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.