Exploring How Terrorism affects Foreign Investors in an Emerging Economy: A Case Study of Nigerian Business Executive
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Preliminary Proposal Paper
The Preliminary Proposal Paper (PPP) is your first serious effort to establish the aims and significance of your dissertation research. This 15-20-page paper will discuss the background of your topic, the gap and problem you have identified and will study, the purpose of your study, your research question(s), and how you plan on answering your research question – known as the methodology. This guide provides a wealth of knowledge on how to get started, expectations around the PPP, the content that is expected within the PPP, and how to format it. Please note that sometimes this paper may be called a “Concept Paper” or “Idea Paper” – which all refer to the same thing – it is your first major effort that describes your dissertation research project. It is the first Milestone in the DBA Program. Once you’ve written your PPP, you will submit it to the Dean of the DBA Program for review. S/he will schedule an appointment with you for a formal Oral Defense of your PPP. If the Dean does not approve it, you will be required to make revisions and resubmit it. Once your PPP meets all requirements and receives the Dean’s approval, you will use this paper to solicit a Dissertation Chair. The PPP will be CRITICAL to that process as prospective Dissertation Chairs will use it as their primary basis for deciding about whether to take on the role of your Dissertation Chair. It will also be used later in the dissertation process as you solicit Dissertation Committee members.
What should be included?
Here is an outline and structure of the Preliminary Proposal Paper. PPPs are to be written in APA format, Times New Roman, 12-point font, with 1” margins all around. APA also requires double-spaced, left-justified content. Do not fully justify your text. The following pages also go into detail on each of these sections.
III. Introduction and Background of the Topic
IV. Problem Statement
V. Purpose, Aims, and Rationale of the Study
VI. Research Questions
VII. Brief Review of the Literature
VIII. Methodology and Approach
IX. Significance and Implications
X. Work Plan and Timeline
Now that you have an idea of the different sections that I will require in your preliminary proposal, the next section provides much more detail in terms of what to include in my proposal. Detailed Description of Preliminary Proposal Paper (PPP) Contents I. Cover/Title Page. The cover page includes the title of my study (which may change along the dissertation journey). I will be required to submit my PPP through the Turnitin plagiarism detection system before submitting it (along with the Turnitin report) to the Dean of DBA Programs. See the example for details on how to format your cover page and remaining sections. 1 page. II. Abstract. The abstract should be written AFTER I complete the rest of the sections, and should be a clear, concise, and accurate summary of preliminary proposal. It should discuss my topic, my problem statement, my rationale and evidence for the problem, my research question(s), and briefly describe my methodology. 1 page III. Introduction and Background of the topic. The first main section of my content starts here with the introduction and background of my chosen topic. I should present enough information here to describe the general context, setting, and topic. Since this is a DBA program, I must ensure that my topic is grounded and relates to the world of Business. Quality Systems Management (QSM) students must also ensure that their topic is firmly rooted in quality systems and has a quality focus to it. The school will not approve topics that are outside the scope of business (such as too much focus on education or government). In this section, I will provide a brief analysis of existing literature that pertains to my topic. For example, if you’re studying business analytics or data science, then I should
provide a brief background of the topic – what it is, its context, and set the stage for my overall dissertation work. Plan on 3 to 4 pages to provide a background on the topic. IV. Problem Statement. In this section, I will discuss the problem I identified and which I will focus my entire dissertation research on addressing this problem in some way. My problem statement and problem must be very clear, concise, and highly focused on some aspect of my topic. The problem statement itself is typically anywhere from a few sentences, supported by strong evidence from the literature that the problem is worthwhile for dissertation research. This is, perhaps, the most important component of starting off my research on the right foot – is understanding exactly what problem I am trying to address. The problem statement should be followed by a discussion of the scope and nature of the study. I must make sure to answer these questions in narrative form, as my DBA Program Chair and my Dissertation Chair will be looking at this closely. What is the problem I am studying? Did I clearly and concisely state the problem? Have I provided enough analysis and evidence to justify why this problem should be studied and it is worthy of dissertation research? How has the problem evolved or developed, and what are the issues that led to the problem to begin with? How will my research findings address this problem? The key in this section is to provide supporting evidence and documentation (through references and citations) that there is a need for this research. Even though I may care about this topic and problem, it is not enough. That is, I will need to demonstrate, justify, and provide enough evidence that a wider group of people care about the problem I am studying. Remember, this section must be clear, concise, and to-the-point. Furthermore, my job will be to justify and provide evidence that the problem is worth studying. Justification is done by providing supporting evidence from multiple sources. The first paragraph should be a very clear and concise statement of the problem. A problem statement can be formatted this way: The statement of the problem is a series of statements that consists of four major components: the principal, interacting, and speculative propositions and the explicative statement (Jacobs, 2011). The first sentence is the principal proposition that makes a statement of fact with supporting citations. The second sentence makes an evidence-based statement of fact that contradicts the principal proposition. This interacting proposition begins with words that signal exception to the principal proposition (such as however, but, and although). Be sure to include at least one citation. The third sentence in the problem statement is the speculative proposition and indicates why it is important to resolve the contradiction. The explicative proposition indicates the purpose of the study which is how the contradiction will be resolved by this research.) [Reference: Jacobs, R. L. (2011). Developing a research problem and purpose statement. In T. S. Rocco & T. Hatcher (Eds.), The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing (pp. 125-141). