Student Project Writing Outline

project outline

Project guidelines for undergraduate degree, diploma  and post graduate program consisting of preliminary pages, the chapters, and appendixes.

A typical project consists of preliminary pages, cover/title page, certification page, dedication Page, acknowledgement Page, abstract Page, table of content and the various sections in the chapters

Outline of Undergraduate Program for Faculty of Education, Sciences, Management, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Environmental sciences, Social Sciences for Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges.

This project outline is applicable to degree, diploma and post graduate programs.

Preliminary Pages

• Cover / Title Page
This page consists of the title of the study which is stated at the upper half of the page. This is to be followed by the author’s full names with the surname first and other. Note that when the surname comes first, it is separated from the other names with a comma.

Inside Cover page – This page contains the title of the study which is stated at the upper half of the page. This is to be followed by the author’s full names with the surname first and other names. The lower part of the page is to have the statement that reads:

‘A project presented to the (Name of University), Faculty of ——-, Department of ——–, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Bachelor of ————- Degree. The student shall indicate at the bottom of the page the month and year the project was completed (e.g. November 2023).

• Certification Page
In this page shall be the certification of the project supervisor of the originality of the study as a true work carried out by the student. The statements here shall read: This is to certify that this research project titled: “ …………………….………..’’, written by (Student surname and other names) with the matriculation number under my supervision”. Followed by the supervisor’s name, signature and date.

Dedication Page
This page provides the author the opportunity to bestow a high honour on a person or small group of people they want to praise.

Acknowledgement Page
This page provides the author the opportunity to acknowledge the help and contribution of different people who directly or otherwise had contributed to the success of the work.

Abstract Page
This page consists of a synopsis of the entire work. It states briefly the problems of investigation, purpose of the study, how it was carried out; major findings and recommendation. This is to be done in about 300 words (this could be done with the aid of computer word count).

Table of Content
This page consists the list of chapters and sub-units with their respective page numbers as contained in the main body of the work. The pages before the main body of the work are numbered in roman numerals, while other pages are numbered in Arabic numerals. Other parts of the table of contents are:

• List of Tables to be numbered 1,2,3, 4…………N
• List of Figures to be numbered I,II,III …………N


1.1 Background to the Study
Students are expected to describe in general terms the larger area of the problem being investigated. This will serve as the basis of introducing the problem. It will also be a way to establish relationship that exists between the problem being investigated and the larger area of concern to people and organizations.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
Research study is to provide answers /solutions to identified problems. Students should be able to state the problem clearly and convincingly, justify/show the necessity to find solution to it, as well as the implication of such problem. If possible, such problem could be linked to given theory or fact.

1.3 Objectives of the Study
The author is expected to narrow the problem or state the problem in specific terms. The purpose of the study is to be given as finding a solution to the problem or finding relationships that exist between the problem and other problems by breaking the problem into its component parts through exploration or analysis. Three (3) to five (5) objectives of what/how the research intends to achieve the main aim should be stated. The objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable and realistic.

1.4 Relevant Research Questions
These are guide to the research in his quest to provide answers to the problem being investigated. Such research questions should be in line with the aim and objectives of the study. When the research questions are answered, the objectives of the study are achieved. From the general research questions, minor research questions can be formulated and these are specific questions which, may be used eventually as questions for the construction of the questionnaire or study instrument. The major research questions should be raised using active verbs such as are, is, does etc… This will subsequently reinforce both the validity and the reliability of the instrument.

1.5 Relevant Research Hypotheses
Hypotheses are basic assumptions regarding the variables i.e. the statements of relationship between variables. They are conjectural or tentative statement about the relationship between the variables to be proved right or wrong. It also serves as guide to the investigator in his/her quest for data or information for the investigation. Hypotheses could be derived from the theoretical/conceptual framework and should be in line or complement the research questions to achieve the study objectives.

1.6 Significance of the Study
This section provides justification for the study and what will be contributed to knowledge by the study if successfully carried out. It provides the author the opportunity to justify his/her attempt to solve the problem.

