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Project and Research Writing Step by Step Guide

Good project writing is developed over time. I often tell student that their project is their first academic text and demonstrations of their learning.

When people read your project work, they want to see your ability to motivate your question using logic, your ability to critically analyze the past literature, and your ability to recognize empirical problems as they arise.

In particular, it is important that your project work demonstrates that you are more knowledgeable, analytic, and sophisticated about the knowledge of your topic than your supervisor.

In writing project you should present evidence, cite literature, explain the concepts, and generally approach the issue from an analytic perspective. Sometimes, a student is tempted to stray into opinion-page, journalistic writing in his or her term paper.

Principle of Project Writing

Principle I: Use good grammar.

  • To write a good project you must use good grammar. You will get a lower grade if your writing is full grammatical error, unclear sentences.
  • If you have trouble writing grammatically, try asking for help from your friends to help you and edit your work.
  • Or you can use grammarly software to automatically correct your common English language.

Principle II: Writing with clarity.

  • In any academic work writing, clarity is very essentials. Let your work be very clear to your supervisor and all your readers.
  • In writing it is advised you use present tense especially in your chapter one and two. This mostly align with any active tense you use.
  • You should use active tense like “We” only when referring to something everyone does often. Use I, when referring to an active action on your part.
  • Do not use contractions or abbreviations such as: e.g., i.e., etc.. Write out the equivalent words: for instance, that is, et cetera.
  • Know when to use each type of words to avoid wrong words. For instance, if you writing something in economics, know how to use the word “Longrun and Long-run” or Shortrun and Short-run. In economics we use longrun without hyphen as noun while with hyphen as an adjective.

Principle III: Avoid plagiarism by using the common terms sparingly

  • Use keyword not body of someone article when writing project work. Project writing is not coping people work, it is research. Pick keywords from other related materials and use them not the whole work.
  • Minimize the use of common language in project writing like in economics, we often use words like; the results show,.. that the estimated coefficient on…, is not statistically significant different from zero. Use them anyway but sparingly.
  • Keep sentences short. Short words are easily understandable by readers. In writing make sure you use positive words often than negative words.
  • Keep your writing self-contained. Frequent references to other works, or to things that have come before or will come later, can be distracting.
  • Do send your presentation round to family and friends for comment/feedback, where appropriate before the day of your presentation.

Principle IV: Master the Art of organization

  • In writing project, organize your project according to the set down rule by your discipline. The format and style of project writing is almost the same in every discipline but differs in presentation.
  • Understand the format for project writing unique to your discipline. Every project mostly have chapters between 1-5 for first degree and six chapter of master degrees. I will try to hint on what is expected in each of them in this write-up
  • Although your writing should not essentially follow a journalistic style, its structure can be organized like a newspaper article. Organize the paper in triangular or newspaper style, not in joke or novel style.
  • Notice how newspaper start with the most important part, then add passive word in background later for the readers who kept going and want more details.

The Main Chapters in a Project Writing

Basically project has five main section or Chapters. Though the content might differs from school to school or discipline to discipline but they have same pattern and content base. This is the reason I strongly advice you never to copy project work you download anywhere word for word.

Before introducing you to the key section of your research work, here are things to consider before selecting your project, dissertation and thesis topic.

  • You have to select a topic that is of interest to you.
  • Also the topic you are selecting must have that to do with a social problem that exists in our society.
  • Your topic must be clear, short and concise.
  • Other point to note include:

Relevance, avoidance of duplication, urgency of data needed (timeliness), feasibility of study within the time and resources capability, applicability of results and ethical acceptability.

Chapter One

This is the introductory aspect of project writing, it is all inclusive and exhaustive. The introduction should start with what you do in this paper, the major contribution. As soon as you mention that, mention something unexpected about it!

The reader will be much more motivated to read the rest of the paper if you challenge his or her intuition right from the get-go. Your readers are your audience.

They have better things to do than read your paper. Make them interested in your thesis and convinced of your argument in the first two paragraphs.

Let there be a proper linking in your write-up from the conceptual definition to conclusion based on available theories and empirical materials you accessed.

