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What Is Research

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The exams test your comprehension of the theoretical material. The case reports test your ability to apply the theory to a real life situation that is presented to you in a ready made form. In the case of case reports, the data for the real life situation are collected by someone else and come to you in a very stylized form, which makes it easy for you to identify problems and issues. The group project takes it one step further. Now you have the theory and you are expected to apply it to a real life situation, but the real life situation does not come ready made as it does in cases. Accordingly your task in the group project is to create your own "case". This means doing research and collecting data, just like the authors of the cases that we have studied during the semester did while they were writing those cases.

Conducting Research

Research means finding out specific facts, figures and numbers to support well-reasoned positions built on the analytical frameworks we will cover in class. The library has a myriad of online resources that you can use for your research. Some of the databases you can (and should) use are "ABI/INFORM Complete", "Business and Company Resource Center", "Lexis Nexis Academic", "Mergent Online" and "Standard and Poor's NetAdvantage". You can find links to these databases from the course's blackboard site. These are just examples; you are certainly not restricted to these databases. Consult the reference librarian if you are unfamiliar with these resources. You should attempt to locate articles on your firm/industry that go back several years rather than focus exclusively on the most recent ones. Begin with magazine articles that provide general background information before you consult newspapers that deal with specific recent events. Business or trade publications and company documents filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (such as 10-Ks for public companies, or S1 documents that each company has to file when they go public) will provide you with more information (see I also encourage you to search for information on the Internet, but please do so wisely. You should be aware that the information that is posted on the Internet varies widely in terms of its validity and quality. The sources that you cite on the Internet should have legitimacy. For example a website with a .org (i.e. organization) or .gov (i.e. government) extension has a lot more credibility than a site with a .com (commercial) extension. Anybody can put any information on the web. Not all websites are credible. Make sure that you go to the official company website and search it thoroughly.

Student reports have a tendency to be vague, offering fluffy statements with no support, such as: "There is a trend toward increasing



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