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Writing a research project is an exercise that you will face before you even start your master’s degree and, if you continue in this direction, well after having finished it as well. The master’s project, thesis project, a research project to obtain a scholarship, a prize or any other funding: there is no single model for writing a project. Its form will depend on the nature of the research, the imposed format (number of pages, signs, etc.) and, as for any writing (academic or not), the readership to which the project is addressed.

This post is intended to give you some advice on the content of a research project, but it also hopes to convince you of the usefulness of such an exercise, beyond the mere requirement of your administrative records.

Essential research project elements:

If there is no single model, a number of elements are nonetheless unavoidable. They must therefore generally and there are always exceptions too, and they must appear in any research project. The place that each of them will then occupy in the final text will depend on two main factors: the instructions given to you (both in terms of form and content) and the stage where you are at the time of writing. project.

Statement of the subject

This seems self-evident, but it is a very frequent oversight: to indicate the subject chosen in the title of the document is indispensable but insufficient. It is indeed necessary to place the statement of the subject of research in the body of the text

Definition and justification of the terms used:

It is not necessarily a definitive definition of the terms and ideas used in the research project, especially since part of the research may precisely an attempt to define a phenomenon. The purpose of these provisional definitions is twofold. It is to show that the terms used are not taken at random and that you know, at least in part, what you are talking about. And the second reason is that it will help you start to think about the very purpose of the research: defining terms means starting to think about their meaning for contemporaries, for ourselves, etc.

Statement and rationale for chronological bounds

Like the terms you will use to state your subject, the chronological boundaries within which you insert it may not be self-evident – and if they are self-evident to you, this is probably not the case for your readers. Here again, the choices and justifications can be provisional: most often, the chronological division becomes evident only as the search progresses.

What is the point of a research project?

Apart from the requirement to write one, this writing research project exercise can be very useful to force oneself to adopt a reflexive approach. Rewrite the project multiple times as the research progresses, expanding it, refining it, and often reorienting the original approach. Depending on the stage of the research, this point may be limited to a first state of the potential sources; or summarize the succinct or detailed presentation of each type of source mobilized, from its nature to its modes of exploitation, through its place of conservation and its academic process.

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