The sub-section of project writing differs from discipline to discipline. Though it almost include background of study, statement of problem, research questions, objectives, significance, scope and few others. Don’t forget to read my post on  guide for Writing excellent Problem Statement.

Chapter Two

This section deals with review of both empirical and theoretical literature. After you have explained your contribution in chapter one, then you write literature review in this section.

Remember, it will be very hard for people to understand how your paper is different from others’ given that they don’t understand your paper yet, and most of them have not read the other papers.

It is not necessary to cite every single paper in the literature. The main point of the literature review should be to set your paper off against the 4 or 5. And to give proper credit to people who deserve priority for things that might otherwise seem new in your paper.

Depending on your assignment, preparing a literature review might entail an exhaustive library search or referencing a single paper.

You should have notes, either on index cards or in less on your computer, on the books and articles you have read.

Read over your summaries and comments and begin to look for common themes that can organize your review.

The first section should discuss previous research that is directly relevant to your paper (not every single paper written on the topic).

The review need not only be topical, but can include research that employs the same methods you are using, analyzes a similar model, uses the same dataset, etc.

Keep in mind that your main contribution will be to your discipline. This means, you should be able to relate your work mostly to previous discipline papers!

If you are working on an interdisciplinary topic (such as health), it is fine to cite a couple of papers from another discipline. Read my full post on Literature review

Chapter Three

This section deals with the methodology you are adopting in your research work. The research design, data analysis, data gathering and source of the data you are using and the period it covers.

Describe whether you have a panel, cross section or time series in the case of economics. The validity of the instrument among others.

The second section should present (relevant) descriptive statistics of the data. You should have a couple of tables with means and standard deviations for the variables you will be using in the analysis.

Chapter Four

This part deals with data presentation and interpretation of results, including testing the hypothesis stated in chapter one.

Different discipline adopt different methodology. Present all your result in tabular form and follow suite to interpret the result immediately.

One of the more common mistakes made by authors of project writing is to forget that their results need to be written up as carefully and clearly as any other part of the paper.

There are essentially two decisions to make:

  • First, how many empirical results should be presented?
  • Second, how should these results be described in the text?

Also ensure you approximate all your decimal points to at least two to three places. Don’t bug the whole research work with your many decimal figures.

Chapter Five

This is your summary, conclusion and recommendation. In some discipline it includes limitation to previous studies on your topic and the gap in knowledge.

Conclusions section is necessary. If you did a good job of explaining your contribution in understandable prose in the introduction, and then documenting those claims in the body of the paper, then brief summary and conclusion is necessary.

Do not restate all of your findings. One statement in the abstract, one in the introduction and once more in the body of the text should be enough! You can include a short paragraph or two acknowledging limitations, suggesting implications beyond those in the paper.

Keep it short though. And don’t speculate; the reader wants to know your facts not your opinions. The last thing you should do is PROOFREAD your paper to avoid grammatical error.

Your Reference

If you wish to acknowledge the source of an idea explicitly, cite the name of the author(s) in the body of your sentence and place the publication date in parentheses.

The rest time you cite the name of the author(s), provide last names: Noko and Adewale (2016).


I may not really go into deep in referencing here. Maybe I will discuss this in detail on my next post on referencing style in research writing.

Also, be sure to acknowledge everyone whose work contributed in your project writing. Please project writing every other in your body of project must be acknowledged.

Proofreading and Revision

Check for typos, spelling errors, missing pages, incorrect table or missing references, and the like. These are the cockroaches of writing. Exterminate them.

Use the spell-check feature of your word processing software like grammaly, but do not use it as your sole proofreading measure!

Carefully read your draft to correct awkward and/or repetitive phrases, and to reorganize your sentences and paragraphs. However, if you want help on your project writing click this link.

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6 thoughts on “Project and Research Writing Step by Step Guide”

  1. What an incredible advice on project writing. Please it is not guide for the beginners rather it is guide for expert. Thanks you for this comprehensive guide, really don’t know why people don’t take their time to write on a comprehensive post like this.

  2. Quite a nice post from expert. Please mail me the reference guide once you make the post. Thanks and God bless

  3. What a concise and all inclusive post. Though students especially in this part of the world hardly pick interest in comprehensive research. I always love your post.

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