Get Your Final Year Project Topic and Materials: October 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

Defending Your Project – Project/Dissertation Defense Tips PART 3

Defending Your Project – Project/Dissertation Defense Tips

Writing a project is a vital and inspiring task one will encounter as a graduating student, and thereafter, face the part called “Project Defense”. Project defense may not really sound much of a tall order, owing to the fact that before one finally gets to final year, there must have been several seminars and presentations. But they may not be likened to that very exclusive day of your project defense. Yes, this is true because much attention is given at this time and remember we are discussing about the final stage of the entire period of your academic year in school. Sensitive, isn’t it? Well, that leads us to the relevance of this article. Now let’s look at some very important necessities to making an awesome presentation and gaining good grades.
During that project defense, you will be required to present and defend your project in front of your supervisor, faculty project committee (comprising most of the lecturers in your department), and a very big number of audience (that includes strangers, members of your department and few friends). You can expect to be asked a number of questions after your presentation, and you need to be well prepared with the knowledge and skill necessary to answer the questions confidently, which also has a higher percent of marks awardable to you.

Acceptable Dress Code
When defending your project, you will need to prove to your audience and supervisor that you are capable of producing more broad-ranging, in-depth pieces of scholarly writing. With this in mind, you should look the like. You will need to wear professional attire, this has to be comfortable on you also because the last thing you want is to distract your audience from the masterpiece which is your thesis by tugging, stretching and dancing at cloth-discomfort while you are presenting your defense or fielding questions. Nor do you want to disrupt your own ability to concentrate by squeezing into those “cute” shoes.
It can therefore be believed that a generally accepted outfit for a more corporate outfit is a complete black suit (meaning the materials of the jacket and pant/skirt must be uniform in colour and stuff) with same colour of belt and shoes (preferably black). Then a clean plain shirt with an official colour (preferably white, skyblue or lite-pink) with a plain or striped black or navy blue tie for the gents, then the ladies may choose to have simple neck chain or button up to the neck depending on the shirt design. Then a lady will need to wear a simple hair-do, with simple accessories to avoid unnecessary side attractions.

Defense Rehearsal
When preparing for your defense, get yourself familiar with the guidelines and requirements put into place by your department. Speak with your supervisor to be sure that you know exactly what is expected of you. Each member of the committee should have a copy of your project at least a couple of weeks before your defense, this includes your abstract. Talking with people who have already defended their projects can be extremely helpful, as it can help you with confidence as well as a stronger sense of the expectations you are facing. Furthermore, attending the defenses of others will afford you the opportunity to observe interactions between students and members of the committee, hear the types of questions you may face, and identify the characteristics of strong and weak project defenses; it will provide insight on what to do and what not to do.
When it comes to defending your project paper orally in front of your supervisor and committee members, practice can really make perfect. Take any chance you can get to discuss your project with some friends. If you can find someone to sit through a practice defense, take advantage of it. Your audience may ask some of the questions the committee is liable to ask, this can help you identify the portions of your defense that need to be honed.
Try to create a good time with your supervisor before you defend your project, you should sit down for a strategy session. Use this time to organize and plan your defense. Pay good close attention to your asupervisor's reactions to your project and heed any advice he or she will give you. Because he or she has heard many defenses and knows what the committees look for. Having your thesis defense structured well ahead of time will make you feel more comfortable and focused during your presentation.

Know your project paper lines
The project defense is your opportunity to take the stage and to demonstrate the growth and progress you have experienced in your years as a graduating student. This is your chance to showcase your research abilities, as well as to finish your degree requirements. Defending your thesis statement can help you obtain helpful feedback and recommendations that you can incorporate into your final draft.
Make sure to get across the fundamentals while defending your project. First, state your thesis/research question. You need to describe the importance of your topic and detail how your research was conducted, including any methods of measurement you have used. The major findings of your project should be made clear, as well as how your thesis contributes to the body of knowledge in your field. Finally, you must state the conclusions and recommendations you have made based on your research.
You should expect, in some way, to be required to answer the rude question like “So what?” “What has your research and writing accomplished, that may be of importance in your field?” Professors will say that graduate students tend not to be bold enough, in making claims for what they have discovered or compiled, during the process of working on their project. If you don't express confidence about your findings in the project, your committee may develop their own doubts about the value of your work.
Get aware of the fact that you probably know your topic better than most or all of the professors who comprise the committee. You've likely been researching and envisaging your topic for well over a year, and the material will be fresher and more immediate for you than for them. If you pause to think about this, it should give you extra confidence going into the project defense. At the same time, the committee members will likely know your field in a much broader sense than you. They may ask you to specify where in the larger scheme of things, where in your field, your project will fit. That's where the big "So What?" question will arise during your defense. You have been warned, prepare for it.
Furthermore, one question one should anticipate from your project defense committee is, "What do you plan to do with the project, beyond the four walls of the school?" Do you anticipate to revise it for publication as a book? Do you intend to do further research on your topic once you've gotten a job coming out of school? Do you intend to seek grants to help you further develop your project? Do you intend to cooperate with another scholar before you offer your work to a broader audience?

The Presentation
Stage fright at this stage is very inevitable, but no matter how nervous you may be, be sure to focus and to listen with care to the questions posed to you. Ensure to take a moment to pause before you give your answer if you need to. It is not about quick responses, but they are looking for meaningful ones. You should expect to be asked to address the more controversial aspects of your project. Keep in mind that you don't have to defend everything about your project. If you don't have an answer to a question, don't fake it or make any promises, reply that the question is interesting and that you will consider it in the future. Remember that defending your project requires you to be political to a certain extent.
If you are having trouble with managing your fears while defending your project, you may find it helpful to use visual aids during your presentation. They can help you stay focused and confident, as well as help you pace yourself. Visual aids, if you use them, should clearly state the research problem, objectives, approaches, and the contributions of your project work.
One of the most crucial things to remember when defending your project is to maintain a level of passion about your research. If you are passionate about your work, your supervisor and committee will take note of this, and it will highlight the importance of your project. After all, who isn't passionate about the concluding event of a long and difficult journey?
After you have presented your defense, you will either be told that you have passed, that your project needs minor revisions, that your project needs to be resubmitted, or that it has not been approved. The last two possibilities are rare, especially if you have followed the project writing process properly, and if you have stayed in meaningful contact with your supervisor. If you have been diligent, there really should be few surprises.



You are through with writing that project. Now what?
You have found yourself at that point where you have to defend what you have written. Of course you have to stand in front of your supervisor and other literary personalities to prove that you know what you wrote in your project paper. Unfortunately, the more you think about it, the more it looks like you are about to face a legion. It is not a war. But the emotion of dread welling up inside of you makes it look like one. So now you are asking yourself questions.
… how am I going to start?
… I hope I will do well enough to get an A.
You really want to nail it, but you need to come to terms with exactly how to get everything in perfect control. Especially your emotions of fear that seem to make a wreck of you every time you think about public speaking.
So here is the deal. I want to help you avoid that feeling that would ruin your precious moment if you dare to let it. And we are going to do it together. I am going to highlight some very important tips to help you get in control for you to be comfortable enough to move from that feeling of DREAD to CONFIDENT; and making an awesome Impression for that great rating your supervisors should be giving to you so freely.
Consider these tips as you prepare for your defence. We will be taking them one after the other so here we go.

WATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE AND KEEP IT CONFIDENT:Can you tell that a person is falling apart if they look confident? ... if I can second guess you rightly, am sure you answered no to that question. Remind yourself that you need to come out that way. Now this might seem like a huge big deal when you are dealing with the foreboding. Maintaining a poise of confidence is very important. So find your most comfortable position, sitting or standing and draw up your body. You must exude confidence. It is something you need to do for yourself. People can only see what you allow your body language to show. So you must endeavour to put that out. Remember the story of David and Goliath? ... At the end of your defence day, you want to be David.

DRESS IN YOUR MOST COMFORTABLE AND IMPRESSIVE: Am sure this one is a no brainer. However I must highlight that you choose comfortable pieces. You don’t want to look so good and yet look like you were forced to wear something that does not belong to you. It’s great to ensure that as impressive as your clothes are on you, that they are also very comfortable.

SPEAK WITH AUTHORITY: Going hand to hand with that aura of confidence is your most powerful asset: your words. If you look that confident, your words must not come out like whimpers. To be able to pull this off, you definitely need to speak as deliberately as possible in expressing yourself. Let them also hear what they see.

USE, YOUR GESTURES: I have often found this to come to my rescue in dealing with shyness and conveying my confidence. Usually it gives you an edge to also drive home your point. You must, however, ensure that you do not over use it. It doesn’t mean that your hands should be flying all over the place. That would be absolutely unnecessary. If you do this well, after a while you will realize that you are not as self-conscious as you used to be at the very start. For most situations, it would have completely disappeared altogether; leaving a really confident you talking.

HAVE A GOOD OPENING AND CLOSING LINE: Make sure you have perfected a good opening line. You should also be armed with a good closing line too. Try and rehearse it to a friend. If for the first time you presented it, your friend does not say “wow, that’s beautiful” or something like that; just know you need to keep refining it until you get the perfect line. Both opening and closing lines will go a long way in how impressed your panel gets to rate you high.

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR WORK: Certainly you should understand how important it is to know your own work from start to finish. Not having in-depth knowledge of your own work is tantamount to a suicide mission. Why should you kill yourself?
When all is said and done, this is what you came to defend in the first place. You should know your work from A to Z.

PREPARE FOR THE QUESTIONS: Now this part is truly essential. You must be sure you do not floor all the good work you did on your presentation by not answering correctly. You must pay attention to the questions you are asked to be sure you will give the right answer. Many people get it wrong at this stage and spoil their good presentation. When you do not understand any question do endeavour to ask the person to expatiate what they mean before you answer.These tips are by no means exhaustive, but applying these tips will give you some necessary advantage you need for a great outcome. Of course that outcome would mean that you eventually earn all your points on this project.
I will be glad to know how you performed on your project defense. Please, do share your experiences with the comment box on this post. Did you have a funny experience (going down memory lane) or perhaps there is a tip that will be helpful? Please share. I will love to hear from you.



First of all, I have been there. Secondly, I know that a lot can go wrong if one ends up with a career that is unsuitable for them. Thirdly, life is too important not to live it fully focused on things that give you the utmost joy. Yes, I think it is one of the most important choices.

Choosing a career makes a strong mark in all of an individual’s success. This is partly because a lot is hinged on the offering that gives you passion and that you decide to pursue and make a living from. It is expected that the choice of your course of study is a major starting point but when you consider the fact that people could eventually decide to change the course of their career at a different stage in life or even completely branch out based on new calling and needs that they have come to see and feel a strong pull to bridge gaps in, then you will appreciate more the importance of being informed about this new step

Usually, you should have considered this before the choice of a university degree; nonetheless, it does not always follow that what you studied in school turns out to become your career (Certainly you can see this happening with many people in many fields). 

Often, when one gets to the point in academics where you are at that finishing point of writing your project and defending it, you are faced with the challenge of strategizing about how to start out properly with the right career. Sometimes you do not have much at your disposal to make this vital decision. 

Whether you are just about changing course in your career or starting out fresh, I believe this post will benefit you. So in this post, I am going to highlight some vital points of focus that could guide you as you take the leap.

1. Consider your Passion:
The word ‘passion’ may be said to be overemphasized but you cannot take away the import of the word. So yes, am going to bring it to bear here. What do you find yourself attracted to doing that you find easy to offer to others? What are your hobbies? What activities can you sit and do for long with joy and commitment?

You are now getting armed with your degree and need to make that exchange. Certainly, if you have been a student and a young adult, you may have had your parents or sponsors taking care of you and paying for your bills. But now, you have to make your own money and turn your passion towards generating the financial revenue that will make you financially independent.

Even if this is completely different in your case and you have been financially independent and just considering this career change, how about aligning what you love doing with your choice? This will go a long way to leverage you on your career venture.
Are you comfortable with numbers? Is your course of study already in line with the demands of what you love doing? For example if you are comfortable with numbers and chose accounting  as a course you are very well set for the demands of your chosen field. Also you might be good with computer and perhaps already studied a course in Software design, it is obvious to see that you can thrive very well in your chosen field. If you are not too sure about your passion you might benefit from asking your friends and loved ones to help you spot what you are good at. It is imperative that you consider your passion. Sit yourself down and ask yourself if your passion is indeed in line with the career you are about to venture into. 

2.  Consider how to make your skill set adaptably to your career choice:
Understand that there is almost no job security anywhere. This might sound quite shocking but it is true. With advancements in life, business, technology and the advent of the 21st century, comes the instability of jobs.  Sometimes your career may be threatened by the insecurity of the microwave mentality that rules the business world. So you must be prepared for this. There could be possibilities of downsizing or the need for you to take your skill sets to another company. You must be sure that you understand and get a feeling for how you will thrive in that career regardless of what company and where. You must make projections to be sure that the career you choose is one that you will be ready to sustain in both good times and bad seasons too.

3. Consider your personality:
Do you have what it takes to adapt to the regiments of your chosen career? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? If you are choosing a career it has to be one that your personal attitudes, character and mindset is naturally disposed / synergized with. Imagine someone who decides to be a doctor and does not like to be disturbed at night time, hates studying for long and finds ailing people ‘irritating’. Okay, that might be an exaggerated case but the idea is to align your choice of career with your personality: Those characteristics; that make you appealing. According to Microsoft® Encarta® 2009, it is the totality of somebody’s attitudes, interests, behavioral patterns, emotional responses, social roles and other individual traits that endure over a period of time.
This, my friend is very vital. If not, you will purposefully be setting yourself up for a fail. You do not want to be frustrated much later on in your career or eventually turning out to consider branching out later on. Do it now. Your personality determines to a large extent, what you are suited for. There is a professional environment that is best suited for your personality. Find it and leverage your career path on it.

