The learning objective / purpose of this assignment is to gauge your understanding of the readings and class discussions. I hope to encourage you to utilize the terms from the books in an applied setting, and, to provide you with an opportunity to see how it all fits together. By writing down your thoughts about the entire process, you can begin to see how each of the decisions is interrelated – e.g., the research question should inform the design and sampling, and the methods and questions asked (format) affects the method of analysis, and finally the entire process alters what you can do with the data (i.e., the recommendations you can or cannot make).
Each of you will identify a question or issue in your own organization, and design a hypothetical study to diagnose the issue—including sampling and data collection methods that you would suggest. You will then discuss the analytical methods you could use to analyze your (hypothetical) data and provide recommendations based on your potential or hypothetical findings (i.e., you do not have to perform actual analysis here). The final paper submission will include a discussion of problem/issue; research design (sampling and method); analytical methods; hypothetical findings; and recommendations.
This paper should be written as if it is a proposal, not a narrative of the pros and cons of alternatives as you go along in the writing. Put a stake in the ground, and then use the recommendations and learnings to discuss the pros and cons of the approach you chose.
The following is a sample outline of major sections to include in your proposal:
1. Research Question
a. State the research question and provide a background information as to why you want to study the question and why it is relevant to you (i.e., what benefits would the study bring to you professionally or to your organization).
i. Include sub-questions (or hypotheses) that are secondary to your primary research question.
b. In the background information, focus primarily on the relevant details related to the research, not an exhaustive background of the company per se.
a. Describe the sample (subjects in the study as well as the organization you are studying), sample size, sampling technique, and data collection method (how will you collect the data, what methods—surveys, interviews, etc.—you will use to collect the data).
i. You may include some secondary data analysis in your plan, but also describe a primary research project.
a. Describe the analysis plan.
b. How would you go about analyzing the data? What types of questions would you analyze?
i. Provide a few example questions from the survey (or interview) so that you can then describe the analysis methods as they relate to the types of questions you ask.
ii. Keep in mind the variety of types of questions. Usually an entire survey of all rating question on 1-5 or 1-7 scales would limit your analysis options.
c. What analysis tools or methods will you use and why? What techniques are most appropriate for particular types of questions (e.g., rating, ranking, demographics, etc.)? What type of graphic depiction of the data would be most appropriate for particular types of questions?
a. State the results of the study.
b. What are the anticipated results?
c. What are the implications (e.g., East Wing is more likely to be dissatisfied with work than West Wing)?
d. What would be the significance of your results? Or, how would you know if it was significant?
a. State your recommendations.
b. What are your recommendations and their implications? In other words, are there consequences to your recommendations?
c. How feasible are they, and do you anticipate any obstacles?
d. As always, there are tradeoffs. Why did you select certain data collection methods over others?
e. What are the limitations of your research? What will it NOT be able to answer? What would future research look like?
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