To complete your degree program in any tertiary university, home or abroad, you’ll have to write a final year project. A final year project is an independent research work typically of about 10,000 to 20,000 words in a word or PDF document. It will require that you carry out a scientific investigation using scientific methods to achieve specific objectives and answer predetermined research questions.
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You’ll work under the supervision of an academic staff, who will need to approve your project topic. After that, you’ll submit a research proposal to your supervisor, who will assess your proposal, approve it, and provide you with guidance to write a complete final year project. Note that when you complete your project, it will typically be assessed by an external supervisor from another tertiary institution, who will independently judge the value of your research work.
In your research proposal, you’ll need to state the intended subject of your study, briefly describe your work, give justification for your study, state the aims and objectives as well as assumptions that will be made, the methodologies that you’ll use, and provide references.
Specific standards will guide each stage of your final year project. From the build-up of your research to the research itself, your project presentation, and submission of your printed project, there are requirements you’ll need to follow. These requirements help to prepare final year students for the rigours of life after school.
How To Write A Complete Final Year Project: Chapter One To Five
Here! Let’s now take an in-depth look at the different chapters (chapters one to five) of your research project.
Chapter one is the introduction of your project. Here, you need to give an overview of what the project is all about. It provides information on the problem that your research will address. By reading your introduction, anyone should get a clear understanding of your research project, although not in detail. The rest of your project will build on the information you provide in your introduction. Here is the format your introduction will typically follow:
- Background of the study: This gives an assessment of the research topic, current information about the topic, and similar research that has already been done.
- Statement of the problem: This clearly states the issue that the research will address or improve upon. It should show what others have done and what the research intends to do, and flow logically to the research objectives.
- Research objectives: This is a summary of what the researcher hopes to achieve from the study. It clearly shows the aims and objectives of the research; both general and specific.
- Research questions: This is the query that the research is centred on. The questions that the research will answer. It should be straightforward and flow logically from the research objectives.
- Research Hypothesis: This is a statement of expectation or prediction that will be tested by the research. It predicts the possible outcome of the study.
- Significance of the study: The significance of the study is a description of the importance of the study, the impact it will have on existing learning, and how it will be of benefit to others.
- Scope of the study: This shows the parameters within which the research will be done. It includes where the research will be carried out, the reason for choosing that place, and the timeframe of the research.
- Definition of terms: This provides a standardized definition of the keywords used in the study, and how they are used.
Chapter two is the literature review of your project. To write your literature review, you’ll need to survey academic resources that are available on your specific research topic. Your literature review should provide detailed information on the current knowledge, substantial findings, and contributions of previous research already done about your research topic. It should show to a reader that you have a clear, in-depth understanding of the major published works carried out in your research area.
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Ensure that your literature review isn’t simply a description of the works published by other researchers but a thorough critical evaluation of the various arguments, theories and research strategies. The evaluation should be linked to your own research objectives and purpose. You’ll need to collect and evaluate research materials like books and journals that are apply to your research questions.
Simple steps to write a great literature review include:
- Compare and contrast various researchers’ views on your research topic
- Group researchers that have similar conclusions
- Look critically at the various aspects of their research method
- Note areas of disagreements between researchers
- Emphasize exemplary studies
- State gaps in research
- Show how your research work relates to the literature
- Conclude by summarizing what the literature says
Note that your literature review should give credit to previous researchers, i.e. proper referencing should be done. As much as possible, try to do more paraphrasing of other published works than direct quotations.
Chapter three is the research methodology. The research methodology is a crucial part of your research project as it explains in detail the way your research is structured and how you were able to achieve your research objectives. You’ll state the research method that you adopted, the instruments used, where and how you got the data for your research. This chapter basically provides details about your research design, study area, population area, sampling techniques, data collection methods, data analysis, ethical concerns, etc. Your research methodology should be simple enough for another researcher to follow and achieve the same results and conclusions. It should provide sufficient information that can be helpful to replicate your research.
