There are a number of questions you should ask yourself when you are planning to undertake a research study. These include but not limited to the following:
- What contributions and benefits to (education, community) are expected to come from the study?
- What will the result mean to the practicing educator or social scientist?
- Will the results, regardless of the outcome influence programmes or methods?
- Will the results set a stage of deciding alternative courses of action for improving policies or laws?
- What new innovations will emerge as a result of the study?
If you take time to answer these questions before embarking on your study, then you will have found its rationale or significance. Chapter 5 on Conclusions and Recommendations should revisit the significance of the study and discuss whether or not the contributions and benefits of the study were realized.
This example is an excerpt from a study on the issues facing the sustainability of Community Based Projects in developing countries:
Development practitioners (Government Institutions, INGOs, NNGOs), university professors, lecturers and students of community development and project management are expected to benefit from the resourcefulness of this study on the major issues facing the sustainability of Community Based Projects (CBPs).
The study is expected to arouse new interest among scholars, development practitioners and students of research about re-mapping the traditionally established paths towards project sustainability. This could be through coming up with new project sustainability models that propagate responsible leadership/governance.
Further, the study is hoped to contribute to global knowledge on the sustainability issues facing community projects from the perspective of developing countries.
From the example, it is evident that significance of the study touches various stakeholders. The findings and/or results of the study are only ‘expected’, ‘hoped’ to be of benefit in terms of contributing to either policies, laws, action plan or knowledge. There is no need of undertaking a study if it does not have any contribution!