Perhaps the question of how to do a research project is now lingering in your mind, given that you are at your final year of MBA or MSc or PhD or even undergraduate. I have met a good number of students before who are having problems trying to figure out how the whole idea of doing a research project works. Doing a research project is actually more of procedural than a one-time event. It is something that you need to sit down, plan well and strategize if you have to complete it within one year. In my previous article, I explained a step-by-step procedure about how to write a research proposal by summarizing important sections of a research proposal. You are welcome to supplement my write-up with this research guideline. In this post, I am focusing on the general approach towards writing a research project.

Most of the candidates that I have met before express dissatisfaction regarding the limited information provided about how to do a research project or even how to plan and write a thesis. Hence, they need extra training services for them to successfully write their own research projects or theses. In order to achieve their prospects of completing research projects within the time limits, I usually advise them to take into consideration the following aspects:

1. The Supervisor

Finding the right supervisor is the first step towards successfully completing your research project within the limited time-frame. The supervisor should be committed to ensuring candidate success by being always responsive and providing the required advice and guidance in real-time. Good supervisors are usually patient and understands all shortcomings of the candidate they are assigned. The supervisor should also be the one who motivate a candidate even when they are unable to see any progress. While some institutions assign supervisors based on their availability, a candidate is usually given a chance to select by filling a preferred supervisor form. Take this opportunity to do your homework by asking your friends or other students about what they know regarding certain supervisors. This will help you choose the best and achieve timely completion in a more easy and comfortable way.

2. Being confident

The rule of successfully writing a research proposal is not to shy, but ask. Most of the candidates do not have a clue relating to how to write a research project or do a research thesis. Although this is a reality and some could be tempted to hide it, you are called upon not to fear asking. You need to communicate your weaknesses openly to the supervisor. If need be, warn him or her that you will be asking stupid questions throughout the project so that they are prepared for it. A good supervisor could assure that there is no stupid question and welcome anything that you submit as an inquiry. Writing a research project is a tough journey that requires consistency inquiries from supervisors and even classmates. Although the credit finally goes to the supervisor, it is your ultimate responsibility to communicate with your supervisor and ask as many questions as possible until you understand what you are expected to do.

3. Your research topic

The topic that you select will determine the success of your research project. There are conventional steps that you could follow in selecting a research topic. However, you need to consider your passion and area of profession because if you write a research project on something that is interesting to you, you are assured of consistent drive to its completion. The topic should be something that you really want to investigate. You are warned against relying on other people for recommendations about what should be the topic for your research project. Prior selecting a specific topic on which you will be based your research project, you need to read and think a lot around your area of interest. Furthermore, you will need to explore deeply about your inner self even if it means taking more time than you could expect. A few weeks may lapse before you gather your thoughts and realize your area of interest in writing your research project.

4. A realistic plan

It is recommended that you need to keep your plan realistic. This is because even if your topic is in the right field and you do not have enough resources to complete the project, you may still face hurdles. For example, suppose you choose a research topic that requires you to travel halfway around the world for purposes of conducting a field investigation, can you afford that much resources (time and finances) required? If you can afford, then you are good to go. If not, it does not matter how brilliant your idea is, but you will need to think of something else. You may need to save that topic to the time when you receive a good amount of research grant. It is always good to see your topic from a distance and ensure that you can afford that topic.

5. Project timeline

You need to have a project timeline. Having a plan of events is crucial because it will guide you throughout the duration of the project. The centrality of the project timeline is that it keeps you on track all the time and helps to know how to write each section of the research project. The research project timeline should show activities, targets to be achieved and by when these targets should be achieved. It is advisable to allow for some degree of flexibility because sometimes things do may go wrong at some points in time, hence, you are advised to adjust you’re the dates. Having a schedule could be more beneficial because it could help in providing overall guidance about how to write a research project. Your supervisor could help you identify the kind of targets that you could set and make efforts to achieve them on a weekly and monthly basis. Preparing a project timeline could help you avoid being overwhelmed or submerge into procrastination during the course of project writing.

6. Keep writing, nonstop

In any case you are not sure of how to write a research project, it is important not to stop writing. You need to start writing what you can from the very first day. Although supervisors do encourage writing, some candidates may not feel comfortable with writing until they have all the information at hand. In contrast to what you could be thinking of doing, it is important to keep write down details of whatever you do and make notes of everything that you read. It is easier to go on to complete the whole project if you document the whole process of writing your research project. For people who know how to write a research project, they do not worry about writing things that are wrong or that do not make sense. They know that everything will make sense once the whole research project is completed. Sometimes it may seem too raw, but you need to keep on writing and seeking guidance from the supervisor until it starts making sense.

The above six steps are instrumental guidance for candidates to know how to write a research project. They are not fixed, but you are allowed to alter a few things depending on your research context and topic of study. There are other aspects of writing a research project that you need to know:

  1. Proposal development
  2. Data analysis
  3. Data entry
  4. Descriptive statistics
  5. Correlation analysis
  6. OLS Regression analysis
  7. Parametric and non-parametric tests
  8. Data transformation
  9. Advanced regression analysis
  10. Reliability and validity tests
  11. Factors analysis

Data analysis can be carried using a variety of software, including:

  1. Stata
  2. SPSS
  3. Eviews
  4. R
  5. Excel
  6. Matlab
  7. Vivo

In the course of your writing, you may need professional help to complement classwork and supervisor guidance, do not hesitate to to seek consultancy services from research professionals.