The term justification of research means the reason why the research study in question is carried out. When writing your reasoning you should be able to convey why it was necessary to carry out your study. It’s an important part of your research work that should explain how your research was novel and explain why it was meaningful; this helps the reader understand why it was necessary to address your research question in your research paper, quarterly paper, or other research report.

What is a justification?

Reasoning is when you are asked to give the reasoning or justification for an action or choice you make. The justification focuses on the “why”: why you’ve chosen to do something, study, or focus on something. De María (1999), is a set of statements of purpose and meaning, and often addresses a lack or a need.

A justification in academic writing is rarely a complete task by itself. It is usually a part of a larger task. For example, one part of a class plan might be to provide a justification for why you chose to teach a particular content or use a certain resource or activity, or you may be asked to provide a justification for why you chose a particular theory to apply or a concept to support.

You may be asked to reason before an action or decision; why you plan to do something and how, or after you have acted or decided something; reflecting, looking back, why you did something and how it worked or not.

You can use language that indicates that you are clearly providing a justification in your writing. You can relate your justification to the learning outcomes or goals of a lesson, activity, or assessment task.

A model: problem-solution-justification

Justification can be made by a longer essay explaining why it is important to do something in a certain way; in this sense, an entire document can be a justification.

However, a more specific or focused way of thinking about reasoning is how we can openly show that we are justifying our choices with the language we use.

Examples of Justification

One way to do this is to consider the problem or issue that requires attention, the solution, and then the rationale or justification for the solution (the “why”). In this way, the foundation (reason) is placed in a context.

Example 1

A diagnostic evaluation determined that students needed to pay more attention to the addition and subtraction of mixed fractions. This activity aims to address this problem by having children face the task with blocks before performing it with figures. The reason I chose to do this is because students have higher levels of understanding when presented with visual or tangible representations of abstract problems. I also did it because I wanted to allow kids to “play” with math, to see that it can be a fun activity, and in doing so, to break some of the “antimathematic prejudices” gaines talks about.

The important thing here is the language used to point out the rationale, in this case:

The reason I chose to do this is because… and I also did it as …

Example 2

Another example of a problem/solution/reasoning:

Scaffolding is support provided by the teacher or by a significant person, such as a classmate, that assists students in learning. Some students had language difficulties upon entering, while others, especially those who had completed previous assignments, had few problems. Therefore, to address this disparity in level and understanding, mixed-skills pairs were created in which the most competent student helped the other. After reflecting on it, this was an effective way to carry out the activity for two reasons: it allowed peer-to-peer teaching, which consolidated the understanding of both students, and it organized the support in a way that allowed me to walk around the room to advise couples as needed.

In this example, the language used to point out our justification

for and for two reasons…

Example 3

At the same time, it is important to note that it is not a mandatory condition that a dissertation is associated with the solution of a particular problem. Dissertations can also be purely theoretical. Some examples of this type of study can be:

Born or Raised: Revision of the Great Man’s Leadership Theory in the Twenty-first Century

A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s achievement theory in the U.S. information technology industry

Neoliberalism as the main reason for the emergence of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009

Analysis of Lewin’s change model and its relevance in the pharmaceutical sector in France

Other Examples:

Other examples of studies that can help address specific practical problems may include the following:

A study on the reasons for the high turnover of staff at Hanson Brick

A critical analysis of employee motivational issues at Esporta, Finchley Road, London

Research on Effective Succession Planning at Microsoft

A study on the main differences between private and public primary education in the United States and the implications of these differences in the quality of education.

How is the justification for the investigation written?

The justification of the investigation is also sometimes called the justification of the study. When writing your justification, start by first presenting and explaining what other researchers have published within your field of research.

Once the work of the previous literature and previous research has been explained, according to Alfonzo (2002), include a discussion about where the knowledge gaps are in your field. Use them to define the possible research questions that need to be answered and explain the importance of addressing these unanswered questions.

The justification conveys to the reader of your publication exactly why your research topic was necessary and why it was meaningful. Once the justification for the research has been defined, you must define the hypothesis and the objectives of the research.

