The object of study is a fundamental element for any project. Different from what many people think, it is not the same as the research theme . In fact, the object consists of the particularity that one wishes to investigate and must arouse genuine interest.
What is the object of study?
The object of study is a specification related to the general theme. It must be well delimited and narrow to determine the scope of the search.
When the investigation subject is narrowed down, the researcher obtains his object of study. The object is more restricted than the delimited theme and offers guidance on what will be studied.
Difference between theme and object of study
In the object of study, the researcher does not necessarily need to specify his technical, methodological and literature review intentions. On the other hand, when defining the delimited theme, this information needs to be mentioned – this is what we call theme delimitation .
The delimited theme usually presents verbs in the infinitive, such as analyze, verify, study and produce. The object of study does not present this.
Difference between object and problem
The object of study and the research problem are different pieces of information. While the problem is what bothers the investigation, the object consists of the specific, the segmentation.
How to define the object of study?
Follow the steps to define the object of study:
1 – Define the general theme
The general theme is nothing more than a broad theme that you want to research. Choose a subject that piques your curiosity and that you can get involved with.
If you don’t know which topic to research, it’s worth reading several works that have already been developed on the subject, such as scientific articles, dissertations and theses. Thus, its delimitation of the theme may contemplate a research gap , that is, something that has not been researched yet. Another possibility is to replicate research that has already been carried out, considering a new context.
Example: the use of new technologies by public administration.
2 – Make cutouts
Look at this big frame you’ve chosen and try to decode the image into parts. To separate the topic into parts, think of all the questions that could be asked.
Example: the theme “Use of new technologies in public administration” is composed of different parts. To identify them, we can ask some questions:
3 – Find the clipping that interests you most
Look at all parts and choose only one, that is, what you are going to investigate about the big topic.
By defining a focus to study, it is possible to avoid the trap of wanting to “embrace the world” with your research. The higher the specificity, the lower the chances of deviating from the research problem and objectives . In addition, the members of the examining board will not find loopholes to ask questions.
4 – Assess feasibility
The feasibility of the study can be verified from four questions:
- Is it a current and relevant object of study?
- Do I have access to information in documents or people?
- How much time do I have to do the research?
- What resources will be needed for the study?
5 – Write a short and precise sentence
After defining the clipping you want to study and confirming its feasibility, it is time to turn it into a short and precise sentence. Try to contemplate the following triad: what is being researched? Who involves? Where does the phenomenon take place?
Examples of object of study
The object of study is always focused on what the researcher intends to analyze with his research. See some examples:
- The management of crises provoked by environmental disasters: case X.
- Digital audio advertising in podcasts
- Social responsibility in the environmental area of company Z.
- Digital advertising in video: analysis of pieces aired on Instagram.
- The environmental news broadcast by television news in the year 2019.
- Bullying in the high school classroom.
- Meanings of psychic suffering for workers at company X in city Y.
- The movie The Truman Show based on the Hypodermic Needle Theory.