MGT 512: Business Research Methods
This project will begin in week 1 and continue until the course ends. Throughout the term, you will submit drafts of the different sections of the proposal for peer and instructor feedback. This project is designed to help you with your capstone project (MGT 519). The more work you put into your proposal the less up-front work you will have to do in your capstone. To help you with this, we will use the MGT 519 Capstone template and fill in some of the parts with this project. The template can be found under the Project information.
All the drafts, the presentation and the final paper must follow APA 6th edition guidelines. There is a minimum of 10 scholarly sources required in the final paper.
The schedule of assignments is as follows:
Week 1: Problem definition and potential research questions (25 points)
Week 2: Define purpose and research questions and outline of the literature review (25 points)
Week 3: Draft of entire Introduction section, excluding the limitations and assumptions sections (50 points)
Week 4: Draft of the literature review (50 points)
Week 5: Draft of the research design (25 points)
Week 6: Draft of the analysis plan (25 points)
Week 7: Presentation of proposal (100 points)
Week 8: Final Paper due (500 points)
With each assignment, we will work through each of the required sections and you will get peer and instructor feedback of your draft to help you solidify your final proposal. A description of each required section and its requirements are provided below.
In week 7, you are required to submit a presentation of your proposal for peer and instructor feedback. The powerpoint should be equivalent to a 10-15 minute in-class presentation and must include all the required components.
Rubrics for each of the drafts, the presentation and the final proposal project can be found in the course content, in the project information and in the rubrics tabs.
Sections of the proposal
The components of the Proposal Project are:
- Title page
- Table of Contents (including list of tables and illustrations as needed)
- Introduction section that includes:
- Nature of the Problem
- Research Questions
- Literature Review
- Methodology section
- Data collection plan
- Data analysis plan
Title Page & Table of Contents (including list of tables and illustrations) –
Follow the example provided in the MGT 519 template. If you have trouble trying to format it correctly, let me know and I will help you.
Introduction section – 4-6 pages
- Nature of the problem – In this section, you need to define the problem, provide background and/or historical information on it, and define terms. You want to give your audience an overall sense of what the issue is. You also must also address the problem through the perspectives of: financial performance, leadership and communication styles; ethical environment; and organizational challenges.
- Purpose – In this section, tell your audience what this project is supposed to accomplish and the focus of your study.
- Research Questions – Research questions are VERY specific. You should be able to answer questions at the conclusion of the study after you have analyzed all the data. Your questions should not be overly wordy and complicated. They must be relevant to the problem and purpose you have already presented and included the four perspectives listed above. You should aim at having 3-5 research questions that you CAN answer once you have completed the study. Questions may change slightly and become more refined throughout the process
- Hypothesis – What are the expected outcomes of your research questions? What answers do you THINK you will get to your research questions? You should have, at minimum, one hypothesis for every question.
- Limitations – In this section, you will address what were the limitations of our study. Typically, your limitations are based on difficulties you experience in the data collection process. They could, for example, include access to data, lack of participants and unique circumstances. You will not have a good idea of your limitations until after you have completed the study. For our purposes, think about POTENTIAL limitations that you foresee.
- Assumptions – In this section, identify assumptions that you have about your project. Think about what assumptions you are making about your data collection process, about the data that you are collecting, and about your participants. Typically, you want to identify your assumptions once you are ready to start collecting data, but before you actually start because your assumptions can change once the collecting process begins. At that point, new and/or changed assumptions can become limitations of your study.
Literature Review – 8-10 pages
This section is the longest section of your paper and, in my opinion, the most important part of it. In this section, you literally review published literature about your topic. By published literature, I mean other studies that have been done about your topic. Look at journal articles, books, executive reports, etc. from credible sources. You will spend time “in” the library to accomplish this task. Many journal articles are available online through the library’s site, but books are not.
This section should answer your research questions and support your purpose and hypotheses. You must organize this section like you would any paper with an introduction, body and conclusion. To help your reader make sense of all of this information you are sharing, organize the section by topics and use headings! The goal is to guide your reader through a logical argument that supports everything you stated in the introduction section and easily leads them into your Methodology.
In your introduction section, you had to include the four perspectives of: financial performance, leadership and communication styles; ethical environment; and organizational challenges. Do not forget about them now! Your reviewing of the literature should include information on each of them as they relate to YOUR study. The topics and headings that you create should not revolve around these perspectives; rather they should revolve around the topics/themes you see in the literature beyond these perspectives.
Remember that you are presenting information about other people’s work, so do NOT forget to cite the authors if you paraphrase or quote them! Failure to do so is PLAGARISM! And will result in an F in this class! As mentioned earlier, following APA 6th edition guidelines! If you are not sure how to cite something, ask me. I will help you.
The MGT 519 Capstone paper requires 15 sources. For this class, I expect a minimum of 10. I would suggest reviewing the MGT 519 template document that is available for you and reviewing the “Reviewing the Relevant Literature” section that starts on page 9. There is a link to a great website with more information included in the document. You might also review the literature review document provided by the Kinkel Center. If you still are not sure how to do this or what this is exactly, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know.
Methodology – 2-4 pages (1-2 for each plan)
This section includes the step-by-step details of how you will collect and analyze your data. You will describe the instruments you are using and the population you are targeting. For our purposes, you will provide an outline of your collection and analysis plans. By outline, I mean what you have figured out to this point, not actually bullet points and/or roman numerals. If you are going to do a survey and have a draft of the questionnaire, then include the questionnaire in the appendix. If you are going to do interviews, then include your questions in the appendix. Essentially, provide me with a general plan of what data you are going to collection, how you are going to collect it and who are going to be your participants. Also, explain how your collection plan is going to answer your research questions and supports your purpose.
You also need to provide a general plan for your analysis. What statistical test(s) are you thinking of using and why? If you are doing interviews, what approach are you going to use to code the data? How does you analysis plan support your purpose and questions?
Keep in mind, your research questions are the driving force of your study. Whatever collection and analysis plan you decide on should help you to answer those questions.
This is a complete list of all your citations. The purpose of this list is that it gives your readers the information they would need to find the article, book, etc., that you referenced in the text. This list is in alphabetical order and must follow APA 6th edition guidelines. If you need help with this, please let me know.
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