A research scope is one of the vital elements of a project, and writing it can be daunting regardless of the project type or the methodology used. But, a well-written scope statement makes the entire project flow along with fewer problems. It is written below the project charter, and it includes the project details.
Writing the research scope
A research scope explains the primary reason for the study. It is important because:
- It gives the general direction of the project while emphasizing on the final goal.
- It distinguishes what will be used in the project and what will not
- It establishes clear control factors which are used to address the changes that take place in the course of the project
- It creates a basis of the primary objective of the study.
- It helps the readers to understand the what to expect in the study
It helps in avoiding these common issues:
- Requirements that constantly change
- Provisions that require a re-think in the course of the project
- An unplanned outcome
- Overrunning budget
- Behind schedule project
Before you write down your research scope, ensure that you:
Plan well– define and capture all the work to be done in the study
Control -choose how you will document and track the project changes
Determine success criteria– remember that the results of your project will be beneficial and might be used by many people hence you should form a team (if possible) to brainstorm on how you will produce the absolute best.
An effective scope statement could read as follows:
The aim of this project is to improve the marketing plan for September 2018, to increase widget X sales by 20% in Chicago metropolitan.
This is an ideal example of a scope statement because it is qualitative and quantitative. The expected project results have determined distinct boundaries hence there is no ambiguity.
The cost estimates of the project must also be indicated in the scope statement. In some cases, the cost information may be available built-in others it may need various compilations, but in both cases, it should be documented in the research scope. It is cumbersome but very crucial.
Cost estimates are useful in the planning process; hence they should be realistic and accurate.
They clearly show the objectives; hence they include goals and significant milestones. The objectives should be clear and quantifiable.
Critical tips to consider when writing research scope
Make sure that your scope statement is clear enough for everyone to understand. Outline all your ideas and points and emphasize the aspects of utmost importance. Also, make your scope brief and straightforward. The unnecessarily long statements will only bore the readers.
Your research statement should address a market need; so ensure that is highlighted in the scope statement. You may write a small description of how your project will help the targeted audience/society. For instance, if the project is about building a website, you should explain how the site will be relevant and how it will be used.
You also need to outline the opportunities or problems that you might encounter in the course of your project. This section aims to provide complete information on the entire project.
Documentation format and mode of communication are outlined here. For instance, if you will use emails to pass information, be sure to mention that. You should also clarify the document format that you will use. This is because some projects may require you to use all documents only in either PDF or word documents.
In a scope statement, the technical guidelines need clear definition just like the design requirements. This is because some projects may require you to use a different piece of software or hardware. Make sure that you highlight your storage as one of your technical instructions in the research scope.
Your supervisor, together with other people, should get a clear picture of your work. For instance, if your research is about a particular business magazine, the readers might want to know your target audience and how beneficial it is to them. The project’s information should be relevant to the target audience. On the same magazine example, if teenagers are the target audience, the content should be strictly by that.
After creating a detailed and thorough plan for your research project, specify how long it will take. Also, explain what will take place in each time phase. Indicate that your timeline is merely is an estimation and therefore does not account for unexpected problems and delays.
Assumptions and conditions are crucial segments of a research scope. Make it clear to the readers what these particular conditions are all about. Include also the number of hours you will be working in a day and any other related information.
Now, imagine that you have been approached with this scope statement:
College X is planning to upgrade its facilities by making WIFI technologies available everywhere. The project is aimed to provide quick access to the staff, faculty, and students. Measurable results will be taken when the project is over.
What will be your first thoughts?
The research scope does not have any SMART goal feature. SMART means:
- Agreed upon
For you to change this scope statement to a SMART goal, you should restate it in this manner:
College X is planning to upgrade the dormitories, offices, dormitories and the entire buildings to IEEE 802.11 technology right from the library to the south side of the college. The project is aimed to facilitate productivity through computers. The project will take two months hence it will be finished by September 2018.
You will realize that the second statement has specified directions for the project. It has measurable results because we know the targeted buildings. The plan has been agreed upon, is realistic (it will be tacked through a building to building approach) and is also time bound (the completion date is specified).
Creating a detailed scope statement will assist you in successfully managing your project by defining the projects boundaries.