Difference Between Aim and Objective

Main Difference – Aim vs Objective

In a general context, the meanings of the two nouns aim and objective overlap to a certain extent. However, in academic context aim and objective has two specific meanings. Aim refers to an intention or a desired outcome; an objective is a more specific and concrete goal or step. Aims describe what you expect to achieve at the end of a project or research. Objectives describe how you achieve your final aim or intent. A series of objectives must be achieved to reach the final aim. This is the main difference between aim and objective.Difference Between Aim and Objective - infographic

What is an Aim

Aim is your intention or aspiration; it is what you hope to achieve in a project. When you are doing research or a project, aims are the general directions or the intentions. They address your long-term outcomes and highlights what you expect to achieve at the end.  Aim is generally broader than an object. Although a research can have more than one aim, they may generally be classified into objectives. Once you have established the aims, you can move onto formulation of objectives.

Main Difference - Aim vs Objective

Aim high


What is an Objective

Objectives are the specific or concrete goal. They are steps or specific list of tasks that needed to be taken in order reach the final aim of the project. Objectives are also more immediate outcomes, i.e, they are short-term steps. A series of such short-term tasks help in achieving the long-term aim. It is important to remember that objectives must be sensible, doable and precisely described.

Students often find it difficult to formulate realistic objectives. However, this can be avoided by using the S.M.A.R.T  guidelines.

Specific – Be specific and avoid general statements. Include details about what you are going to do.

Measurable – There should be a definable outcome.

Achievable –Don’t try to do too much. Choose a project that can be done.

Realistic – Think beforehand about factors like time, money, skills; access to information, etc.

Time constrained – Be aware of the time-frameDifference Between Aim and Objective

Give below is an example of a research aim and its objectives:


To conduct empirical research into student perceptions towards e-books and their frequency of use. 


  1. Review the literature concerning the usage of e-books in academic libraries and perceptions towards e-books.
  2. Investigate undergraduate student’s attitudes and perceptions towards e-books and the usage of e-books at the University of Southlands.
  3. Compare statistics between various student groups (e.g., part time, full time, humanities, science)

Difference Between Aim and Objective


Aim is the intention or the desired outcome.

Objective is a specific or concrete goal.

What and How

Aim is what you are going to achieve.

Objective is how you are going to achieve it.


Aims are broad.

Objectives are specific and concrete.


 Aim can be classified into several objectives.

Objectives are steps that are achieved to reach the aim.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.