How to Write a Final Year Research Project
Oh no! You have a project deadline and you don’t know how to start; you opened your system 20 minutes ago and are still staring at a blank screen. Well, we can help with that, just follow these steps and thank us later:
Determine or choose a topic
Usually, this involves having a conversation between you and yourself as well as your supervisor. You need to ask yourself; what do you want to do? What do you want to research on? What is your area of specialization? What do you want your research to say?
Answer a question, explore a possibility, or shed more light on an already existing social problem. Then, you have to talk with your supervisor; your supervisor will be your guide in this journey so, it’s important that you consult with him/her every step of the way and for starters, you have to consult with them when selecting your project topic. They get to approve or disapprove of it. Plus, if you are having trouble selecting one, conversing with them might help you out!
Do a Research
Now that you have chosen your topic, it’s time to do research. Read! Materials that hold information concerning your final year project topic, works that have been done by people in that same field, treating that same topic or something similar to it. There are different ways to research your project; you could do primary or secondary research. In primary research, the data collected and used in your project originates from you; no other person has collated and used this data before in their work. This is done through the use of questionnaires, interviews, surveys, etc. Secondary research involves using already existing materials and collating the information that has already been put out there by people. Most final year projects demand that you carry out both types of research; primary for gathering fresh insight and data and secondary, to get materials to buttress your points; usually by experts and people more experienced.
Create and Follow Your Project Plan
This is where the main work lies. You may want to immediately begin but! Not before you draw out your project outline or what you might know as your table of content. This outline will include subtopics and headings that will be included in your project. A standard final year project should have the following:
Introduction: This comes with different sub-titles/heading.
Abstract: An overview of the entire project. Serving as a summary of your entire project, it states the background, purpose, and result of your project.
Research methodology: This usually explains what data gathering method was used in the course of the project.
Project objective: States the ‘why’ of your project.
Chapters: This is your project body where the information you aimed to project is presented. Different departments and colleges have different requirements in terms of the number of chapters a project should have and how the chapters should be broken down. For example, they could say, nothing less than four chapters, and each chapter should have a minimum of three subheadings. So, it is important, to consult with your project supervisor when drafting your project plan to know what is required of you.
Conclusion: This is the Epilogue of your final year project and serves the same function as what a closing paragraph will serve in an article or debate. Here, you sum up the facts you presented in your chapters and bring your project to an end. Depending on your type of project; if it is a fact-finding one, your conclusion will buttress your point and maybe ask for action to be taken on the facts discovered. If it was an explanatory one, your conclusion will reiterate what you have already explained on the topic. Your project type determines what way your project will end but, the general way is for you to sum up all the facts discussed in your chapters and bring it to a close.
Bibliography: Yes! Very important. Your bibliography contains information on every book, paper, website, and source of secondary data used in your project. This is a very important part of your final year project because it shows the extent of your research and liberates you from being accused of committing the crime of plagiarism (taking another person’s ideas without giving them due to credit for it). Information contained in a bibliography is usually arranged in a specific manner; depending on how it is done in your department or field of study. Some use ALA, Vancouver, MLA, etc. there are many types but to know which style you ought to be using, consult your project supervisor.
Some of the things spoken about here might seem foreign to you (my project did not have an abstract). Your project supervisor and academic field might not even require you to have some of these in your final year projects. To know what is needed and what should be thrown out, consult your project supervisor. She/he is your guide in this journey, they know better than you and will have the best answers to any questions you might have in the course of writing your final year project.
Edit Your Work and Submit
Your idea might be presented in the best of ways but that would not matter if your grammar is terrible. Re-read your project, check for grammatical errors and if possible, give someone else to proofread it for you. Make sure everything is in order grammar wise, meet your supervisor for any extra corrections they might need you to make. After that, I think it is safe to say you are good to submit!