OVERVIEW The Writing Guidelines describes the writing requirements of the Organizational Leadership (OL) senior research project. In OL 486, students define their research topic, write the Introduction to their research paper, and outline their Literature Review. In OL 487, students write the Literature Review, and draw Conclusions and Recommendations based on their findings. The final paper for the senior research paper due in OL 487 includes: Title Page 1. Proper format 2. Clear, understandable title 3. Title that is reflective of the project Table of Contents 1. Correctly numbered pages and sections Abstract/Executive Summary 1. Clear/concise description of the issue 2. Clear/concise description of the research including the research questions 3. Clear/concise description of key findings from the secondary research 4. Clear/concise conclusions and recommendations description Introduction: 1. Statement of Issue that is clearly understandable and descriptive of the problem, opportunity or concept being studied 2. Background of Issue provides a perspective on the issue, including evidence that the issue is worth of investigating; two (2) or more secondary sources must be cited. 3. Purpose/Objectives states clearly, concisely and describes what the research will accomplish 4. Research Questions frame and direct your study; the goal of your research is to answer these 2 – 3 questions. 5. Significance of the Study discusses why the research is important and how the findings will impact and benefit a specific organization or group. 6. Conclusion briefly summarizes this section (Introduction) including the purpose and focus of the research study. Literature Review: 1. Introduction states this section will answer the research questions of the study through an analysis of secondary sources. 2. Literature Review uses 12 or more secondary sources to explore and answer the research questions by: OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 4 a. Defining and explaining key terms b. Identifying and discussing the theories and/or models of respected experts; c. Reviewing the results and conclusions of similar research studies; d. Exploring case studies from other organizations that succeeded and/or failed in facing a similar problem or opportunity; 3. Literature Review is written to include: a. Convincing arguments that are well supported b. Arguments for both/all sides of a topic c. Respected sources, the majority of which are peer-reviewed d. Factual data cited as required using APA style e. Direct quotes properly cited using APA style f. A logical progression of ideas, separated by appropriate sub-headings Conclusions and Recommendations 1. Introduction states the purpose of this section is to draw conclusions from the secondary research and provide recommendations based on these findings 2. Conclusions include a. Logical and inclusive of secondary data b. Gives insight to the information learned c. Provides answers to the research questions d. Makes and supports a decision about the problem 3. Recommendations include a. Implications for leaders in organizations or in student’s specific organization b. Specific steps to address the research problem References 1. Proper (APA style) form 2. Inclusive of the citations used General 1. Project is appropriate, creative, and useful 2. Writing style is clear and flowing, including a transition paragraph from section to section. 3. Paper is written at an appropriate level (i.e., undergraduate, graduate) 4. Paper utilizes the APA style 5. Effectively meets the objectives stated in the introduction 6. Demonstrates the student’s mastery of the material and technique OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 5 WRITING GUIDELINES The Writing Guidelines document is designed to support you in your senior capstone research project. A description follows for each of these sections: Title Page Table of Contents Abstract/Executive Summary Introduction Literature Review Conclusions and Recommendations References To a large extent, the Writing Guidelines are written in past tense to represent the final project. However, as you embark upon this research project and write sections in draft format, you might find it helpful to write in present and future tense. At the end you can edit for past tense. TITLE PAGE 1. Proper format (see Appendix A) 2. Clear, understandable title 3. Title that is reflective of the project TABLE OF CONTENTS The table of contents contains correctly numbered pages and sections as required by APA. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY An executive summary briefly summarizes your research in one or two paragraphs for each section of your paper. It should be no more than two double-spaced pages in length and include the following: 1. A clear and concise description of the issue (problem or opportunity). 2. A clear and concise description of the research project, including research questions 3. A clear and concise description of key findings from the Literature Review. OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 6 5. A clear and concise description of the conclusions and recommendations. These should be written in summary form, including all the essential information necessary to understand what was done. A clear, concise, and specific style of writing is critical. INTRODUCTION Unlike a term paper in which the objective is to learn about a topic, the goal of the senior research project is to research a leadership issue for the purpose of recommending action to address the problem, opportunity or concept. The Introduction prepares the reader for what is to be discussed in the paper by defining the issue and describing the importance of the research. It is generally 3 – 6 double-spaced pages and includes the following sections: Statement of Issue This is a statement of the leadership issue (problem, opportunity or concept) that exists, leading to this research project. This statement allows the reader to know what this paper is going to address, and why. The issue statement is just that – a statement; it is not a question, and it is not an intended or proposed solution. It describes the problem, opportunity and/or concept being studied. Background of Issue This section contains background information on the issue. It states why the issue is worthy to investigate, and includes evidence that there is a problem or opportunity. In providing a perspective of the issue, you must demonstrate that the issue is worth of investigating. You might discuss how the issue occurred, what factors have impacted it, and why research is needed. While this is not the place for an extensive review of the literature, some cited evidence is appropriate; citations from two or more respected secondary sources are required. This evidence is coupled with examples and/or your own understanding of the facts. Remember here and throughout the report to cite the source of theories, ideas and examples from secondary sources. Purpose/Objectives Once the issue has been stated and background provided, the purpose of this research project is explained. This section describes what the research project is intended to accomplish, and demonstrates that your intention is to recommend action based on your research findings to address the problem, opportunity and/or concept. OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 7 Research Questions This is the foundation of your research. These are the major questions that must be answered in order to be able to make an informed decision about the issue and recommend action. The senior research project is devoted to answering these questions. Research questions are used to position an objective inquiry that encourages understanding different perspectives and considering multiple alternatives. Unlike a thesis or hypothesis that the researcher must prove or disprove, research questions do not assume or attempt to defend a right answer but seek to fully explore the issue. Typically research questions include a grand tour or primary question and one or two secondary questions. To make your project manageable, limit the total number of research questions to 2 or 3, and make them as specific