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BUAL 5650/6650/6656

 

Project Guidelines

 

Pretend that you have an opportunity to apply for money to do a big data project. If

 

successful you will be given enough money to get data and to get access to appropriate analysis

 

methods. The winning project will probably be one that is most likely to benefit the most

 

people. There are no limits on the types of projects that may be proposed. Any area (e.g.,

 

healthcare, organizational performance, disaster relief) may be used.

 

The first step in the process (this assignment) is doing a preliminary proposal. This

 

means that you have a well thought out idea but that you haven’t done the pre-research that is

 

required of a major proposal

 

In the sections below I outline the major elements of the preliminary proposal.

 

Executive Summary:

 

A good summary should state the question, its importance, and any major expected

 

benefits that the research will provide. Benefits include things such as a better understanding of

 

a customer base, indications of chronic disease, increased market share, cost reduction, etc. This

 

should be between 100 and 150 words.

 

Introduction:

 

This section should provide the background to the general problem (e.g., “Sales in

 

Auburn, Alabama have been decreasing steadily since the last quarter of 2012. A better

 

understanding of the characteristics of our customers will provide the organization with an

 

opportunity to better market our product in this area.”)

 

The trick with the introduction is to give the reader enough information to keep them

 

interested. The best way to accomplish this is with direct, supported statements (which you will

 

later detail) that indicate the problem and its importance. You need to supply the history of the

 

perceived problem or opportunity, indicate the symptoms of the problem or opportunity, and

 

introduce the main points that support your position.

 

A typical organization for an introduction might be:

General statement of problem area or opportunity

Purpose of the study – what are the expected benefits of conducting the study?

Justification of the research (importance and necessity)

What are the primary areas of focus in the study?

 

The introduction should not exceed one full page.

 

2

 

Research Development

 

This is the section in which you go into detail about the factors in and outside of the

 

organization that serve as the foundation to support the research question. Potential questions

 

are: What was found previously about this issue if anything? What indications in the

 

organization led to your idea? What have you done to look deeper into the problem? What

 

major areas do you intend to address (e.g., keywords in a social media search, personal

 

characteristics of customers, weather issues and their impact on disaster relief, the spread of

 

disease, etc.).

 

This section should be no more than two full pages.

 

Methodology:

 

This is a critical section as it informs the reader how you intend to answer the question or

 

questions you have just defended. Each type of research project has weaknesses as well as

 

strengths; it is important to point out what these are in terms of your proposal. Be sure to

 

indicate how data will be collected (e.g., exists in data warehouse, supplemented with survey,

 

etc.) and analyzed, as well as how the subjects and/or data will be selected. Be sure that your

 

proposed methodology for data collection and analysis are in alignment with the analytic

 

technique. For example, don’t propose to use linear regression with categorical outcome data.

 

This section will vary according to the proposed project, but I expect it to be somewhere

 

between one half and one full page.

 

Conclusion:

 

This is the section in which you have the last chance to convince the reader of the

 

worthiness of the project and whether it is feasible. Present an anticipated timeline for

 

completion. Conclude by briefly restating the importance of the research question or questions

 

and the contribution that this research is expected to make to the organization. Short and sweet!

 

FORMATTING and WRITING STYLE:

 

12 point font, 1 inch margins

 

Write in the first person (I will, etc.).

 

Be very careful that your spelling and grammar are correct.

 

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