4. Consider a model:
Use someone in the career you want as a model, compare. Check their lifestyle and see if it’s actually what you want; their paycheck, their living standard etc. Of course it can be better for you but that will give you an insight to know if this is actually what you want out of yours. If what you find is comparatively different from your dream then you might need to check again. Look around and find that person that you can use as a basis for your assessment. Do not be shy to schedule a meeting with this person if there is need to. Usually people are willing to assist you with information if you are sincere, polite and respectful when asking for help (However you must understand that such private discussions about their pay Check may not be welcome). So while you are lucky enough to have insider information that will be helpful from such a friend, relative or loved one you must be guided by the perceived rule of questions that should be necessary and those considered inappropriate.

5. Consider a chat with a counselor:
There are professional people that can help you make this decision easier. They are people who have expertise and high degree of competence in this area.  Usually, they are well grounded with the information to guide you. You can seek one out. Their vast knowledge and practical advice will be a great asset. Most often, they work with academic institutions. You should ask questions. You will not be far from finding one. For a start, you can consider having a stop at the closest college or university to you. Perhaps, calling first at the administration block of the institution will go a long way to getting in touch with the professional that you seek. A cheerful face, beautiful attitude and the right questions can get you answers quicker than you thought. So arm yourself and get on with it. On the other hand, how about typing: ‘How to find a career counselor’ on your search engine? 

 6. Research, Research, Research:
First off, let me tell you that when I typed “how to find a career counselor” on Google search engine, the resources I found were immense.
You can research on anything under the earth and end up better informed. The grades you get, the course you majored in, the availability of that job in the labour market, how relevant it is in different sectors of the economy etc. Research involves fact finding. Read books, gather opinions of people, get on the internet. The internet is one of the best things that happened to us. Information is now a Computer and a connection away. Go ahead and craft out your questions on that search engine and voila; it will appear. Research on what is obtainable and make that career decision.
But no matter what happens, don’t do it blindly. Get as much information as possible. Just like choosing a project topic and writing about it, make this an important project. Hopefully, it should pay off with your desired outcome. Let me know what you think.
Good luck!



It is one thing to complete a good research work and another to place its value on high demand. Just like in production, except a product is well marketed, its quality cannot be predicted. Marketing draws the attention of the prospective consumer first before a trial will be considered and then the salability of such good. As a mark of high necessity, the abstract of every research work should be able to draw any reader’s interest to insist on purchasing the complete material. In this dispensation, e-journals have become the best way to reach a wider audience and only the quality of a researcher’s abstract has the capacity of selling the research material.
This blog post therefore concentrates on how best to present a good abstract. Let us take a glance on some basics;
An abstract in a simple form can be understood to be a summarized write-up that is complete enough to represent the full work in view, (no more, no less). This abstract should be able to highlight key contents of the enabling the reader predict the expectations from the journal. Nevertheless, as informative as an abstract can be, the writer should be careful not to use high vocabularies nor end up on a lengthy write-up with unnecessary extensions.

  1. Precise: A good abstract has to correctly reproduce the purpose and subjects of the work in view. It does not have to include neither irrelevant information nor points that are not contained in the work. I can advise that the headings of the research work should be noted and used as guide in verifying the exactness of the abstract. In a case where the research work is either a replication or an extension of an existing research, the author’s (initials and family name) must be cited with the year of publication.
  2. Brief and definite: Every sentence used has to be as revealing as possible, most especially the first the lead sentence. And it should be as brief as possible such that the total length of the whole abstract should not exceed 150 words (in estimation).

In as much as an abstract does not need to be lengthy, it should be able to well represent the complete material in view. That is to say that every major point in the work must be represented in either a sentence or two. The following components are the specifications that can be used for check when writing an abstract;

This is the first part of the abstract that introduces the motivation or intention of the research in general. This has to come first to be able to captivate the reader and gradually lead to the problem of the research.
Is the research trying to solve a problem? Is your scope of work generalized or specified to a particular situation? You will need to avoid too many stories, just go ahead and state it in one sentence. Sometimes, it is better to bring the problem statement then the motivation can follow.
What method did you use in solving the problem? It could be the use of field data, simulation, analysis or prototype construction. They need to be stated all in a sentence with the variables after the problem statement.
What are your findings? Be careful not to use ambiguous statements, it is ok to put the figures obtained specifically, yes, Put the result there, in numbers.
What inferences can be drawn from your answer? Can your result be potentially generalized or is it limited to the particular case of study? It has to be stated.




Running behind time is soooooooo easy. One minute you have all the time in the world and the next you realize you barely have an hour or more to the moment you have been waiting for. It’s kind of frustrating to be late or not meet up. Especially, when it’s something very important. On top of that, imagine knowing that you are going to be late on your project or even a presentation. That would be some hell of a big deal. Add to the fact that a lot of supervisors do not take it lightly to let you be the deciding factor and you have a picture in your mind’s eye that brings a scowl on your face. Now imagine if that were a reality. Of course that will be way below par with what you want or the picture you would love.
There is something about poor time management that rubs us all the wrong way. For one, it makes you feel like a looser. I have not yet met anyone who is comfortable to know that they are turning up late at an extremely important schedule that does not feel horrible. In fact, in most cases, ‘horrible’ will be an understatement. Besides, you don’t want to have a run in with your supervisor for being late on submissions right? So how about we discuss how to manage your time better?
Here we go. Let us find out some ways to meet up with your time:

What do you want to do?
Sit down and start drafting. Have an outline that guides you. Summarize in a small, short form the structure of your project. What you wish to do. At this stage, what you really should focus on is to have the title and the chapters written out as a guide. Just make little notes to aid you on your thought line. You really don’t have to go into details. If you itemize them like this, it will make it easier for you to highlight fully or expatiate later. Usually it is a way of trying to get you and your mind to start working on your project. Instead of just living in your imagination, by doing a short draft you have successfully moved your Project into reality. You must note that this is different from having an action plan.

Use a calendar to plan a chart. What do you want to do at a specific point and when? Realize that waiting for your supervisor to give you a heads up on when you should submit your work at any stage means that there is a possibility you may lag behind. So do not let this happen. State how long it should last and allot a time frame on it. This will guide you towards how and when each target should be implemented. I personally use this a lot on my work schedules and it helps me a great deal. You might prefer to use a POST-IT, they are very colourful. (Colours have a way of calling your attention). Especially when they contrast perfectly from the background where you place them. Strategically position them in a place you will always look or go to: In front of your computer or laptop; on your fridge; on your bathroom door or door to your loo (That is if you live alone. Of course you do know it will be crazy to plaster everyone’s faces with your activity right?).
Well, by the time you start submitting chapters upon chapters of your work, you will have very little work pressure compared to not having an action plan at all and if you need to effect any corrections that your supervisor advices, you will find that it becomes easier and not too stressful; as is the case when you are pressed for time.