as possible. Significance of the Study Research is most valuable when it benefits an organization or group. It may be done to solve a problem, explore an opportunity or examine the application of a theory or concept. This section discusses the significance of the research highlighting why it is important and how the findings will impact and benefit a specific organization or group. Conclusion This section briefly summarizes the Introduction including the purpose, focus and importance of the research project. LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction The introduction to the Literature Review acts as a transition paragraph from the previous section, and permits the reader to know what the section is about and where the writer is going with it. It states that the purpose of the literature review is to answer the research questions of the study through an analysis of secondary sources. As required by APA standards, your Introduction does not have a header. Literature Review A good project is researchable from an existing theoretical body of knowledge. You should parallel your ideas with those that already exist in the literature. This focuses your study on the appropriate balance between what is known and what is not known. All competent researchers begin with an investigation of what others have discovered and documented. This information may be derived from journals, periodicals, and books. OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 8 In your literature review, you must answer the research questions of this study by discussing expert evidence that provides an in-depth understanding of the topic. Evidence can come from many sources but it is not what you think or believe to be true. Determining what experts have said or written about this issue will enable you under the issue fully and draw conclusions about it. In the Literature Review, all perspectives are considered; controversial and differing opinions must be addressed. Secondary sources are used to explore the research questions by defining key terms and concepts; identifying and discussing the theories of respected experts; reviewing the results and conclusions of similar research studies; and exploring case studies from other organizations that succeeded and/or failed in facing a similar problem or opportunity. There needs to be at least 12 sources of information, with at least one citation from each in your Literature Review. Ten sources must be from scholarly sources such as peer-reviewed journal articles or books written by recognized experts. Tertiary sources such as textbooks may be used but do not count toward the ten scholarly sources. Remember that you include only sources on the list of references that have been cited in the body of the report. To ensure reliable and objective data for analysis in answering your research questions, students must research their issues using Brandman’s Library databases. Books may be available in hard copy or electronically although the capstone may be completed using only journal articles. To identify appropriate articles, begin by searching for scholarly and peer-reviewed journal articles. By checking the option of scholarly and peerreviewed articles in databases (such as EBSCOhost and Proquest), your results will be limited to articles in which the validity, reliability and objectivity of information has been examined by experts prior to publication. A good but less preferred option is searching for full-text articles that are not peer-reviewed; this would include most business publications such as Fortune and Business Week. In addition, data from nonprofit domains (such as .edu, .org and .gov) is usually credible and can be used when appropriate. Information from commercial (.com) sites is least preferred because it may lack credibility and reliability. Community-compiled sources such as Wikipedia are never acceptable for academic research. To prioritize your research options: • Peer-reviewed journal articles from Brandman’s Library should be your 1st choice and constitute the majority of sources used • Full-text articles (but not peer-reviewed) from respected periodicals are acceptable • Non-profit domains can be viable sources • Commercial sites are least preferred because they often biased and unreliable. OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 9 The Literature Review is not a series of synopses of books and articles, nor is it a series of quotations, typed one after another. It is written in report style, supporting your writing with citations from journal articles and other sources. You can quote their words, state their statistics, or paraphrase their ideas, but these things should be done only to support your writing. While you are guided by the literature, the focus on the research topic is in your voice. This means you must read the material and summarize the major conclusions to answer your research questions. The literature review is written to include: convincing arguments that are well supported; arguments for all sides of a topic; respected sources; factual data cited as required using APA style; direct quotes properly cited using APA style; a logical progression of ideas, separated by appropriate headings. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction The introduction acts as a transition from the previous section and states that the purpose of the Conclusions and Recommendations section is to draw conclusions based on secondary research (Literature Review). After these conclusions are drawn, recommendations are presented. As required by APA standards, your Introduction does not have a header. Conclusions (based on the findings of the Literature Review) This section is where you state the answers to your research questions based on your analysis of findings from secondary sources discussed in the Literature Review and draw conclusions. The degree to which the literature answers your research questions and is consistent is the extent to which you can make powerful conclusions. If any source of information does not provide consistent support, you need to make a sound judgment and provide conclusions that make sense within the context of the study. This section provides insight to the information you learned; answers to your basic research questions; and offers the pathway to make informed decisions about the problem or opportunity. It is important to remember to use citations for direct and indirect quotations when you use or paraphrase an author’s words or ideas. Recommendations In this section you describe the implications of the answers to the basic research questions to leaders in organizations. As appropriate, specific steps to address the research issue, problem and/or opportunity are outlined; include expected outcomes or results anticipated by implementation of the action plan. OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 10 REFERENCES A References page provides APA style references cited in the research report. APA style dictates that the references are listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name. (See http://www.chapman.edu/library/guides/3apa.htm) GENERAL In general, your paper should meet the following guidelines. The final paper and project: 1. Is written at an appropriate level for a graduating senior. 2. Is useful to the field of organizational leadership. 2. Is written in a style that is clear and flowing, including transition paragraphs from section to section. 3. Is written in APA style. 4. Effectively meets the research objectives stated in the Introduction. 5. Demonstrates your mastery of the material and research technique. BRANDMAN RESOURCES TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT The Chapman Library website provides research tips: Boolean Searching Evaluating Web Pages Journals versus Magazines Library Research Strategy Primary versus Secondary Sources APA Style Guide http://www.chapman.edu/library/reference OL 486 – 487 Writing Guides 11 APPENDIX A: SAMPLE TITLE PAGE A RESEARCH STUDY TO DETERMINE THE EFFECT OF A SUPERVISOR’S LEADERSHIP STYLE ON THE PERCEIVED JOB SATISFACTION OF WORKERS by
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