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Independent Study

Research Question

This should be carefully chosen and discussed with your tutor. The research question often forms the overarching research question. A research question need not end with a question mark. Having an open ended question allows you to explore the various issues at play and means that you do not have to provide a single interpretation of the data. 

  • To what degree do...
  • In what ways can...
  • How might...

Research Aims

Research aims are statements of intent. They are usually written in broad terms. They set out what you hope to achieve at the end of the project.

Research Objectives

Research objectives, on the other hand, should be specific statements that define measurable outcomes, e.g. what steps will be taken to achieve the desired outcome. These verbs will give you a more measurable outcome: collect, construct, classify, develop, devise, measure, produce, revise, select, synthesise. These verbs provide wider interpretation: appreciate, consider, enquire, learn, know, understand, be aware of, appreciate, listen, perceive. 

Try to provide one clear strong aim, it is possible to have more but talk to your tutor about this. There is no fixed number of objectives but you will be required to produce sufficient objectives to be able to measure progress towards meeting the aim/s.

Remember: aims describe what you want to achieve, and objectives describe how you are going to achieve those aims.



To establish a correlation between academic reading and coursework success


  • Develop a clear definition of academic reading
  • Data sets will be extracted from a quantitative questionnaire around academic reading and coursework success
  • Data from both sets will be synthesised to establish if correlation points exist between academic reading and coursework success.