Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Key - Part 5

What’s in a title…….?

As promised, and after having witnessed so many crashes and casualties, here is the continuation to my previous article.

Just for the exercise, let us consider the following research proposal:


A title such as above is too general and broad. It does not indicate exactly what is to be studied, do not indicate the importance of the subject to be studied, who are the parties that you are studying about, the extent, and the benefactor who will gain from this study.

Instead of the above, consider rewriting it the following format:

Eg. A Study to establish the essential design factors that constitutes to a successful Web-Shopping Catalog Design amongst Malaysian consumers that can be used as reference by design students and local Web Developers.

With the above, the whole sentence explains your intention as clearly and as precise as possible to the reader what you study will be on. It will also ensure that you do not sidetrack from this aims. To explain further what it means, try to understand the following explanation:

A Study = this will end up in a detail reporting of every aspect of Web Shopping Catalog Design

to establish the essential design factors that constitutes to a successful Web-Shopping Catalog Design = Search successful websites, Establish and define factors of a successful Web Shopping Catalog Design on the World Wide Web as a premise of to develop your hypothesis.

amongst Malaysian consumers = This are the people that you will eventually test your hypothesis with to prove the success of your design proposals.

used as reference by design students and local Web Developers. = The final group that will benefit from your findings. State how and in what form this finding of yours will be beneficial to them

Below are listed more directive words that may help you determine your research approach to the problem that you have identified at hand. Try and understand what the following directive words will entail:-


Analyze, Interpret,
Argue, Justify,
Compare, Outline,
Criticize, Prove,
Define, Relate,
Describe, Review,
Discuss, State,
Enumerate, Summarize,
Evaluate, Trace,
Examine, Explain,

ANALYSIS: Indicating the essence of something, by way of breaking it into smaller
components and to study each one in detail.

ARGUE: To present a case to support and/or to challenge against an issue

COMPARE: To look for similarity or differences in between issues

CRITICIZE: To give your evaluation regarding the merits of a theory or your opinion regarding the absolute truth of facts and to defend your evaluation by discussing on the supporting evidence.

DEFINE: To explain precisely the meaning of words or sentences. Needs to indicate the differences implicated by the definition.

DESCRIBE: To provide detailed analysis or by every steps.

DISCUSS: To investigate or to research through discussion, shift and debate, giving reasons for supporting or objecting the issue.

ENUMERATE: To list or provide specification and explain.

EVALUATE: Make an appraisal of the worth of something, in the light of its apparent truth or utility; include your personal opinion.

EXAMINE: Present in depth and investigate the implications.

EXPLAIN: Make plain, interpret, and account for in detail.

ILLUSTRATE: Explain and make clear by use of concrete examples, or by the use of a figure or diagram.

INTERPRET: Bring out the meaning of, and make clear and explicit; usually also giving your own judgment.

JUSTIFY: Show adequate grounds for discussion or conclusions.

OUTLINE: Give the main features or general principles of a subject, omitting minor details, and emphasizing structure and relationship.

PROVE: Demonstrate truth or falsity by presenting evidence.

RELATE: Narrate/show how things are connected to each other, and to what extent they are alike or affect each other.

REVIEW: Make a survey of, examine the subject critically

STATE: Specify fully and clearly

SUMMARIZE: Give a concise account of the chief points or substance of a matter, omitting details and examples.

TRACE: Identify and describe the development or history of a topic from some point or origin.

I hope that with the usage of the directive words outlined above, it has become very clear to you that it is possible for the same problem to be studied from many different angles. Whichever that you choose, it would dictate the method of how it is to be presented in your study.

More articles to come. Please comment and respond to these articles so that I can improve it further.
Good Luck!


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