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Whether you call any individual link an aim or an objective is neither here nor there.Research objectives describe concisely what the research is trying to achieve.They summarize the accomplishments a researcher wishes to achieve through the project and provides direction to the study.
If you want to do a sub-project that will discover how neurones in the cerebral cortex respond to lights of different colours, you have to have the aim “We need to know how neurones in the cerebral cortex respond to lights of different colours”.
Working backwards from the objectives in this way means that aims and objectives match perfectly.
Finally I should make it clear that, although it matters for understanding this post, for the purpose of grant-writing, it doesn’t matter that some authorities, including the Oxford dictionary, do not distinguish between aims and objectives in exactly the same way as I do.
What matters in a grant application is how you present the argument that links your project to the important question.
She defines the aim as “…what you want to know…” and the objectives as “…the specific steps you will take to achieve your aim..” This definition works perfectly for our purposes.
We can apply this distinction more or less directly in a grant application as follows.
Having these bullets to guide the process is invaluable and will likely save time over the course of the engagement.
There is no better way to ensure that the right questions are being asked and answered.
Before we consider how to do this, let’s be absolutely clear about the difference between aims and objectives.
There’s an excellent discussion of the difference in the context of a Ph D project, by Pat Thomson.