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.] You may want to refer to other authors that address how to write a statement of the problem. The overall length of this section can vary, but for the PPP, you should plan on anywhere around 1 to 3 paragraphs. I may end up expanding it in my Chapter One once I get to that Milestone. V. Purpose, Aims, and Rationale of the Study. The purpose of the study indicates the reason for conducting the study. The purpose of this study is to understand / explore / compare / xxx. I will use the same wording of the purpose throughout the dissertation. That is, I should not change or vary how the purpose of the study is stated throughout the dissertation. Further reasons or purpose for the study is to fill a gap in previous knowledge, research, or practice. Since my DBA is an applied degree and we use a scholar-practitioner approach here at my school, I should focus my purpose and rationale on the applied aspects of my research. I can expect to spend 1 to 2 pages on my purpose, aims, and rationale. VI. Research Questions. This section should provide a view of the questions I plan on investigating through my research. These questions must be based on a thorough review of past research, theory, and need. The research questions must be open or unanswered questions from the body of knowledge. Quite often, there is a gap in our understanding or gap in the literature about some phenomenon that I plan on studying. My research question(s) must be specific and answerable. The research questions that I develop should be derived directly from the background and problem statement I established in prior sections. Each of these sections should be very closely aligned. The research questions (RQs) that I propose will form the foundation of everything I do in my study. The RQs will also dictate the type of study that I conduct and how I will conduct my study (i.e., my methodology – either quantitative or qualitative). I can find a lot of opportunities for research questions by reading other dissertations and peer reviewed articles. I should look for “Future Work”, or “Future Research” or discussions that share some possibilities for future research that needs to be conducted. Each dissertation often has some section that discusses future work, and these can give a lot of ideas. RQs must be firmly rooted in Business and, for the DBA QSM program, the research questions should have a focus on some aspect of quality systems management, or a focus on applying concepts, principles, and theories from the QSM body of knowledge. This section is typically short, as research questions can be written in bulleted format, followed by an explanation. Most dissertations have only one page committed to this. VII. Brief Review of the Literature. This section should provide a preliminary and brief review of the major literature that supports my topic. The section offers you the opportunity to analyze, synthesize, and summarize existing literature on your topic and provides the context of the problem you are studying. The literature review is not simply a repeat of existing and previous literature. Do not use quoted material, and instead use paraphrasing. My role is to analyze and evaluate the existing literature, the context of my topic, and how it relates to my own study. I must incorporate my own analysis and synthesis of the information, as it pertains to my own study (my own research questions, purpose/goals for my study, etc). The review of the literature in my PPP must provide enough details and documentation of previous research to substantiate the need for further research. My literature review includes a significant amount of material that is not my own. As such, any material that is not original in nature should be accompanied by a reference to its source. I should include citations to high-quality (recent, relevant, appropriate, substantive) articles that relate to my topic. I can expect to spend 5 to 6 pages on my brief literature review, which will be significantly expanded when I write Chapter 3. VIII. Methodology & Worldview. This section discusses exactly how I plan on conducting my research in order to answer my research question. Thus, my methodology is based, in large part, on what my research questions are. my research questions will dictate what type of methodology use. Certain types of research questions lend themselves to certain methodologies. This section represents the specific series of steps and logic on what I plan on doing in order to solve my research problem and answer my research questions. Describe my overall philosophical worldview and theoretical background. The worldview is the set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of how we create knowledge, often called epistemology. For example, my worldview may be positivist, post-positivist, constructivist, pragmatist, and others. I will need to understand which worldview (or “lens”) through which you will conduct my research. Typically, quantitative studies are derived from a positivist worldview, while qualitative studies are derived from constructivist worldview. I research design will be largely based and be derived from whichever worldview I select. There are also various strategies of inquiry, from ethnography (used in qualitative studies), experiments and surveys (used in quantitative studies), and mixed-methods strategies. Note that NECB will not support mixed-methods studies and will strongly urge students to follow a quantitative methodology or case study methodology. I need to consider what the most appropriate type of research approach would be to answer my research question. A few options are as follows: – A non-experimental, correlational study that seeks to uncover relationships between variables (i.e., quantitative, in which a survey or secondary data would be used) – A case study that seeks to discover in-depth knowledge about a specific organization Expect to spend two to four pages discussing methodology. IX. Significance and Implications in this section, explain the relative contribution and value my study has to organizational leaders, researchers, and practitioners. In narrative form, I will be sure to address each of the following questions: • Why is the study important? • Who cares about this study? • Who is likely to be the audience most interested in this study? • How does my research contribute to the body of knowledge? • How will my research study address xxx problem? This section answers the “so what” question. Expect to spend approximately one page writing my significance and implications section. X. Work Plan and timeline. Establish a preliminary work plan and timeline for accomplishing my goal. It is helpful to view my dissertation work as a significant project, using the dissertation “Arrow” as a guide. I must carefully consider how much time I will need to invest my time in working on this dissertation, in order to finish in a timely manner. I plan to set aside quiet time and space in order to work on my dissertation and ensure I am free from distractions? I had planned on working on my dissertation, based on my other commitments. A bulleted list or 1-2 paragraphs is more than enough for this section. XI. Conclusion: Provide a clear and concise, one to two paragraph summaries of my proposed study. XII. References: Provide a listing of all the references I used within this preliminary proposal paper. The references should be in APA format (6th edition at the time of publication). The number of pages varies, but for a preliminary proposal paper, here are some estimates. Note these are double-spaced, APA formatted pages: Section Approximate # of Pages or Paragraphs Cover Page 1 page Abstract 1 page Introduction, Background & Context 3-4 pages Problem Statement 1-3 paragraphs Purpose, Aims, and Rationale 1-2 pages Research Questions 1 page Brief Review of the Literature 5-6 pages Methodology and Approach 2-4 pages Significance and Implications 1 page Work Plan and Timeline 1-2 paragraphs or bullet points Conclusion 1-2 paragraphs, then References. Ultimately you should have somewhere between 15-20 pages, total