This chapter should be introduced by restating the purpose of the research. The research design should show how all the major aspects of your project, including sampling, data collection, and analysis, work together to answer your research questions. Your survey instruments, like questionnaires, interviews, or experiments, need to be appropriate for your survey location. To choose the best research method for your study, you need to ask yourself a question: Will this research method generate sufficient information that is needed to solve the research problem?
In your research methodology, you’ll also need to state how you ensured the reliability and validity of your research findings, particularly when using primary sources of data. Reliability means the ability of the research instrument to produce the same results in multiple trials. Validity refers to the ability of the research instrument to effectively measure what it was designed for. Also, all ethical considerations in your research, such as anonymity of the respondents, should be clearly stated. Note that the language you use to write your research methodology should be in the past tense.
The chapter four of your final year project is typically the data presentation and analysis (results and discussion). After carrying out your research and writing your chapters one to three, it’s important that you analyze the data obtained from your research, show the results, and discuss your findings.
You should begin this chapter by restating the research problem as stated in chapter one. Then explain each research question and state the results obtained. Your results should be presented using tables, figures or other mediums of summarizing data. Carefully choose your tables and figures. Note that for some studies, you may state all your raw data in this chapter, while for other studies, it may be more appropriate to have the major part of your raw data in the appendix section.
In a Qualitative Research, the title of this chapter may be called: Results of Study or Analysis and Results. Regardless of the chapter title, the most important thing is that this chapter analyses the data obtained and displays the results. You should also use graphs and charts to display your results. You’ll need to discuss your results and compare them to those obtained by previous researchers. The applications of your results should also be explained.
This chapter usually has the title, ‘Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations’ but may vary depending on your institution. So, confirm with your supervisor. By this time in your project, you should have completed your study, and are now writing your final report. Ideally, start this chapter by once again stating the purpose of your study. Summarize the entire project from chapters one to four to remind your readers about what your study is all about.
Your conclusions should be drawn from the result findings, stating what the research was able to discover. Limitations to your research should also be stated. Limitations refer to the influences that impact on the research methodology and conclusions which are beyond the control of the researcher. Based on the result findings, conclusions and limitations, you’ll then give recommendations. These recommendations include ways to improve on the positive outcomes of your research or mitigation strategies against negative outcomes. Recommendations also include suggestions on how future researchers can improve on the results obtained and other similar topic areas that still need to be explored.
After writing the chapters one to five of your final year research project, your project report is still not complete without your reference and appendix sections.
Your reference provides a list of all the publications; books, journals, and all information sources you used to write your research, whether online or print. To ensure your project is plagiarism-free, make sure you reference all quoted words properly, both in-text and in your reference list/bibliography. There are several reference styles that are used in research work. The most popular ones include Chicago, MLA, and APA. However, you’ll need to confirm from your supervisor which reference style is accepted in your institution.
Your appendices include all extra information and materials that you didn’t include in the body of your project report. These could include official data from case studies, a copy of your questionnaire, a list of parameters, etc. Typically, this section helps to give a more in-depth understanding of your research, and it’s the last section in your final year project.
Now that you’ve successfully written the various chapters of your project, as well as the references and appendices, you can now write your abstract.
Your abstract is a brief summary of your research work. It provides information about the research problem, objectives, methodology used, findings, and recommendations. Your abstract should be just one paragraph, and typically not more than 100 words. Ensure that you stick to the word limit.
After your supervisor has gone through your project report and you have made all necessary corrections, you can include your title page, declaration, dedication, acknowledgment, table of content, list of contents, list of tables, and list of figures. You’re now ready to bind your final year project.
In conclusion, note that one important thing you must do is to carefully and thoroughly edit your entire project before binding it. Use grammar checker tools if possible to check for all grammatical and spelling mistakes. Ensure that the pages are properly numbered. Overall, make sure that the final submission of your research project is free from error and meets the required standards of your institution.
After reading this article, you’re now fully informed to write an excellent and complete final year project. Remember to share this article with other final year students.
All the best!!