MS611 PROJECT PLANNING AND WRITING GUIDE
All graduate students are required to pass a Comprehensive Exam or complete a project. This is
the culminating academic endeavor of students who earn a MBA or MSCIS degree from
********. The project provides students with the opportunity to explore a problem and to
address that problem through focused study and applied research under the direction of a faculty
member. The project should demonstrate the student’s ability to synthesize and apply the
knowledge and skills acquired in his/her academic program to real-world issues and problems. It
should affirm students’ ability to think critically and creatively, to solve practical problems, to
make reasoned and ethical decisions, and to communicate effectively. This guide provides the
student and instructor an overview of the general process. Your project instructor will be
directing your project and be able to answer specific questions that you have that may not be
addressed in the guidelines presented.
• To provide students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in
their courses to a specific problem or issue.
• To encourage students to think critically and creatively about academic, professional, or
social issues and to further develop their analytical and ethical leadership skills necessary
to address and help solve these issues.
• To provide students with the opportunity to refine research skills and demonstrate their
proficiency in written and/or oral communication skills.
• To have students demonstrate their achievement of the ************** outcomes and their
ability to extend and refine this knowledge and skill in the realization of their personal
and professional goals.
A well-developed project should (1) examine a significant question or set of questions, (2) focus
on a specialized topic, (3) draw upon sound methodological principles, (4) provide the current
state of knowledge from the existing literature on the subject matter, and (5) present compelling
findings based on rich analyses of the data utilized to answer the research question(s). The
expectation is that the project will be well written and follow the current APA formatting
guidelines. The paper should be of sufficient quality to be potentially submitted for publication
in a peer-reviewed journal. Projects not meeting the quality and formatting expectations
described below will not earn a passing grade.
Writing should be clear and organized, with a logical flow from one topic to the next.
Sentence structure should follow standard rules of grammar and punctuation.
Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, a body, and a conclusion.
Transitions between paragraphs should be fluid.
Use spell checker to help avoid spelling errors; however, this is not a substitute for
Use past and present tense, where appropriate (e.g., Use past tense when reporting what
you did, “I surveyed the participants…” and discussing your results, “The analysis of the
data showed…” Use present tense when stating well established facts, “The U.S.
economy is the largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP.”). Do not use future tense.
Instructional resources for the project course are available in Moodle (INSERT MOODLE LINK
HERE). The resources include lectures, templates, grading rubric, as well as links to internet-
based resources for students.
Technical Requirements for the Projects
1. Students should select a research project in an area of particular interest, e.g., business,
human resources, marketing, finance, production, information systems, etc.
2. Projects must be written in English on standard business letter size (8.5” x 11”) using
Microsoft Word, double-spaced, following APA guidelines. The Publication Manual of
the American Psychological Association (6th ed., 2010) and the APA Style website
(http://www.apastyle.org/) provide a comprehensive reference guide to writing using
3. Proposals must be submitted for approval of the instructor not later than one (1) week
from the start of the class. This two-page proposal document should identify the main
issues that you have chosen to address and justifies the importance – the “why” of your
project. It should clarify the problem, or “opportunity”, and explain the relevance, to your
education at **********, of addressing this problem or opportunity. It should state your
targeted outcomes for this project and provide an overview of your planned approach to
reaching your stated objectives.
4. The instructor shall review the project proposals submitted by the students and advise its
approval/disapproval within seven (7) days upon its receipt. If the proposal is not
approved by the instructor, reason(s) for said denial shall be so advised to the student.
The student shall then be given another week to write and submit a new project proposal.
If the proposal is approved, the student may proceed with the research as indicated in the
proposal. Any substantial change in content or approach in the student’s approved project
must be immediately reported to the instructor for clearance.
5. Students who complete the approved research project should write their final project
paper to the instructor according to the designated date of submission. The final project
paper, with a minimum of 20 pages, shall be subject to evaluation and approval of the
6. Your project should include a table of contents and a list of tables and figures. It may also
include copyright information, a dedication, and acknowledgements. Your abstract
should contain at least your research topic, research questions, methods, results, and
conclusions. If one or more appendices are used in your paper, they should be included
after the reference page(s). Order of pages should be as follows: Title Page, Dedication
(optional), Acknowledgements (optional), Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of
Figures, Abstract, Body, References, and Appendices.
7. Regardless of the topic or methodology, the main body of the project paper should follow
the five-chapter approach. The five chapters are:
II. Literature Review
IV. Analysis and Discussion of Results
V. Summary and Conclusions
Each chapter of the project should begin on a new page. A brief discussion of each of the
Chapter 1 tells the reader what your study/project is about and why it is important. It also
provides general information about the study/project which the reader might need to know. It
should include an introduction, background specific to the problem, a statement of the problem,
rationale, research questions, nature and importance of the study, definition of terms, and
assumptions and limitations.
Chapter 2 includes the literature review. Before conducting your own project, you need to
thoroughly understand your field and what has already been attempted and accomplished by
others. This chapter is intended to review and synthesize the information you have found in the
process of researching what others have already accomplished. It may provide the foundation for
building knowledge, provide a conceptual framework for the study, provide support for the
methodology you choose, and/or provide support for possible interpretations of the results found
in your study.
Chapter 3 details the method used to conduct your study. After reviewing this section, the
reader should be able to conduct the exact same research with no further information than what
you provide here. Note that if there is more than one research question, then each question must
be addressed individually even if the method for research is identical.
Chapter 4 presents the results of your project. Depending on the type of research conducted, this
may be a relatively long chapter. In this chapter tables and/or figures must be used to assist in
An analysis of the data and an analysis of the significance of the data related to
each research question should be included as part of this discussion. It should be written in a way
that demonstrates your ability to think critically and to apply what you have learned to solve
business-related problems. Additionally, you may include suggestions for further study. You
may gain ideas for further study based on questions that came up during your project, topics that
you did not have time to pursue but are related, answers that came up that you were not
8. Completed project should be submitted for grading by the required due date. Late
submissions will be subject to point reduction.
9. The criteria to be used in evaluating the final project paper shall be as follows:
a) Suitability of Title to Program
b) Overall Relevance of the Topic
c) Content and Presentation of Data
d) Scope and Extent of Academic Contribution
Students must earn at least a grade of “B” for the student project in order to pass the course
satisfactorily. The grading rubric is provided in Appendix A.
10. Students will create and conduct a brief presentation of their project findings in a
maximum of 15 PowerPoint slides. Presentations will be conducted on the last day of the
class. Students should create and deliver their presentations as if they were managers of
their divisions/departments, giving reports to a meeting of the board of directors.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines plagiarism as representing “portions of
another’s work or data s [your] own, even if the other work or data source is cited occasionally”
(http://www.apa.org/ethics/code2002.htm1#8_11). Candidates may be guilty of plagiarism for:
• Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes
attributing the words to their source.
• Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging
• Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
• Internet plagiarism includes paraphrasing or copying information from the Internet
without citing the source and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper
The penalty for plagiarism is an “F” for the course and it is ground for academic dismissal.
Students should use the APA Style for citing and referencing other people’s work to avoid being
accused of plagiarism.