1.7 Scope of the Study
Delimitation or scope of the study enables the research to circumscribe his research within a manageable limit. It provides the researcher the opportunity to explain the boundaries of the study and describe the aspect of a general /wide problem area covered as well as what aspects will not be covered.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Operational definition must relate to key concept in study and objectives of study. It involves details explanation of key variables in your study. Number of words depend on your work. This serves as the dictionary of the report; hence, the terms are arranged alphabetically.


2.1 Preamble
This requires a brief outline of the works in this chapter

2.2 Conceptual literature review
Relevant definitions, meanings, explanations and clarifications to the concepts being explored in the study should be briefly discussed and linked to the study to provide the right framework for the study.

2.3 Empirical Review of Previous work in the area of studies
This provides the researcher the opportunity to review some of the previous works by other authors in this area of concern. A brief historical background will enable the researcher to follow the trend of thought in this area. This will enable or help the researcher situate or relate his/her study to previous works done in the area of concern. It must have relevance to objectives of the study.

2.4 Theoretical or conceptual framework of the study
Relevant theories/models to the problem being investigated in the study should be briefly discussed and linked to the study to provide the right framework for the study i.e. theories/ models on which the study is anchored. It also, provides an avenue to review relevant and known literature to the problem being investigated.

Discuss the implications of the theory/model to the study (how it relates to the variables) and justify the choice of the theory/model to the study.

2.5 Summary of the Literature review Note

 A critical review of existing works on the variables cited in the problem and the conceptual framework.
  • Establishes the need for the study
  • Indicates that the writer is knowledgeable about the area
  • Gives critical meaning of what has been done and what has been left out
  • Is a positive process that avoids criticizing those who have written before you rather than recognizes what they have left out
  • Avoid statements that imply that little or nothing has been done or what has been done is so extensive to permit easy summary
  • Reference all citations appropriately
  • It must be relevant, sequentially and logically presented

The currency of references – Books – 10 years, Journals 5- years


3.1 Preamble
This requires a brief outline of the works in this chapter

3.2 Research Design
This has to do with the blueprint of the study that point the way to what should be expected. It shows the particular research design being adopted for the study and why.

3.3 Setting for the study
This entail comprehensive description of the study setting in terms of geographical location and characteristics.

3.4 Target population of the study
This has to do with the characteristics of the population of the study i.e. the total elements of the universe covered by the study. The population of the study is a consensus of all items or subjects that possess the characteristics, or have knowledge of the phenomenon, being investigated or studied. This should be indicated with verifiable references. The nature of the study population must be known because it helps in the choice of sampling technique

3.5 Sampling, Procedure and Sample size
The sample is part of the population or representative part of the population. Before drawing the sample, the researcher must define what is the unit of analysis or unit of study, that is, what or who is being studied and what constitute the population from which the sample will be drawn. The manner of selecting the sample is as important as the size of the sample. 

The size of the sample is the number of the population elements that are selected for study. It must be adequate for generalization, hence, a sample less than 30% is considered worthless for purpose of statistical analysis. This should be indicated with verifiable references.

3.6 Instrument(s) for data collection (type, nature, item number etc.)

3.7 Validity and Reliability of Study Instrument
Validity is concerned with the instrument measuring what it is supposed to measure while reliability is concerned with the consistency obtained from results of the application of the instrument. 

An instrument may be reliable without being valid. It is important that the researcher should subject the instrument to the test of validity (Content, Current, etc.) and reliability (Test re-test, Slit-Half, Cronbach Alpha, etc.). Only data which have relevance to the theory in respect of the current study should be collected.

3.8 Pilot study
It is the trial run or piloting of the instrument of data collection usually undertaken on subjects that are similar to the real subjects for the study. It is one of the important stages in a research project and is conducted to identify potential problem areas and deficiencies in the research instruments and protocol prior to implementation during the full study. Conducting a pilot prior to the main study can enhance the likelihood of success of the main study and potentially help to avoid doomed main studies. It is important because it enables the researcher to correct and modify the instrument based on the responses from the field. The actual data collection should not begin until the pilot study has been completed, and all the necessary deficiencies corrected.