Use your phone. It is called a mobile phone and usually you take it everywhere you go. I love it when my phone beeps to remind me about something I need to do in the next few minutes, next hour or so depending on how I set it up. I would recommend that you give yourself at least thirty minutes ahead of each agenda so that you have more time. Also, depending on where you will be at a certain point in time you should be able to assess whether your time could be extended further to accommodate a preparation. For instance if what you need to do demands that you get home to pick up something or change gears, you should set your alert for perhaps an hour to give you enough room to do just that. It is a great asset for the work of an assistant and you do not have to pay an assistant’s salary at all. Just log into the calendar your reminder for when you want the alert and the rest is history. Your project work will benefit tremendously if you utilize this asset that is your mobile phone. Believe me.

It’s important that you understand how needful it should be that you be disciplined. Take for instance the scenario that your phone starts beeping; you take a look at it, read what it's saying and stick it back into your pocket without doing anything about it. Or better still, the scenario that you have drafted out your action plan and allotted time frames on it, but don’t get around to actually following through on your targets? Of course that would mean that you are not disciplined enough to be committed to your own success. So yes, you must be disciplined to ensure you work according to plan and push yourself to follow through with what is necessary.

If you are wondering how this can impact on your time management, consider the fact that you do more work at those times that you find it easier and motivated enough to put in some work on your project. For instance, if you prefer a serene atmosphere and find it more pleasurable to work at night without much disturbance and distractions, you will notice that the energy to do more at those times means that you get more done. So reiteratively, the outcome is that whenever you work at night you turnover more at that time of the night than during the day. Maybe you might have a pile of work that ends up disappearing after you put in a decent duration of night time. By all means use that knowledge to your advantage and leverage on it. When your project work becomes that beautiful piece of work in your school’s library your immense efforts will have paid off.
Finding the time you work best and leveraging on it will save you tons of hours. By the time you quantify the hours you have saved for yourself, you will realize how far you have come with effective time management. Clap for yourself later (don’t forget me too… now am smiling).

One of the biggest mistake you can make after saving yourself time by implementing all of the above is by not checking in with your supervisor at every stage. You don’t want to do that and ruin the great job you are trying to do. Keep in touch. Keeping in touch with your supervisor is a great way of keeping the communication line open. Aside from that, in cases of new information, you get to hear them on time. It does not mean that you are sucking up to him or her. It will enhance the quick delivery you have targeted for your timeline. Need I tell you will also be any supervisor’s ideal candidate? ... *wink*.

And when the time for your presentation comes, repeat the processes that brought you this far to be absolutely prepared and on time. Go to bed early the day before, so that you will be fully refreshed at the dawn of your 'D' day. Make sure you have a head start in the morning to run through your entire work. Envisage your presentation and the kind of questions it could attract. Practice calmness and use the time you have been given for the presentation of your project work to schedule yourself. Arrive early and don’t be late. You should be looking dapper. Go buddy!
Well, we have come a long way.
I should hope the end justifies the means at this point. You want to be that person who has everything planned accordingly and implemented successfully and on time right? I trust that this will go a long way to making you that person. Obviously this list is not an exhaustive one. Feel free to share your insights too. Good luck on becoming that pro with time management.



I once stumbled upon a sentence that greatly inspired me. The saying goes thus: Every writer is a thief! Certainly you'd be quick to dispute that. The thing is, we were born without the knowledge we have now garnered overtime, it is the work of others that we have digested to become this informed.
In research, it is usual that there would be an in-depth digging of past and similar work. It is required that due credit is given to the author of what-so-ever sentence, experimental work, or excerpt adapted into your work. This is to acknowledge their efforts, sponsor hard-work and discourage theft of any form. This also helps the readers/reviewers of your work locate the past work and go over.
Plagiarism - claiming someone else's work as yours is a terrible offence and a laugh-off of creativity. This is strongly discouraged in all climes. Hence, the need for this guide.

Referencing styles/methods
There are numerous methods of acknowledging past work in your writing, but there are three major revered styles (citation guide, 2008). The key, however, is consistency in application.

  1. APA (American Psychological Association)

Print Sources - Book
In the text, it is required that the author and year of publication is used. In parenthesis or only the year of publication in parenthesis, e.g.: (Archibong, 2014) or according to Archibong (2014) ...

At the citation page/list of references/bibliography, it is written out in full:
The author(s) surname is written, then a comma and initials. The year of publication in parenthesis. The title of the work in italics, with edition and particular pages in parenthesis. Then the publisher's details.

E.g.: Archibong, A. (2014). Referencing basics (2nd ed.) (Pg. 66). Lagos State: Research clue publishers.

NB: For whatever purpose, the rules are sacrosanct. Same principles. For more than one author, '&' is used.

Print sources - Journal
Same in-text citation, but in the list of references, the article title is not italicized. The journal title is italicized. The journal volume and page number could be added.
E.g.: Archibong, A., & Michael P. (2014). Referencing basics. Journal of research, Vol 2, 400-403.

Print sources - Magazine, newspaper and encyclopaedia
Same in-text citation, but the publication date is in full. The newspaper/magazine/encyclopaedia article title is not italicized, the newspaper/magazine title and volume is italicized. The page is then added.
E.g.: Archibong, A. (2014, December 1). Referencing basics. Research clue magazine, Vol 2, 400-403.

Online sources
For articles in Journals, newspapers, encyclopaedias and magazines, it is referenced as above (exact principles) but the URL and date retrieved online is added.
E.g. for Journal: Archibong, A., & Michael P. (2014). Referencing basics. Journal of research, Vol 2, 400-403. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from

For DVD/CD source
The article title is not italicized but the title of the referenced work. Then the publisher.
E.g.: Archibong, A. (2014). Referencing basics. Research clue compilation (DVD).Lagos: Research clue publishers.
If there is no Author, the article title is used first, then the year of publication in parenthesis. Then the publication title in italics (Journal, magazine, encyclopaedia or online), before the publication source.
E.g. for Journal online source: Referencing basics. (2014). Journal of research, Vol 2. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from

  1. CHICAGO Manual of Style

Similarly, in the text, it is required that the author and year of publication is used. Page number can be added though. In parenthesis or only the year of publication in parenthesis, e.g.: (Archibong, 2014, 29) or according to Archibong (2014), referencing can be difficult (29) ...

Print Sources - Book
At the citation page/list of references/bibliography, it is written out in full:
The author(s) surname is written, then the first name in full. The year of publication without parenthesis. The title of the work in italics, the edition and with particular pages without parenthesis as well. Then the publication source.

E.g.: Archibong, Austine. 2014. Referencing basics. 2nd ed. Lagos State: Research clue publishers.

NB: For whatever purpose, the rules are sacrosanct. Same principles. For more than one Author, 'and' is used.

Print sources - Journal
Same in-text citation, but in the list of references, the article title is not italicized. The journal title is italicized. The journal volume and page number could be added.
NB: No parenthesis in the dates and page numbers.
E.g.: Archibong, Austine U., and Michael Peter G. 2014. Referencing basics. Journal of research: 400-403.

Print sources - Magazine
The article title is not italicized, the title and volume is italicized. The page is then added.
E.g.: Archibong, Austine U. 2014. Referencing basics. Research clue magazine, Vol 2, 400-403.

Print sources - Newspaper and Encyclopaedia
Newspaper articles are not listed as bibliography, it is cited as a running part of the text. It is not in parenthesis.
E.g.: In the Research clue Magazine on December 1, 2014, Archibong put out that ...

