For 23.10.17

Your mission is to find and outline an article discussed by relevant professionals surveying current issues in your field, to outline the article the better to identify your interest as discussed by others, highlight the major concepts, and thereby prepare to narrow your study to something you can research in the coming weeks for a term paper.

As we discussed in class, the research question you will develop out of this study satisfies four criteria:

  1. It must be interesting to you, and thereby be motivating and something you will want to own
  2. It must be of interest to relevant professionals, people you can identify, research, and ultimately join; otherwise, nobody cares
  3. It must feature a number of concepts, high-level issues that transcend any particular problem or firm, otherwise you have nothing to talk about outside of your firm
  4. It must be associated with a real world business problem, something firms are or are considering important enough to research and implement

For topics in business, one of the easiest ways to do this is to search for “current trends 2017 YourTopic xxx” where xxx stands for any of the major consulting firms or business journals that survey your field, such as PWC, KPMG, Deloittte, McKinsey, and often more narrowly, Harvard Business Review, Wharton, The Economist, etc. If you are working with NGOs or less general topics then look for specialised journals.

To do this you will need a sophisticated note-taking strategy, and I am recommending using the Outline View in MS WORD, where you can list the sub-heads, briefly describe what is going on each each, then sort by your preference leaving your chosen section on top and burying the rest, like this. The worksheet in MS WORD that we reviewed in class one 17.10.17 is designed to support this project. It includes reference to other methods you’ll need along the way, including the organisation of bibliographies using Mendeley, mind-mapping for brain-storming, definitions for exploring concepts, the formulation of a research question, and the use of the Talk/Write method for discussion and drafting.

I am offering you a templating system as research is a very complicated business, with many pieces contributing to the whole.

Outlining is designed to manage such complexity, and it is a powerful way of organising writing, and especially your term papers and BA thesis. Most importantly, an outline that allows you to expand and collapse sections, move things up and down, and associate styles with levels will help you concentrate on the structure of your problem and argument at one and the same time.

As this is likely different than what you’ve done and features a great deal of complexity with lots of different skills to master, you will want to learn how to model your project, organise your time efficiently, and build your research systematically over time. The result will surely result in an impressive term paper as well as skills for a lifetime.