CONCEPTS

What are the general and specific objectives?

We explain what are the general and specific objectives, examples and the functions they fulfill. Features and steps to perform them.

What are the general and specific objectives?

When talking about general and specific objectives, reference is made to  the goals set by an investigation, a project or an organization , classified based on the elements they focus on and the specific approach they contemplate, as follows:

  • General objective . There is usually only one, as it encompasses the entirety of an investigation or a project , and it is the primary goal to be achieved, that towards which all the efforts of an organization or all the chapters of a thesis grade contribute, for example.
  • Specific objectives . There are usually several, since each segment of an organization or each chapter of an investigation has its own goal to be achieved, which is under-edited or contained in the general objective.

Thus,  the sum of all the specific objectives would have to meet the general objective as a result , since the latter include the steps that must be taken first (and often in succession or in an organized way) to reach the top of the ladder.

Difference between general and specific objectives

The general and specific objectives are fundamental elements for the accomplishment of academic works, like for example, a thesis of degree.

The general objective is a statement that summarizes the central idea and purpose of a work.

The specific objectives detail the processes necessary for the complete performance of the work.

General objectives Specific objectives
Function Summarize and present the central idea of ​​an academic paper. Present in detail the results that are intended to be achieved through the investigation.
Sense Wider. More detailed.
Elements It must contain the hypothesis or the problem that will be investigated in the work, as well as the delimitation of the topic. It should describe the stages of the search in the sequence of execution. It must also relate the object of the work with its particularities, with greater delimitation.

It can serve you: What are the organizational objectives?

General and specific objectives examples

General and specific objectives
Publishing a novel has several specific objectives, such as writing and correcting it.

A simple example of general and specific objectives is the publication of a novel . The general objective is that: write a novel and publish it in an editorial.

But it encompasses many small steps to follow, many short-term goals to achieve and which will be the specific objectives: write the first chapter, write the second, and so on; then correct the first, correct the second and so on until the end. And then look for an editor. All of them can be considered specific objectives.

Another simple example is to quit smoking as a general objective. But that happens by smoking a cigarette less every week, then buying half a pack, then not buying but the few that are smoked a day and so on until you quit smoking altogether. All these previous steps would be specific objectives.

See also: What is the right objective?

Role of general and specific objectives

Normally, the objectives  are set before undertaking an action or investigation , as it is much more convenient to know where we want to go before starting to walk.

That is: we can only find out which is the best route to success, if we first know what the goal we have set ourselves is. That is why setting clear objectives is part of any planning in any area.

For example: university research, technology projects, business plans and military strategies always have a goal set beforehand. Thus, its effectiveness will depend on the method that is most convenient (ie: faster, safer, lucrative … depending on the specific area).

Characteristics of the general and specific objectives

general and specific objectives
The general objective is usually long term compared to the specific ones.

The general objectives are easily defined: they are the global ones, which cover the whole of a project or a task. There may be more than one, of course, in cases where there are great general aspirations.

But usually only one is chosen , which will be the north to which all efforts will be outlined separately. The general objective is usually the mission of companies or projects, and is usually long term.

On the other hand, specific objectives are usually short term and limited to specific conditions, to individual goals. Every general objective can be broken down into a series of specific objectives, which must first be met in order to achieve the totality of the proposed global goal.

Steps to formulate objectives

Various algorithms can be followed to formulate objectives, but a very simple one would be the following:

  • Establish an ideal state of things . This means: dream. Think positive. Our overall goal, the first one we must find, is that future and possible goal we want, that place where we want to meet and we are willing to strive for it.
  • Specify  the general objective . You must “translate” the dream, the ideal vision, into concrete, achievable, measurable objectives, and insert them into a credible time sequence . For example: it is useless to consider losing weight overnight, as it is unreal; but if I propose it over six months, I will have time to go fulfilling my specific objectives.
  • Identify the obstacles . Once I know where I want to go and how long it will take to get there, it is time to see what things I will find along the way and how I can prepare for it. My specific objectives will be, thus, the overcoming of each of these obstacles, or each of the steps taken in the route that I propose to perform.
  • Identify  resources and skills . As soon as I know what my obstacles will be, I will be able to know what my virtues, advantages and weaknesses are, and I will be able to plan my specific objectives based on it, so that they are as adapted to the possible reality.

How objectives are written

  • The objectives are written starting with infinitives (define, distinguish, register, identify …).
  • They must be clear and concise.
  • They must raise achievable possibilities.
  • They focus on achievements and not on processes or activities.

See also: Examples of Smart Goals

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