relevant
enough to provide answers to problems being investigated by the researcher. It
must be good enough to achieve the objectives of the study. Your research
questions should be open to answers other than ‘yes/no’. Avoid questions
beginning with ‘do/does’ or ‘Are/is’. For example, do not ask research
questions like ‘Does ASUU strike affects
students’ academic performance?
RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Hypotheses are tentative statements about a
phenomenon.  They are more like assumptions to be tested and proved.
Hypothesis formulated must be relevant to the problem under study and it should
relate with both research objectives and questions of the study.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Students must justify the need for the study and how it will contribute to the
society, the body of knowledge if successfully carried out.
To get good marks here, your study should be useful :
  • To Government establishments, organizations-both
    private and public, NGOs- How it will help the government and managers of
    organizations to address identified problems and be successful.
  • The Economy of your country:-Show how policies
    developed from the study can help improve the economy.
  • Students’ researchers-state how your work will serve as
    a guide or foundation for future research studies
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Ability of the student to delimit the study to a manageable limit is rewarded
here. Students should explain the boundaries of the study as well as describe
the aspect of the problem covered. For example, using our topic ‘the effect of
ASUU strike actions on the academic performance of Undergraduates’,  one
can delimit it to a  particular university or selected universities under
study.
N/B: Scope could be managed in terms of geographical area, Time or period,
research designs etc.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Ability of students to develop both conceptual and operational definitions of terms is rewarded.
Students should evaluate the study carefully; define acronyms, keywords and
variables in the study.
BONUS MARKS
Additional marks will be added if:
    • The work is neat. Although typed, one may wonder how a
      work which is not hand written can be un-tidy. How you arrange diagrams,
      headings, sub-headings, upper/lower case contribute to making your work
      neat.
    • Spellings and grammar are correct.
    • The work is fully referenced with accepted referencing
      style.
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