3.9 Method of data collection 
(description of how instrument was administered, duration, total sample covered)

3.10 Method of Data Analysis
The method of data analysis should consist the basic elements of data preparation, tabulation and analyses. It should contain the breakdown and ordering of the quantitative information gathered through the research.

A brief strategy and procedure for summarizing and exploring relationships among the variables on which data have been collected is required here. For example, single variable analysis or one variable at a time (univariate analysis) which is often done for descriptive purpose – frequency distribution; frequency distribution by grouping the data; useful summary through some measure of dispersion such as range, variance and standard deviation.

Relationships involving more than one variable (multivariate analysis) such as regression models, correlational analysis, analysis of variance, t-test, factor analysis, and discriminant analysis. Furthermore, the student may embrace the use of computer programmes such as Statistical Packages for Social Sciences. Students will have to choose the methods that best suites the data collected as well as justify the choice of the methods. This gives the possible relationship that might exist among the key variables of the study; and thus, makes easier the actual analysis.

3.11 Ethical consideration 
(ethical approval, administrative permit and consent from subjects)


4.1 Preamble
A brief outline of the chapter to provide insight into the content of the chapter.

4.2 Presentation and Analysis of Data According to Research Questions
Data collected are to be presented and analysed. Students will have to choose the methods that best suites the data collected. Data could be presented using tables, pie charts, bar charts, histogram etc. Data presented should be accompanied with the interpretation of the associations and relationships among the data groups with the appropriate implication to the study or the unit of study. The summary of interpretation should provide answers to the research questions.

4.3 Test of Hypotheses
Relevant data collected and tables where necessary could be used to test the stated hypotheses showing how it tests the hypothesis one after the other at relevant level of significance as well as the relevant interpretation and avoiding types of errors i.e. type I or Type II errors.


5.1 Discussion of Finding
Discuss your findings and identify implications of the study. Discussion is done objective by objective as presented in chapter 4

5.2 Implication of the study to ……. (specify discipline). These are the possible consequences or effects of implementing the study’s findings.

5.3 Limitation of the study
States any constraints imposed by methods, location and situation of research.

5.4 Summary
A brief summary or highlight of each chapter should be stated in a concise manner that captures the importance of the study.

5.5 Conclusions
Conclusions should be drawn from the findings/results

5.6 Recommendations
Recommendations should also be based on the conclusions
References (American Psychological Association (APA) Style).

• Proper use of APA format, 7th Edition
• Alphabetical arrangement
• Proper punctuation

Examples of APA referencing:

Citations within text:
i. One author before the statement – author surname (year), e.g. Clark (2017), states that…. If the author is after the statement, the surname and the year should be in bracket separated by comma, e.g. (Clark, 2017).

ii. Two authors – First author surname and second author surname, then (year); Edwin and Edwards (2016), if it is a quotation, add page within parenthesis, e.g. Edwards and Edwin (2016, p.14) states:

iii. For four (4) authors, write all authors, (year), subsequently cite first author, then add et al.

iv. For six or more authors, cite only the last name of the first author followed by et al each time you refer to this work.

Full Referencing at the end of the Project

Melnyk, B. M. & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2011). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. (2 ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Obaro, S. (2009). Pneumococcal infections and Sickle Cell Disease in Africa: Does absence of evidence imply evidence of absence? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 94(9), 713–716.
Whittemore, R., & Knafl, K. (2005). The integrative review: Updated methodology.
Journal of Advanced Nursing, 52(5), 546–553, accessed 12 January 2018, -2648.2005.03621. x PubMed PMID: 2009074243.

Referencing multiple authors:
Needleman, J., Buerhaus, P., Mattke, S., Stewart, M., & Zelevinsky, K., (2002). Nurse-staffing levels and the quality of care in hospitals. N. Engl. J. Med. 346, 1715–1722.

Online source:
Jacob, S. (2012). THR Pilot Study: Wireless Monitoring Cuts Heart Failure Readmissions by 27 Percent « D Healthcare Daily, accessed, 20 January 2018,

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