Is this a ‘project’ …

When I began this study two years ago, I wasn’t happy with the word ‘project’. In my early days as a researcher in the late 1960s, we rarely spoke in terms of research ‘projects’; we were rather involved in ‘an investigation’ or ‘a study’, or even just ‘interested’ in something, and the word ‘project’ was reserved mainly for applied scientific investigations with well-defined goals, pretty much in accordance with the Oxford English Dictionary‘s definition of a ‘project’ as “an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim”.

… or an ‘investigation’ or a ‘study’?

Today, when goal-directed research with external funding is much more common, the notion of ‘project’ has spread to basic, non-goal-directed, research as well. Since I don’t have any external funding for this investigation, and since I’m not pursuing it to achieve a well-defined goal, I will try to describe it as ‘study’ or ‘investigation’ and avoid the term ‘project’. Sometimes it’s difficult, however, so don’t accuse me of being inconsistent.