We are today in knowledge driven world where knowledge assets rather than physical assets and natural assets are considered more relevant in creating competitive and differential advantages. For this reason, attempts are made at micro and macro levels to increase the stock of knowledge assets as a strategic choice for increasing development at diverse levels. Early development is always a better choice, in any form of development, so as to earn the best fruit of input or labour. This means that students’ project work in their undergraduate curriculum is aimed at meeting the knowledge needs of the students, society and the world at the level and stage when the body and mind are willing and receptive to knowledge.
Undergraduate project is an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. They usually begin by selecting undergraduate project topics that they are conversant with or that they feel they will have adequate research materials for.
Project work at the undergraduate level is an undertaking usually at the last lap of a journey of four or five years programme depending on the choice of course or academic pursuit/career. It is therefore a point where and when a traveler (student) leaves a statement as a foot print on the part that he/she traversed over a period of time. The statement or the content of the project may be a building block for the future travelers (students) or humanity at large. When students are at the point of entry into the university they ought to know that they will leave a footprint by way of project, for this, they ought to read widely and get focused early enough.
Undergraduate research projects experiences help students understand a particular topic or phenomenon in a field while simultaneously strengthening their comprehension of research and research methods. Undergraduate research is inquiry-based learning that involves practicing a discipline, not just being told about it. Students learn and apply the tools by which knowledge is created in their disciplines. They discover firsthand how the steps of the research process are related to one another, experience the triumphs and pitfalls inherent to the creative process, see that research is an iterative process and that ambiguity is part of the real world, develop an understanding and appreciation of how knowledge evolves, and produce an original contribution to that body of knowledge.
Undergraduate research is the exploration of a specific topic within a field by an undergraduate student that makes an original contribution to the discipline. Undergraduate research is often required for acceptance into graduate and professional schools.
Undergraduate research provides opportunities for independent research, professional student/teacher relationships, and experience in the field of study. Undergraduate research is a tool for students to gain knowledge about their field using their own methods and not relying on a professor or supervisor to walk them through the study. Independent research will help students feel confident and competent when performing tasks in their future career. There are many benefits to undergraduate research including, but not limited to, real world applications, research and professional experience, and better relationships with faculty and peers. Through coursework and out-of-class experiences, students described learning to work and think independently, to take responsibility for their own learning, and to take initiative to solve problems on their own rather than relying on experts for the answers. In addition, institutions find value in promoting undergraduate research to recruit and retain students and to prepare them for graduate studies. Undergraduate research is an effective way to showcase the effective of learning and teaching through research.
Academic achievement or academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.
Academic performance is the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects. Teachers and education officials typically measure achievement using classroom performance, graduation rates and results from standardized tests.
Academic achievement is important for the successful development of young people in society. Students who do well in school are better able to make the transition into adulthood and to achieve occupational and economic success.
WHY YOU FINISH YOUR PROJECT LATE
A) LACK OF RESEARCH MATERIALS
One of the reasons why you finish your project late is as a result of lack of research materials. Lack of research materials is one of the reasons also why it is advisable to choose a project topic that is researchable and with availability of materials. When you choose project topic that does not have research materials, you will find it difficult to complete your project and on time too.
B) YOUR DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR TOPIC
Secondly, if you don’t understand your project topic, it will be difficult for you to finish your project on time. As an undergraduate, it is important that you choose project topic that you are familiar with, do not a choose a project topic because your friend chose it or allow your supervisor to impose a project topic on you knowing clearly that you do not have an idea about it or research materials.
Therefore, it is important and advisable that as an undergraduate who is to write a project to choose project topics that you are quite familiar with as well as have interest. It will help make your research work an interesting one because it is a topic you like and want to research on.
C) NATURE OF PROJECT SUPERVISOR
The most cardinal and necessary is that a supervisor should have a superlative vision of the project topic or area. A supervisor should have good knowledge of the area he/she is supervising. The areas here mean the subject matter of the topic. The supervisor should be grounded in the area of the project. This will enable the supervisor guide the student properly. Good knowledge of the area should be in addition to knowing the technical aspect of legal writing.
Apart from having good knowledge of the area, a supervisor should plan the project with the student. At an early stage, both (student and his supervisor) should agree as to the lay-out of the project and the boundaries of the project clearly known to both sides. The best is for the supervisor to read the work at most in chapters if not in heads and subheads. It is improper to bundle a whole project and dump it on the supervisor. One is that the supervisor will be bored and confused even if he/she did not show or say so. Due to the magnitude of the work left for him, he may not observe all that are even visible. At the long run both the student and the supervisor may be seen to be at the same low level or mediocrity since the supervisor did not have time to peruse the work/project.
D) POOR KNOWLEDGE ON HOW TO USE STATISTICAL TOOLS
About 70% of undergraduate research projects written by final year students normally make use of statistical tools for data analysis. Students are usually taught how to write research projects but not all have good knowledge background on how to use various statistical tools like SPSS, E-VIEWS, MINITAB, R, LISREL, MATLAB etc. This becomes a problem for these set of students. They might decide to outsource such which is usually expensive. The time wasted looking for a data analyst or learning how to use the statistical tools is time consuming.
In conclusion, undergraduate students should see writing of project as an interesting exercise as it exposes them to information they thought never existed and as such will be adding to an existing or new knowledge. It is therefore, important that they follow some simple tips as to how to go about the research project as well as finishing on time.