Word count as regards a research project is the number of words that is in a research project. Research project is an academic exercise that students undergo at the final year in the university. It is a show of many years of knowledge and ability gained in all the years spent in the university. It is a way of test-running what has been put in place. There is a lot that is expected of undergraduate students from their supervisors during project writing.
Over the years, what was expected of final year students writing research project was number of pages. Most supervisors gave their students number of pages not to go below. So students try as much as possible to meet up with the number of pages given to them by their supervisors. However, in recent time number of pages which use to be the norm and expectation from supervisor to student is no longer in vogue as time has revealed the trick behind meeting up with the number of pages given to students by supervisors. One of these tricks is that number of pages in a research work can be increased using font size as some universities don’t give students a specific font size to use in research project. The number of pages in a research project can be manipulated by the use of font size and the number will automatically be skyrocketed.
The disadvantage number of pages has over word count is that the content of the research project will not be authentic and rich. By richness of a research project it entails the materials and content in the research project. The researcher may not capture all that there is in the research topic. Findings may also be limited especially if it’s a lazy researcher he/she will use the opportunity to just increase the font size of the research project just to achieve the number of pages. But with word count as a target given to students by supervisors in their research project, content will be improved as well as have enough material and authentic findings. The research will be well done. This is because word count cannot be manipulated like number of pages. The researcher will have to give researching and sorting for materials that will help him/her meet up with the word count given by the supervisor.
THE ACT OF PROJECT WRITING
The act of project writing entails more than just coming up with findings of the research but much more which means the research findings must be able to solve an existing problem. It is also a task undertaken by student(s) within a given period of time in a given subject area aimed at making the student have independent capacity for inquiries and to supplement and as well complement formal teaching in his area of study. Project work at the undergraduate level is an undertaking usually at the last lap/year 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 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 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.
It is therefore important that you identify an existing problem then sort for ways of finding solution to the problem by means of carrying out a research and at the end of your findings, you make appropriate recommendations.
WHY TERTIARY INSTITUTION SWITCHED TO WORD COUNT
A) FONT SIZE CAN INCREASE NUMBER OF PAGES
Font size is one of the reasons why tertiary institutions switched to word count instead of the initial number of pages given to undergraduate students by their supervisors. As earlier mentioned in the introductory part of this article, font size is an automatic way to increase the number of pages of a research project and other activity that requires writing.
Therefore, the idea of giving students number of pages to have in their research project is like telling them to manipulate the number of pages using font size. Lazy students will fund it appealing because it will save them the stress of having to research extensively and have rich content in their research project. The materials used for the research project will not be much also. Students might also not cover all area of the research project as expected because all their minds and focus will be ways to increase the number of pages given by their supervisor and the easy way out is to increase the font size.
B) WORD COUNT IS MORE ACCURATE
Another reason for tertiary institutions switch to word count instead of number of pages is that word count is more accurate. It gives an extensive detail of the research project. Students research more and make sure to cover all aspect of the research project when it is word count instead of number of pages. With word count, number of pages cannot be manipulated by students as seen in when it is number of pages.
C) THE USE OF WORD COUNT IMPROVES CONCENTRATION
Full concentration of research project is assured when using word count unlike number of pages. Students tend to focus and concentrate on their research project because they are looking for materials to make the content of their research project a rich one with an authentic findings that will contribute to already existing literature and solve the identified problem which necessitated the research project.
D) IMPROVES THE QUALITY OF A RESEARCH PROJECT
Another reason for switch of tertiary institutions from number of pages to word count is because it improves the quality of a research project. As earlier stated, number of pages can easily be manipulated using font size but word count cannot be manipulated as such it will require students to research more and sort of materials to help them in their research project since they are expected to meet a specific word count or not go below it but can go above the word counts given.
In conclusion, word count has shown over time to be content authentic than number of pages. It is more accurate, allows students to concentrate more, and also improves the quality of a research project. With these few reasons it is obvious that word count is now preferred especially tertiary institutions to number of pages.