Language to point out justification






The reason it was made/chosen …

For the following reason(s) …

For two/three reasons …

Language for greater justification – show the importance

This was important/significant because…

This meant I could…

Also, this allowed me …

… what allowed me/allowed me…

… that pointed out / highlighted that / showed me that …

The most important thing to remember about the wording of the justification is to move away from what has been written, look at it in a broad sense and ask yourself, “Have I explained why?” If that is clearly articulated, a justification has been provided.

Questions to establish the Justification of the investigation

What constitutes a good research question is usually in the eye of the beholder, but there are several general good practice criteria that can be used to assess the justification for the research.

Is the question scientifically well posed, that is, it is formulated in a hypothetical way that leads to research design and analysis with scientific credibility?

Does the research question require accessible or achievable data at reasonable cost or effort?

Is the research question posed so that it can explain the variability, the different outcomes under different conditions?

Are the units of analysis (observation) clearly identified?

Is the question posed in such a way that it is possible to obtain more than one result, that is, that the working hypotheses can be refuted?

Does the research broaden our understanding of the phenomena investigated; elaborates, expands or fills in the gaps in our current knowledge?

Arguments for the Justification of the Study

It is important that you can explain the importance of the research you are doing by providing valid arguments. According to Vargas (1999), the justification for the study should be specific and, ideally, should refer to the following points:

Research must contribute to the elimination of a gap in the literature.

The elimination of a gap in the existing literature is one of the mandatory requirements of its study. In other words, there is no need to “reinvent the wheel”, so the goals and objectives of your research have to be totally new or, at least, they have to offer new perspectives on existing management and business issues.

For example, although thousands of studies have already been conducted to study various aspects of leadership, this topic is far from exhausted as an area of research. In particular, further studies can be conducted in the field of leadership to analyse the impact of innovative media, such as Twitter and other social networks, on leadership practices.

The impacts of the 2007-2010 global economic and financial crisis on leadership can also be studied in depth. The same principle applies to almost all areas of business studies, i.e. gaps can be found in the literature in relation to almost all areas of business and economics.

Research can be done to solve a specific problem.

You need to explain the essence of the problem in detail and highlight the practical benefits associated with solving the problem. Suppose that the topic of your thesis is “Study of the advantages and disadvantages of the different strategies of entry into the Chinese market”. In this case, you can say that the practical implications of your research are related to helping companies intending to enter the Chinese market to make more informed decisions.

On the other hand, if your research is dedicated to the analysis of the impacts of CSR programs and initiatives on the brand image, the practical contributions of your study would be related to the contribution to the level of effectiveness of csr programs of companies.

The study has to contribute to the level of professional development of the researcher.

You need to explain how your research contributes to the achievement of your long-term career aspirations in detail.

For example, you selected as a research topic “A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s achievement theory in the U.S. information technology industry.” You can say that you associate your career aspirations with becoming an IT executive in the U.S. and, consequently, a deep knowledge of the motivation of employees in this industry will contribute to their chances of success in the chosen career.

Therefore, you will be in a better position if you have already identified your professional goals, so that during the research process you can gain detailed knowledge of the various aspects of your chosen industry.

Final comments

Defining the justification of research is a fundamental part of the research process and of the academic writing of any research project. In the research work, it is used to explain, in the first place, the research problem within the subject of the thesis. This gives you the justification for the research you need to define your research question and what the expected results may be.

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You may also be interested in: State of the Art (SoTA)

Bibliographic References

ALFONZO, Luis. Bibliographic research techniques. In: WASTELAND, Paul. Documentary research and the state of the art as research strategies in social sciences. In: Research in social sciences: research strategies. Pilot University of Colombia. 2002

DE MARIA, Eumelia. State of the Art qualitative research of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Putumayo. In: Magazine Criteria. Number 8. grass. Marian University. 1999.

VARGAS GUILLEN, Germán. The lines of Research: “from the possibility to the need” in development of lines of investigation from the relationship docencia-investigación. Bogota. National Pedagogical University. 1999.

Justification of the Investigation

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