Defining Aim, Objective, Scope for conducting study

A very useful and practical approach is considering your research questions in terms of aim(s) and objectives. The aim of the work, i.e. the overall purpose of the study, should be clearly and curtly defined. While thinking of startup or any business it is crucial to divide the roles & responsibilities meticulously. Understanding of Aims, Objectives, Goals, Scope and limitations will help you better prepare yourself and keep best foot forward!


Are broad statements of desired outcomes, or the general intentions of the research, which ‘paint a picture’ of your research project Emphasize what is to be accomplished (not how it is to be accomplished) Address the long-term project outcomes, i.e. they should reflect the aspirations and expectations of the research topic.


Aim is a broad term used to describe a future expectation in its most vague form. An aim usually includes the words, learn, know, understand or appreciate. It is not measurable in a direct sense, but is meant to outline and organize your intentions. An aim may include the outcome for an entire subject or program and at times incorporates philosophical elements.

defining aim objectives scope


Determining an objective is pinpointing what it might take to achieve your goal. Objectives are measurable as they deal with a very specific outcome. Objectives can be written in actionable steps that are meant to realize a goal and in the long run, the aim.

In education, objectives are usually split into behavioral and non-behavioral. A behavioral objective concerns proficiency in a specific area. A non-behavioral objective is less measurable and deals with understanding, enjoyment or knowledge.

Objectives are subsidiary to aims and:

  • Are the steps you are going to take to answer your research questions or a specific list of tasks needed to accomplish the goals of the project.
  • Keep in mind to incorporate all characteristics of a good questionnaire for surveys/ research.
  • Emphasize how aims are to be accomplished
  • Must be highly focused and feasible
  • Address the more immediate project outcomes
  • Make accurate use of concepts
  • Must be sensible and precisely described

Should read as an ‘individual’ statement to convey your intentions.

defining aim objectives scope - properties of objectives

That is the participant will learn out of it. There are three kind of domain of the under which objectives generally falls:

  • Cognitive Domain: Dealing with intellectual abilities. Approximately 80% of educational objectives fall into this domain. Most familiar to both instructors, authors and learners.
  • Affective Domain : Relating to the expression of feelings , including emotions, fears, interests, attitudes, beliefs, values and appreciations. Often the most difficult objectives to develop Sometimes called “heart” objective.
  • Motor Skills: The easiest objectives to write as the behavior is easily observed and monitored. Psychomotor skills often involve the use of tools or instruments.

defining aim objectives scope - vision

All three domains are hierarchical  

  • More complex and higher level skills are at the top.
  • Each level builds on itself and assumes mastery at the lower level.
  • Fundamentals are the earliest level.

The major properties of the objectives are:

  1. Specific
  2. Precise
  3. Tangible
  4. Concrete
  5. Measurable

Aims and Objectives should not:

  • Be too vague, ambitious or broad in scope.
  • Just repeat each other in different terms.
  • Just be a list of things related to your research topic.
  • Contradict your methods – i.e. they should not imply methodological goals or standards of measurement, proof or generalizability of findings that the methods cannot sustain.


Goals are defined as a subset of your aims. These are often a bit more defined but lack specific measurability. Whereas an aim may refer to a very broad category such as improving writing skills, a goal will address a specific aspect of writing skills. These are statements that have a purpose and outcome in mind.


goal is a desired result a person or a system envisions plans and commits to achieve a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development.


The best way to understand how aims, goals and objectives differ from one another is to see an example that encompasses all three. An aim is to gain career or job satisfaction. A goal is to place yourself in a job that allows for upward mobility or a more enjoyable work environment. Your objectives are to prepare a resume, arrange job interviews and search for job openings in your field of interest.

In the classroom, an aim is to make students proficient in algebra. A goal is to have students learn systems of equations. An objective is to give students daily assignments that helps them practice these skills to improve understanding and test scores.

How can we identify the Goals?

  1. State the definition of a complementary medical intervention or therapy.
  2. Provide the health professional with the latest information about over the counter (OTC) antihistamines and their side effects.
  3. Introduce the reader to a new development in the early detection of oral cancer.
  4. Be exposed to a new way of organizing paperwork.

Importance thing about goals:

A few things to remember about goals. Every educational activity should have a goal. Goals are framed keeping in mind what the learner will experience, it is not based on what the teacher/presenter will teach or present. It should be regarded as a broad statement of purpose.

In general terms what is the overall purpose of the educational activity? What is the main intention?

Development of a Study:

  1. First develop the overall broad goal for your educational activity for example writing coursework. Example: “The purpose of this activity, coursework (lecture, article, etc) is to……..
  2. Define your AUDIENCE: If possible, identify at what level they are. Novice, intermediate, advanced or mixed? Remember, the audience is always the learner, not the instructor.
  3. What does a participant have to do to demonstrate they have mastered the material? Are those behaviours cognitive, affective or psychomotor? This will influence your word choice.
    1. REMEMBERING:  Recall of information
    2. UNDERSTANDING: Interpret information in one’s own words
    3. APPLYING: Use knowledge or generalization in a new situation
    4. ANALYSING: Break down knowledge into parts and show relationships among parts.
    5. EVALUATING: Making judgments based on criteria and standards.
    6. CREATING: Bring together parts of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for new situations

Scope and Limitation of any Study

This would be part of the scope of the study (of probability).  What probability cannot tell us is the certainty of the second flip.  Therefore you could add to the above line on probability ’However, whether it actually will come out as tails is only probable not definite’.  The scope of any study is what the study can tell us, while the limitation is related information that the study can’t tell us. It is worth noting however that when writing a scope, it is generally best to avoid mentioning limitations. For example ’the study can tell us X and Y’ or at the very most ’the study can tell us X and Y with an accuracy of Z’, implying but not directly mentioning a limitation.  Whereas a limitation might mention what can be done in relation to what cannot be done for example ’While the experiment can tell us A, it cannot as yet tell us X’.

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