Online sources
For articles in Journals and magazines ONLY, it is referenced as above (exact principles) but the URL and date accessed online is added (in parenthesis).
E.g. for Journal: Archibong, Austine. 2014. Referencing basics. Journal of research, Vol 2, 400-403. (accessed November 1, 2014)
For online encyclopaedias and Newspaper, it is not added to the bibliography. Referenced as above.

DVD/CD ROM encyclopaedia source
It is not listed in the bibliography, but as a running part of the text.
E.g.: In the article on Referencing guide by Austine in Research clue [DVD],....

  1. MLA (Modern Language Association)

In the text, it is required that the author and year of publication is used. In parenthesis, no comma then page number. e.g.: (Archibong Pg 12) or according to (Archibong). NB: For whatever purpose, the rules are sacrosanct. Same principles. For more than one Author, 'and' is used.

Print Sources - Book
At the citation page/list of references/bibliography, it is written out in full:
The author(s) surname is written, then the first and middle name in full. The title of the work is underlined with the edition in aparenthesis, then the publisher and year of publication without parenthesis.

E.g.: Archibong, Austine Ubong. Referencing basics (2nd ed.). Lagos State: Research clue publishers, 2014.

NB: For whatever purpose, the rules are sacrosanct. Same principles. For more than one Author, 'and' is used.

Print sources - Journal
Same in-text citation, but in the list of references, the article and journal title are not italicized. The article title is put in quotation mark. The journal volume and page number could be added.
NB: No parenthesis in the dates and page numbers.
E.g.: Archibong, Austine Ubong, and Michael Peter Gabriel. "Referencing basics." Journal of research, Vol 2 (2014): 400-403.

Print sources - Magazine, encyclopaedia  and newspaper
The article title is not italicized, it is put in quotation mark. The magazine title is underlined. The page of publication and page numbers are then added.
E.g. for magazine: Archibong, Austine U. "Referencing basics." Biotech magazine, Vol 2, 2014: 400-403.

Online sources
For articles in journals, magazines, encyclopaedias, it is referenced as above (exact principles) but the URL source is added. '<' and '>' is added at the beginning and end of the URL link.
E.g. for Journal: Archibong, Austine. "Referencing basics." Journal of research, Vol 2: 400-403. <>>

DVD/CD ROM encyclopaedia source (no author)
E.g.: "Reference guidelines." Biotech [DVD]. Lagos: Research clue publication, 2014.
If there is no Author, it is the article title in quotation. The publication title is underlined. The date of publication, then the source (if internet, '<' and '>' is added).

E.g.: "Referencing basics." Journal of Research. November 1, 2014. <>

Citation guide. (2008). Microsoft Student 2007 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.



During or after research, there is usually a need to analyze; to present the information gotten in a presentable and easily understood format.
There are numerous packages or softwares that could be used to achieve this.
The choice of the method to use in the analysis depends on the function to be achieved. However, even for the same function, there are multiple means of analysing data, hence, certain things should be noted.
The method might be based on the popularity of the option in your environ. It might be based also on what you were taught with in school. It might be specially required for the kind of work you are doing. Possible options are discussed below. All options have their pros and cons.

  1. Excel: This is a common medium. It is part of the Microsoft Office packages. Aside MS word, it is easily the most used MS office package, before PowerPoint.

The major advantage is that it is easy to use. It is cheap to install and readily available. You rarely get stuck in its use due to its widespread popularity. It is used for general analysis: regression, scatter plots, graphs and various charts, various functions, visual presentation of tables et al. Wide applications in the business area as well. It is not programming -oriented, rather it is analytical. However, it is belittled in advanced research and difficult as well as slow for large data . Seen as elementary.

  1. SPSS and strata: This is common in science. They are specific for analysis and can do better in that regard. There is a possibility of merging datasets together as well. The various sheets in excel can be exported and merged elsewhere.

Statisticians and some social scientists use it as well. Stata is easier and cheaper to use than SPSS. SPSS would most likely be preferred of the two. They are both analytical tools, they don't require programming skills. Excellent for ANOVA analysis, t and chi square analysis, multiple regression analysis etc.

  1. Matlab: Full meaning: Matrix laboratory. This is common in engineering and scientific communities. It has good matrix support but lesser statistical analysis support. It is expensive and requires programming capabilities. Great for developing mathematical algorithms.


These are the few i have experience in. There are several others available. MatCAD is another powerful tool with lots of engineering applications.

SAS is another stat tool like SPSS though with very poor reviews due to its limits and use. Its distinctive quality is its large dataset. The range is in GB and might not be fitted at once. The learning curve is pretty high as well.
Then there's R, Scipy, PolyMath and the others.

Whichever option is chosen for analysis, consideration of the intended function, limits and alternatives is critical as it would save the researcher a whole of stress in the course of the analysis.




Information is power and excessive use of power with little control will definitely corrupt or worst still destroy! Every borrowed idea from books, magazines, research journals and the almighty internet must be properly acknowledged.
With our busy academic schedules as students coupled with family responsibilities, one may see research work as too tasking and may not really have the time to write from scratch. Unfortunately, as technology is advancing our dear lecturers are getting smarter by the day. Nigerian students are now interested in producing un-plagiarized papers as some schools are beginning to use anti-plagiarism softwares to screen term papers, essays and even research projects.
However, no need for fears. Your concerns are mine too. This power packed article will show you awesome tips that will aid you in avoiding plagiarism and getting ahead of your supervisor. Even the likes of Turnitin, Viper, and Plagtracker etc will never see your brake lights. Enjoy!

Know the Meaning of Plagiarism
To excel in your school papers without hitches, you must first understand what plagiarism is and what it is not. Plagiarism in simple English involves using other peoples’ ideas, theories, models etc. without referencing them.
For example:
Original Post: ‘’the rise in un-employment rate in Nigeria has resulted in the establishment of more small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria’’ (Nnamoko, 2014: 13).
Plagiarizing: The increase in un-employment rate in Nigeria has led to the establishment of numerous little and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria.
Not Plagiarizing: The rapid growth of business ventures and entrepreneurial activities in Nigeria can be attributed to the alarming rate of un-employment in Nigeria (Nnamoko, 2014:13).

Learn How to Properly Rephrase
From the above example, you can clearly see that both sentences were rephrased, but one was properly rephrased with adequate citation, while the former was pure plagiarism. Now in rephrasing, one must not only change few words to skip plagiarism, but must go ahead to add more meaning in the sentence while acknowledging the author at the same time. This will work in the literature review section of a paper. One’s ability to summarize a research journal or a book in an appropriate manner will help overcome any plagiarism checkers.

Develop Interest in the Subject Matter
One factor that encourages plagiarism amongst students is that most students who plagiarize do not have adequate interest for the topic of their paper. Once there is no interest, originality and creativity dies off. To avoid plagiarism and its associate problems, one must first understand the topic or theme of the paper to be written, read extensively on the subject matter and interact with experts in that field. These processes will aid in making the topic or theme fun and a wider insight into the subject matter will be gained by the student.

