Articles

5 basic steps to writing an undergraduate academic research project

  • Writing a research thesis is one of the basic requirements in completing an undergraduate degree. Usually, it is the first experience undergraduate students have in academic writing/research. Because it requires a lot of efforts and includes some technicalities, many students get scared and look out for unethical ways of getting their research projects.

    Academic writing is not a rocket science! And every serious-minded student can get a hold of it.

    This piece discusses some of the basic steps to take while planning to carry out an academic project. Whether it’s a research project in the arts/humanities, sciences or engineering, these steps are important guidelines for any student whose interest is to contribute to world repertoire of knowledge through his/her project and not just to copy and paste somebody else’s work.

    1. Brainstorm on your area of interest to determine your general topic

    As a student, you have to define your research focus/area of interest in your general field of study. For instance, if you are a student of linguistics, what aspect of linguistics do you want to focus? It is when you have satisfactorily chosen your area of specialization that you can begin to brainstorm on what to write about (i.e. your general topic).

    2. Put up a good literature review

    What is a Literature Review? The word literature, in this context, means a body of written works. Thus literature review simply means a review or an assessment of a body of written works on a particular area of study. To have a good literature review, you have to read voraciously. You must read journals, articles, books, etc. that have been published on your area of interest. This will give you a clearer understanding of the area you want to write about and also ensure that you don’t merely re-phrase what has been written in a particular field of study.

    3. Pinpoint gaps in the literature

    Apart from giving you a clearer understanding of your topic, the essence of doing literature review is to identify gaps in the present literature. From the works you have reviewed, find a gap you need to fill in your own project. Remember, if your project is not filling a gap (or addressing some errors, as the case might be) in the present literature, that means you are simply re-echoing what some scholars  have done and you are not necessarily contributing to knowledge in any form.

    4. Highlight your research purpose

    After identifying gaps in the present literature, your next step is to focus on which of the gaps you want to fill. This is where you get to know the purpose of your research and the questions your research seeks to answer.

    5. Draft an introduction to the study

    Do you know why your introduction is very important? Your introduction sets your research in motion and serves as a guide on how to proceed with the project. Here, you highlight the rationale for choosing your topic, frame your research questions and discuss their significance, determine your research method, and outline the structure of the research (from the first chapter to the last. 

    If you can painstakingly take the basic steps above, you will produce a unique research thesis you will ever be proud of.

Recent Articles

  • Eight techniques to facilitate learning new languages

    Posted Jun 8

    The more languages you speak, the broader your opportunities. Apart from your native or immediate languages, mastering some major global languages can avail you with exclusive global opportunities. These languages, I call them ‘language of opportunities,’ a...

  • Why you should not deny your children their mother tongue

    Posted Jun 8

    "It's okay to be proud of your good English. But don't be proud of being poor at your mother tongue. Only the scum of the earth do that." ― Manasa Rao Cambridge Dictionary defines mother tongue as the first language someone learns when he/she is a b...

  • The injustice in our justice system: A personal narration of a Nigerian lawyer

    Posted May 30

    How does it feel to see your entire life flash before your eyes and then at the last moment, when all hope is lost, something happens that changes the course of the universe and the next minute you open your eyes, you can see clearly again with no danger lurking anywher...

  • The dearth of investigative journalism in Nigeria: An analysis

    Posted May 25

    When we think of ‘investigative journalism’, more often than not, we picture an over-zealous, stubborn journalist who ducks behind trees and hedges to dig up the unsavoury details of intricate plots that can topple governments. Yet is investigative journali...

View All

Random Articles

  • The dearth of investigative journalism in Nigeria: An analysis

    Posted May 25

    When we think of ‘investigative journalism’, more often than not, we picture an over-zealous, stubborn journalist who ducks behind trees and hedges to dig up the unsavoury details of intricate plots that can topple governments. Yet is investigative journali...

  • 6 effective ways to improve your mentoring skills

    Posted December 15, 2017

    All of us have assumed different roles in our lives and belonging to different strata of life, the most important thing that matters is how best we can communicate and transfer the knowledge we have to others and develop good mentor-mentee relationships. It deprives the...

  • International Women’s Day 2017: Ten remarkable inventions by women

    Posted March 8, 2017

    International Women’s Day is celebrated March 8 every in honour of women. It’s a day set aside to provoke progressive discussions on the status and role of women in the society. The 2017 theme for International Women’s Day focuses on “Women in t...

  • Six major ways to fund your small startup business

    Posted July 31, 2018

    Starting up a new small business can be so promising and joyful. The excitement of starting something new from scratch, the freedom of being your own boss, the prospect of becoming the new success story -  top rated, forbe-listed entrepreneur - all these put t...

View All