SMART Research Objectives

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Before beginning any research, especially paid projects,adequate time and energy should be directed toward the creation of clear andmeasurable research goals/objectives.

"If you don't know where you're going, any road willget you there."

  • Good objectives help ensure the accuracy of the researchplan.
  • Clearly stated objectives help the researcher understandwhat they need to discover or uncover and help the client know what to expect
  • Objectives provide the means by which the success of theproject can be determined.

 Use of the SMART model will help ensure your objectivesare well written:

  • Specific: both the client and the researcher should beable to clearly identify the purpose of the research.
  • Measurable: how will the client and researcher knowwhether the objectives have been achieved?
  • Achievable: if the objective is too large or difficult,the researcher may lose hope of achieving it. Researchers should be challenged, but be able to achieve the objective.
  • Realistic: Is it realistic to expect the researcher tomeet this objective given the available documents and time constraints?
  • Time-Constrained: when must the researcher achieve theobjective, i.e, the project due date,


Follow this basic process to develop objectives for yourproject:

  1. Create objectivesbased on the needs of your client, not on what you want to find.
  2. Check objectivesagainst the SMART model.
  3. Gain approval fromthe client that objectives capture what he/she wants from the project.
  4. Document theobjectives in the research plan.
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February 7, 2013
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