Do not Rely on One Source
The probability of plagiarizing is higher if you get all your information from a single source. Do not rely on a single article, book or journal to get information for your research project. Read extensively as more references will prove a thorough research and lesser probability for plagiarizing. With many sources, the writer will gain enough knowledge on the subject matter and this will help the writer to express his or her thoughts freely.

Improve on Your Writing Habit
To be an excellent student/researcher, you must inculcate the habit of writing in your academic life. Always feel free to use a pen and a paper to summarize articles in your own words, or better still try expressing your opinions and thoughts on paper. Improve on your academic writing skills and try a bit of creative writing.

Try Google Translate Tools
If you have read up to this point and you cannot still create your own original content, then you can opt for Google Translate. This tool can help you to apply some ‘surgery’ to an original article to become yours. Simply visit This fantastic tool will translate an original article in English to another language of your choice, then to yet another language and back to English. The trick here is that by the time you translate an English article to French, French to Spanish, then Spanish to English again, the original article will now be in broken English. From there you can edit and add your own ideas to get your own original content. You may also try some article spinners such as spinbot and freespinner.

Always Make Use of Anti-Plagiarism Tools
Before you submit your term paper, essay, research project etc. to your lecturer or supervisor ensure you make good use of a good anti-plagiarism checker to ensure you do not fall a victim to plagiarism. Students can use free anti-plagiarism tools in websites such as or These sites will help tell whether you are safe from plagiarism or not.

Learn How to Properly Cite/Reference
Finally, this is the most important tip in avoiding plagiarism. Now that you are fully aware of what plagiarism is and dangers associated with the act, you must learn to fully reference all borrowed ideas incorporated in your paper. Use accepted referencing style(s) by your institution.

    • Reputation and respect can be lost if you plagiarize.
    • Grades can be affected because of plagiarism.
    • Possible delays and expulsion from school can be caused by deliberate plagiarism.
    • Awesome websites such as and do not encourage plagiarism. Only use resources you get from the internet as a guide and do good by contributing to the body of knowledge!



Just like news headlines, your research project topic is your first selling point. If media houses do not caption a football match between Nigeria and Ghana as 'Nigeria and Ghana goes to War again' they may continue enjoying being broke. In essence, your project topic and the material you produce should be captivating. It should have the magical power to draw people’s interest, and achieve good grades for you.
Your ability to come up with an interesting and good research project topic is your first step in building an 'A' in Research Methodology. Fantastic research papers in Nigeria do not fall from heaven. They come about as a result of serious brainstorming mixed with great fun. Anyways in my little experience as an independent researcher, I do not entirely agree that developing a project topic should be too tasking. I rather see it as fun. When you are about to write a research project, the first skill you should have in order to get the best out of your project is your fun skills-What interest you? Throughout your stay in lecture rooms from semester one to the end, you should be able to identify that very topic or course you enjoy so much.

If you are a final year student in Nigeria, and you are eager to develop an outstanding research topic you should at least follow these few steps.
1.      Think of a research area that is of great interest to you.
2.      Brainstorm on possible subjects, titles and topics that could come out of the research area.
3.      Narrow down the topic to a specific issue.
4.      Look for trending issues in Nigeria.
5.      Ensure there is adequate material for the study.
6.      Take a time out to structure your topic properly.
Get a Research Area
The first step in developing outstanding research topics is by identifying a research area that interests you. Successful researchers align their work to their research area or interest. By doing this, you become an expert in your chosen research area, and your previous research papers become foundation for future research studies. Final year students in Nigeria should identify what subjects they love talking about. Good examples of research areas are Taxation, Employee Performance, Work-Life Balance, Electricity Conductors etc. Visit http:// for more examples of research areas for your academic field.
Brainstorm for that Outstanding Topic
That unique and outstanding research topic is deep down in your brains only that you have not yet realized it. After identifying a suitable research area, pick up a paper or a book and try to formulate as many research-able topics as possible (the more the topics, the better your chances of getting a good one). The topics may look weird at first, but you may not realize how important this process will be to you until you try it. One benefit I have achieved with brainstorming is that it gives me the freedom to put down as many whack ideas as possible. The truth is, after some days these ideas become very useful, as they serve as foundations for formulating better research topics.
Narrow Down your Research Topic
Since you have been able to identify your research area and a research topic, you should now avoid broad topics. Broad topics are killer research topics. They make you stress your self for no good reasons. Your topic is probably broad if:
1.      You find your research topic too confusing.
2.      You seem to forget your topic frequently.
3.      Your supervisor is not interested in your project work.
4.      You seem to find conflicting materials on your topic.
5.      You frequently feel dizzy or lazy whenever you see you research topic.
If all these happen to you then you need help. Breakdown the topic! If you are writing on the role of management in an organization, then you are not on point! Management can still be broken down to other variables, nouns, and subjects such as financial management, strategic management etc.
Look for Trending issues
One secret about outstanding researchers is that they are always solving current issues on ground. When new issues such as bank recapitalization in Nigeria and fuel subsidy arise, research topics and materials on them sell like pure water. When you present a research topic on a current issue that needs urgent attention in a country like Nigeria, your supervisor is happy with you. When defending it, you are assured of a good grade because, you are not only presenting a unique work, but you are also solving an urgent problem and building literature for that issue as well.
However, when developing research topics to suite trending issues in your country, you must be very careful. Writing on very current issues can get you hanging. Availability of materials to support your literature review-both theoretical and empirical review becomes a big challenge. Before formulating research topics on trending issues, one must first make sure there are studies already conducted. Students wishing to explore into newer research areas or topics with little or no materials are still encouraged to do so, but it is best done at a PhD level.

Source for Adequate Materials
Students wishing to get the best out of their research project are usually encourage to make sure that there is adequate literature concerning or relating to their study. However, you can still check my site for over 10,000 sample research materials that can guide you throughout your research.

Structure your Research Topic
In structuring your research topic, follow the following steps:
1.      Make sure your topic is not broad. Structure your topic to address a specific problem or answer a specific question. Do not write on every thing as you may get confused.
2.      Identify variables in your research topic. Variables must be present in your topic. After brainstorming, arrange these variables in such a way your readers can easily understand what your study is all about.
3.      Avoid lengthy research topics.



