Identify a Research Question

Step 1: Identify a Research Question

Once you’ve reviewed your instructor’s feedback on your Organization Analysis Proposal, develop a specific question to drive your research. This question will help you maintain your focus throughout the entire project. A good research question becomes the basis for a strong thesis statement. Your thesis statement will be the answer to your research question.

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In developing your research question, use the following template:

How does [organization]’s [element of management] drive superior (or inferior) performance? 

For example, “How does Zappos’ organizational culture drive superior performance?” or “How has Sears’ failure to foster innovation led to its downfall?

In addition, since your presentation involves making a recommendation, you also have a secondary research question:

How could [organization] improve its [element of management]?

For example, “How could Sears improve its management of innovation?”

Step 2: Research

Finding good research is like buying jeans. Sometimes you get lucky and the first pair you try on fits perfectly. Other times, you have to try several different styles and sizes to figure out what you like and works best for you. Research is the same. Sometimes you find a great source in your first search, but more often, the research process helps you understand and clarify your thinking about your topic. Once you understand what support your argument needs, you’ll be better able to identify which sources work best for your presentation.

Review the “Research Methods” section of Organization Analysis Guidelines for more information about research requirements for your presentation and resources available to you. WARNING: (Links to an external site.) is not a credible source (e.g., what evidence do you have of the author’s or organization’s credibility?).The Wall Street Journal database, on the other hand, is a valuable source of information for your analysis!

Deliverable for This Assignment

Create an annotated bibliography (Links to an external site.) for your Organization Analysis by following these steps:

  1. State your research question(s) (see Step 1 above) at the top of your bibliography.
  2. Find at least three information sources (articles, interviews, etc.) that help answer your research question(s). Compile the following information for each source:
    • Create an APA citation.
    • Explain why the source could be useful in your presentation—e.g., “This source describes how Company X shifted from functional departmentalization to customer departmentalization to serve the needs of its customers more effectively.” To be useful, the source should include evidence related to part 3 of your proposal.

If working on a team, each team member should find at least three information sources. Clearly identify which team member contributed each information source. The easiest way to accomplish this is to group the information sources under the appropriate team member’s name.

Before you submit your annotated bibliography, take a step back an assess whether enough information is available to support your topic. If not, you may need to submit a revised Organization Analysis Proposal. Also, consider this assignment a “first draft” of the “References” section of your presentation; it’s not set in stone. As you proceed through each step of the project, continue to reassess your research needs.

Next Steps

Next week, you’ll create an outline for your presentation.

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