Completing Your Own Research Proposal
For this course, you will have a project that includes the written assignments in Weeks 1–5. The Week 3 and Week 5 assignments are considered major assignments, which combined are worth almost half of the total course points. It will likely take you more than one week to complete the Week 3 and Week 5 major assignments, so begin working on those tasks sooner rather than later.
The course project assignment each week is designed to help you develop skills in critically analyzing and using research studies published in peer-reviewed journals. These resources are critical to the development of your own research agenda and designing of your own research studies.
Your Own Research Proposal
During your course project, you have been evaluating research published by others. You have also been defending suggestions on how to improve the research design or implementation in each of those studies. In week 2 you began building your own research proposal by defining a research question, some key topics, and a couple of important articles for your study. Last week, you added to your research proposal by starting a literature review and drafting some preliminary research questions or hypotheses. For the final assignment in your course project, you will complete your proposal. Leverage the feedback received from your instructor on the previous work to make improvements to what you have already started.
To begin, continue to research a topic of personal interest related to the field of organizational behavior (from last week’s literature review). Extend your literature review to include twelve to fifteen scholarly sources that inform your knowledge of the current research on your topic. As you work through the articles and create the literature review, further refine your main research question (from week 2 and 4 assignments). What sub questions emerge?
Then, develop your research questions to determine the appropriate design and method for your study. For example, if your review of the literature and development of questions results in variables and testable hypotheses, design your study accordingly. If your review of the literature and development of questions do not hypothesize known variables in relationships, design your study accordingly.
Next, determine the data that you need to collect to answer your research questions or test your hypotheses. How will you collect that data? What instruments will you use? What population or sampling frame will you use? How will you sample from among that group? Be sure to give attention to the internal and external validity of your study (or to the credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability of a qualitative study). What are some of the limitations and delimitations of your study?
Next, consider how you might analyze your data. Although you are not expected to provide an in-depth defense of data analysis procedures (e.g., statistical analysis), propose at least three key ideas of what the data analysis would need to accomplish to help you determine answers to your research questions (e.g., the analysis would need to show the differences or relationships, the analysis would need to rule out these other variables, the analysis would need to look for patterns in certain data, or the analysis would need to show “this” pattern).
In addition to the twelve to fifteen journal articles used in your literature review, also include three to four sources that help you support and defend the design and method choices you are making throughout your proposal (e.g., why your qualitative or quantitative approach is appropriate, why your sampling strategy is sound, why your data collection methods are reasonable).
Conclude with an assessment of how the results of your research would further the organizational behavior discipline (or the section of it that you are studying) and other possible questions researchers should consider.
Also, compose a 150 words or less abstract for your paper. Although the abstract is placed on a page by itself following the title page, it summarizes the entire document and is often the last item written.
As a guide, consider the following outline for your paper:
- Abstract (Brief, comprehensive summary of the entire proposal. Journals vary in requirements, but typically range from 150 to 250 words. Target for this study should be no more than 150 words. An abstract is placed on its own page, immediately following the title page.)
- Introduction (Remember that APA does not use a heading that says introduction. However, every paper should have an introduction following the title on the first page of the paper’s body. APA introductions always answer three things: What is your topic, why is it important, what are the main points or sections of your study?).
- Purpose of the Study (Brief section clarifying the gap/problem, your umbrella research question, and a clear sentence articulating the purpose of your study.)
- Literature Review (Several paragraphs reviewing relevant literature that supports the existing gap, relevant sub-questions, variables, relationships, or hypotheses for your study. The literature review needs to be organized to clearly support the need for your research. Every piece of literature should be connected to the need for your research.)
- Theoretical Framework (The literature review should build the theoretical framework for your study. This section summarizes that framework. What is the key theory or theories that are the basis of your work? How do they fit together? What are the sub-research questions or hypotheses? How are the variables operationalized for measurement?)
- Method (A section with several sub sections detailing the supported choices you are making about how to conduct the research. The opening paragraph of the methods section should clarify whether you are using a quantitative or qualitative approach and why that choice is appropriate.)
- Design (Subsection clarifying the design. For example, cross-sectional survey? Longitudinal? Case study? Grounded theory? Etc. And supporting why that choice is appropriate)
- Limitations and Delimitations(What are some of the possible weaknesses, risks, and biases associated with your study? What are the clarifications needed regarding the parameters for the study or what the study will not do or pursue?)
- Population and Sample (What is the larger group that will be the subject of the study? Why are they appropriate for answering your questions or testing your hypotheses? What are their characteristics? How will you draw a sample from that group? How many will you select? Why is that number for your sample appropriate?)
- Instrumentation (What instruments will you use to collect data? Why are they appropriate? How will they demonstrate validity and reliability, if quantitative? Or, how will they demonstrate credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability, if qualitative?)
- Data Collection (What processes will you use to collect data from your sample? How does the process demonstrate the rigor and trustworthiness of your research?)
- Data Analysis (Note—in a formal proposal, you would detail the actual analysis to be performed. For this paper, just provide at least three general ideas regarding what data analysis would need to accomplish.)
- Significance of the Study (What are the potential benefits of your study to the discipline? For practitioners? What are some future research recommendations deriving from your study?)
- Submit your 8- to 10-page research proposal in a Microsoft Word document.