Measurement instrument refers to various methods through which a researcher obtains data from respondents for his research work. The term data refers to all forms of information that researchers obtain from the participant of the study. Adedokun (2003:57) asserts that data refers “to any fact, observation or facts relating to the subject of the study”. There are different types of measurement instruments that can be used by researchers for their studies; it depends on the nature of research that is to be carried out. In this write up, we shall discuss various measurement instruments that can be used alongside with studies that are suitable for them.
However, the collection of data is an important part of any research activity. This is because; the conclusions of the study are based on what the data reveals. Hence, no researcher is greater than his data. Basically, data can be obtained from two major sources; primary and secondary sources. Primary data represents the information gathered by the researcher through the use of questionnaire or personal interview or observation method; while in secondary data, the researcher collects information that has already been obtained and processed by government departments or various agencies before it is made available for other interested users. These are published and unpublished sources e.g. journals, textbooks, newspapers, magazines, fliers, annual reports, bulletins, periodicals etc As a result, the kind of data to be collected, the method of collection to be used, and the scoring of the data must be considered when undertaken any research activity.
Types of Data to be Collected
According to Aina, 2004; Adedokun, 2003; Avwokeni, 2006; Adeniyi; Oyekanmi and Tijani, 2011. Researchers can collect the following types of data from respondents:

  • Demographic information or data e.g. age, sex, gender, educational background, ethnicity, religion, etc
  • Test scores
  • Events
  • Responses to researchers questions in an interview or written replies to a survey question
  • Grade point averages obtainable from school records
  • Essay written by students e.g. projects, theses and dissertations.
  • Anecdotal records kept by teachers or counselors or researchers.

In fact, the list of data to be collected is not limited to the one listed above. For this reason, it is important for every researcher to decide on what kind(s) of data he intends to collect and by what method to collect it. Those methods that researchers use in collecting his desired data are known as research or measurement instrument.
Data Collection Instruments
These are instruments that are used to collect data from participants of the study. They are important for collecting data in all types of research methods. They are mainly used by researchers to collect reliable data which will later be analyzed (Aina, 2004). They include questionnaire, interviews, observations, focus group discussion and experiment. Each of the instruments shall be discussed in turn and also point out their merits and demerits.

  • Questionnaire

The questionnaire is the commonly used instrument for collecting research data from the participants of a study. “It basically seeks the opinions of individuals in a sample or a population on issues directly related to the objectives of the research study” (Aina, 2004:348). The questionnaire consists of a set of structured and unstructured questions designed by researchers to obtain data from the respondents. No research is better than its questionnaire and a faulty questionnaire means faulty research. Hence, a questionnaire designed must be valid, reliable and must not be bogus so that the data collected can validate the research. Questionnaire has many advantages which include anonymity of the respondents is guaranteed; it facilitates the collection of large amounts of data in a relatively short period and it is cheap to administer. The major demerit of the method is that some confusing and misleading questions cannot be clarified as the researcher may not be there to explain the questions, and also, sometimes, the questions may not be easily comprehensible to individuals who are illiterate, thus, the method is restricted only to educated respondents.
Moreover, the characteristics of a good questionnaire according to Popoola (2011) consist of:

  • Questions should not be ambiguous. This implies that it must be capable of only one interpretation.
  • Questions must be easily understood.
  • Questions should be capable of having a precise answer.
  • Questions must not contain words of vague meaning.
  • Questions should not require rigorous calculations.
  • Questions should not require the respondent to decide upon classification.
  • Questions must not be in such a form that the answers will be biased.
  • The questionnaire should not be too long.
  • It should not be too wordy.
  • The questionnaire should cover the exact object of the inquiry.
  • Interview

Interview is a measurement instrument otherwise known as oral questionnaire. It involves a process where a researcher solicits information from respondents through verbal interaction. A researcher would have previously prepared a schedule list of structured questions pertinent to the study before meeting respondents for their opinions on a subject matter. The researcher poses questions to the respondents and the answers are recorded by the researcher. Materials that could be used during interview period include tape recorder, paper and biro. The major advantage of this method is that it produces high response rate. Besides, it tends to be representative of the entire population of the study, and personal contact between the researcher and respondents enables the researcher to explain confusing and ambiguous questions in detail (Aina, 2004; Popoola, 2011). However, its disadvantages include interviewer’s bias; inaccessibility to wealthy respondents due to fear of insecurity and the amount of data that can be collected through this method is usually limited compare to questionnaire method. Interview can be conducted personally or through telephone or electronic mailing system.

  • Observation

This is an instrument that is employed by a researcher in which an individual behavior or situation is observed and recorded. There are two types of observation: participant observation and non-participant observation. In participant observation, the researcher is a member of the group to be observed. Here, accurate and timely result would be obtained by the researcher but it has the problem of biasness. Non-participant observation on the other hand, the researcher is not a member of the group to be observed. Here, the result will be viable as it is free from being biased but it has the problem of inaccuracy and delayed result. Both observation methods enhance first hand information, flexible and cheaper to carryout, demand less active cooperation of the observed and their results are reliable for research activity.
However, Akinade & Owolabi (2009) assert that observation method is popular tool in research especially in behavioural and social sciences; the authors argue that it requires special skills to make and assess behavioural observation in research. In carrying out behavioural observation, first thing to do is to develop behavioural categories (coding scheme). This involves identifying specific attributes that will give clues to the problem at hand. The authors further reiterated that researchers may observe the following guidelines when developing observation method:

  • “Clearly define the goal of the instrument;
  • Carry out preliminary observations of your subjects under the conditions that will prevail in the course of the study with the aim of identifying behaviours exhibited by the subjects; and
  • Construct a complete list of the identified behavior. Also, behavioural categories can also be developed through literature search. These will provide opportunity to determine whether a similar study had previously been conducted. The result of such similar study may be adopted or adapted in the present study” (Akinade & Owolabi, 2009:97).
  • Focus Group Discussion:

This data collection instrument refers to a process whereby researchers obtain data from large group of people at the same time. This method is different from interview method; in an interview method, researcher focuses on one person at a time but in a focus group discussion method, the researcher obtains data from large number (group) of people for his research activity. Focus group discussion method is very popular when carrying out research in the field of behavioural science, library and information science, archival science, records and information technology. It could be noted here that a need may arise for a researcher to use more than 2 or 3 approaches to obtain data for his research activity. This depends on the supervisor, nature of the research or problem to be investigated.
However, in focus group discussion; a researcher identifies key informants that may be contacted to elicit the deserved information on the variable(s) of interest in a study. It is very important to note that in evaluator study or when accessing the performance of a system or a project or when working at a policy and its impact on a particular operation in a society or organization; focus group discussion method could employed. The approach is used to generate qualitative data in explaining a phenomenon under study or investigation. Membership of the focus group discussion should not exceed 10 members at a time. It is like a mini conference where members of a group could be assembled in a conducive location. Before now, it is needful for the researcher to have obtained their consent to take part in the study.
Besides, the researcher must design a focus group discussion guide. The guide must contain outlines that capture variables of interest in the study. For example, in a study like: “Customers’ satisfaction with information services or products of Babcock university library”. The following guidelines may be prepared by the researcher:

  • Nature of the library services;
  • Nature of the products;
  • Level of satisfaction of the users;
  • Quality of the users, etc.

The following materials are needed for this method of data collection:

  • Research assistants;
  • Video recorder and cassette;
  • Biro and paper;
  • Tape recorder and cassette, and
  • Light refreshment to entertain the participants.

After the focus group discussion exercise, the researcher has to transcribe the data into qualitative information e.g. on the nature of reference services available in the library; in a group where 10 members are involved, if 7 members affirmed that they are having good reference services in their library while the rest members’ response are negative. Then it can be calculated/quantify as: 7/10 *100 = 70%; this is the figure that the researcher will report in his work. Moreover, the major advantage of this method is that it added credibility and originality to the research activity while it challenges include: too cost to carry out, it takes too much of time to conduct and some of the respondents may not be free to contribute extensively especially if their boss is invited to such gathering.

