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Research Aim vs Research Objectives vs Research Questions vs Research Hypotheses

Four Essential Items in Dissertations

When writing a dissertation, there are several essential components that you need to include to ensure the document is comprehensive, coherent, and well-structured. However, there are four items that are particularly important for your dissertation.

Research Aim

A statement indicating the general purpose of a research project. A research project will normally have only one broad aim.

Example: To investigate factors associated with divorce.

Research Objectives

Specific statements indicating the key issues to be focused on in a research project. A research project will normally have several specific research objectives.

Example: To examine whether alcohol consumption is associated with a higher risk of divorce.

Research Questions

An alternative to research objectives, where the key issues to be focused on in a research project are stated in the form of questions.

Example: Is alcohol consumption associated with a higher risk of divorce?

Research Hypotheses

A prediction of a relationship between two or more variables, usually predicting the effect of an independent variable on a dependent variable. The independent variable is the variable assumed to have causal influence on the outcome of interest, which is the dependent variable.

Example: Higher consumption of alcohol is associated with a higher risk of divorce. 

These four essential items lay the foundation for your dissertation and help readers understand the scope and purpose of your research. As you continue writing, make sure to include additional sections like literature review, methodology, findings, discussion, conclusion, and references to provide a comprehensive exploration of your topic.

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