Why should you bother with research objectives?

Enjoying this content?

Enjoying this content? Sign up to receive it in your inbox each week via our Contact page...

Like just about anything in life, a research project has the potential to be a roaring success or a complete failure. A good set of research objectives can be the difference.


Read time: 2.5 minutes


tl;dr: Objectives will help you to frame your project, avoiding scope creep and are a great way to judge how successful your research has been. They help you design your data collection, select participants, write questions, carry out analysis and communicate findings. Oh, and they’re easier to create than you might think.


Some of the ways in which research can fail…

  • You try to ask too much – to find out everything about everyone

  • You don’t ask what you really need to know

  • You end up learning very little

One way to tackle this and also judge how successful you’ve been with your research – is whether you’ve answered your objectives.


Easy to say, hard to actually do.

If you’ve never written research objectives before then it’s possible you’ll struggle with it. So let’s break it down.


1.Forget the research objectives



At least for now.


Start by focusing on your business needs. What exactly does the business need in order for it to progress?



  • Find a target audience

  • Launch a successful MVP

  • Validate the business idea/proposition

  • Get funding

You’ll probably find it much more straightforward to create a list of business needs like this.


2.Prioritise the business needs

Next, figure out which of these business needs are the most important and therefore need the most focus. 


These are the ones where you may need some research.


Let’s prioritise the previous list, as follows:

Now let’s just focus on the first one as it’s the key business need. Now we need to figure out all the questions that sit within this need.


3.Break the need down into questions

Let’s rewrite this as a set of questions, each one with its own set of sub-questions.
“validate the business idea / proposition” becomes…


>>> Is our idea any good?

  • Is the problem we’re solving a real world problem?

  • How many people suffer from the problem, how often?

  • How does it make people feel?

>>> Are people going to buy it?

  • Do they have a solution to fix the problem already?

  • How good is this solution? 

  • Are they already paying for a solution?

  • Are they paying for solutions in other areas of their life?


4.Now let’s write those research objectives

Oh, wait – you already did it.


This list of questions is good enough to become your research objectives.


Don’t feel you need to spend ages crafting a beautiful set of S.M.A.R.T. objectives (unless you really want to). 


By listing out these questions you’ve clearly put in a good amount of effort to generate a really good framework for your research.


This list is one that will help you determine…

  • How you decide to collect your data – eg. surveys vs interviews vs focus groups

  • Who you need to ‘recruit’ to participate in your research (read more on this here)

  • The questions you’ll be asking them (you’re halfway there already)

  • How you’ll analyse the data – what insights you’ll look out for

  • How you’ll communicate to your team, your stakeholders

Maybe writing research objectives isn’t as hard as you think.


Let me know how you get on.


Thanks for reading

Would you like to learn how to run your own research?



Leave a Replay

Sign up for our Newsletter