  • Experiment

This type of data collection instrument takes place in pure and applied science research. Here the researchers carry out some experiments in the laboratory setting in order to test some reactions that may take place in the object of research. The advantages of this method is that it produces immediate result, its results are viable and error free if it is well carry out under normal condition/circumstances. While, its problems include: it is too costly to undertake and those chemicals used may cause permanent damage to the researcher if they are carelessly handled.

Table1: Classification of Research Based on Data Collection Instruments


Types of Research

Data Collection Instruments



Questionnaire, Interview and observation.



Questionnaire, focus group discussion, interview and observation.


Case study

Questionnaire, interview, focus group discussion and observation.


Ethnographic e.g. correlational research

Observation, questionnaire, focus group discussion and interview



Observation, focus group discussion and interview



Focus group discussion, interview and observation


Pure science

Experiment and observation



Questionnaire and interview



Questionnaire, observation, focus group discussion, interview and experiment in case of pure science research.



Questionnaire, observation and interview.

Source: Ikuejawa Abiola Oladeji, 24th October, 2016

It could be re-emphasized here that researchers are not restricted only to different methods of data collection instruments and their classification as presented in this paper but the choice of which method to apply depends on the researcher, nature or problem to be investigated and prevailing circumstances at the time of carrying out the study. Thus, researchers are free to use any method they deem fit for their research.
Adedokun, J.A. (2003). Basics of Research Methodology. Sagamu: New Hope Publisher.
Adeniyi, A.L.; Oyekanmi, A.O. & Tijani, M.O. (2011). Essentials of Business Research        Methods. Lagos: CSS Bookshops Limited.
Aina, L.O. (2004). Library and Information Science Text for Africa. Ibadan: Third World         Services Limited.
Akinade, E.A. & Owolabi, T. (2009). Research Methods: A Pragmatic Approach for Social         Sciences, Behavioural Sciences and Education. Lagos: Connel Publications.
Avwokeni, J.A. (2006). Research Methods: Process, Evaluation & Critique. Portharcourt:         Unicampus Tutorial Services.

Popoola, S.O. (2011, September). Research Methodologies in Library and Information Science.        A paper presented at a training workshop on building research capacity for Library and        Information Science professionals. Organized by the Nigerian Library Association, Ogun        State Chapter, held at Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria on 18th – 22nd September, 2011.


Sunday, October 23, 2016



Welcome to the second series of my planned four series on the theme ‘Secret Revealed: Discover what your supervisor is looking for and how your project is graded’. Without a doubt undoubtedly, the first series which covered the proposal and introductory chapter of a research project was a great read. This second series will reveal to you my awesome reader what supervisors’ look out for in your literature review. So, as usual enjoy!


  1. Introduction
  2. Theoretical Framework
  3. Conceptual Review
  4. Empirical Review
  5. Summary of Chapter

N/B: The arrangement may vary considering different formats of some tertiary institutions. But for a well written review of related literature, these components are needed.


A brief introduction in your literature review will enable readers know what the chapter is all about. Not just that, it will also earn you good points. The introduction in the literature review section should be concise and it should spell out or highlight items to be discussed. Ideally, it should not exceed a standard page.


This chapter gives an insight into various studies conducted by outstanding researchers, as well as explained terminologies with regards to the Challenges of Income Taxation in Ghana.
The chapter also gives a resume of the history and present status of the problem delineated by a concise review of previous studies into closely related problems.

Theoretical Framework

This section of literature review is very important and should be included in order to earn good marks in your research project. To ace your research project, you must do some research to develop relevant contents here. Students are expected to capture theories related to their study. These theories will later form the basis in which you study is based on. For easy understanding, if a student is writing on the effect of motivation on employee productivity; the Abraham Maslow’s Theory of motivation, Expectancy theory, Herzberg two factor theory etc., should come to mind.

Conceptual Framework

Another necessary aspect of the Literature Review is the conceptual framework or review. The conceptual framework covers all terminologies associated with the variables in the research. At a higher level (especially at the Masters and PhD levels), conceptual framework comes in form of a diagram or a figure showing how various variables interplay in the achievement of the research objectives or constructed ideas to solve an identified research problem.
As revealed above, a conceptual framework should define each variable present in the research. (click here to read more on variables). For example, using our topic ‘effects of motivation on employee productivity: two key-words stand out:
Motivation Independent variable

Employee productivity Dependent variables

Picking out the independent variable (motivation), a good conceptual framework will encompass subject in form of sub-headings such as:

  1. Types of motivation
  2. Forms of motivation
  3. Factors of motivation
  4. Problems of Motivating Employees in an organization etc.
Same should follow for the dependent variables

Empirical Review

What has others done concerning your study?
What studies already conducted relate to your work?
Ever been asked these questions? Yes! …this is where you write your answers.
The empirical review section is basically where you bring into light previous research studies conducted on your field of research or studies. It could be a related study or exact previous study on your research area. Using our topic mentioned earlier, the empirical review will encompass the findings and recommendations on the effects of motivation on employee productivity probably in China, Germany, Ikeja, Agege, Uyo, Oshogbo, Hong Kong etc. Here you bring in a bit of empirical evidence, properly documenting the researcher (s), year, location, sample size, finding as well as recommendations.


Recent research has examined the motivational effects of redesigning jobs to connect employees to their impact on the beneficiaries of their work-the clients, customers, patients, and other end users who are affected by their efforts (Grant, 2007).
Organization scholars also used self determination theory to explain the motivation effects of transformational values leadership to inspire employees, model important values, and provide and judge (2003) conducted a field study and a laboratory experiment showing that transformational leaders encourage employees to set austomous and higher performance. Interestingly, their field study suggested that transformational leadership was associated positively with antonymous motivation but had no relationship with controlled motivation, while their lab experiment indicated that transformation leadership reduced controlled motivation more strongly than it increased antonymous motivation.

Summary of chapter

This section showcases your opinion on various related literatures reviewed in the chapter. This is where you are at liberty to state gaps identified in the research, your opinion on empirical and theoretical facts established, as well as where your study fits in the theoretical framework.

Where do I get material for my literature review?

1. For conceptual framework, students can get good information from textbooks; research journals and the Internet (e.g. search engines like and bing, useful research site like,
2. For empirical review and theoretical framework, it is imperative to read research journals. Published research journal will provide a solid foundation to source for authentic facts that relates to your study. The methodology, findings and recommendation section of a research journal will enable the student to develop empirical facts for his/her study.
Examples of research journal sites are:

Bonus marks

  1. Literature reviewed must be related or related to the variables present in the research.
  2. References must not be too old, ideally references should not be beyond a decade (i.e. beyond 2005)it depend on when exactly you are during your research
  3. All headings, diagrams and tables should be neatly arranged.
  4. Journal, text books, magazines, etc used in developing contents for the literature review should be related to your study
  5. Copy and paste from the journal published, textbook, internet, etc must be minimized.