Research Project Proposal Memo Requirements
The memo proposing your project to me should be at least 1.5 pages long and should be developed using standard business memo format. The body of the memo must contain four headings: Subject and Purpose, Scope, Research Methods, and Timeline. Under these headings develop a paragraph or two that includes the following:
Subject and Purpose – Clearly define the subject you wish to study and the reasons why studying it will be valuable to a particular audience. State specifically what you will be doing and what audience (primary and, if appropriate, secondary) is the target for the project. For example, say something like this: “I am going to write a report about the benefits of titanium widgets and propose that our company switch from stainless steel widgets to titanium widgets in all our company’s products. The primary audience for this project is the administration at our company. However, there is a secondary audience of consumers of widgets who could benefit from this knowledge.”
Scope – This section should explain what your study will include. In addition to telling me what you will cover in your project, you should also address the limitations of your study. For example, what issues will you be unable to address? You might say something like this: “The report will compare the features of titanium widgets, the costs of titanium widgets, and the availability of titanium widgets. The report will not cover the cost of retraining our employees to use titanium technology.”
Research Methods – Discuss how you intend to research and gather data about your topic. Are you going to read trade publications and journal articles? Which ones? Do library research? If so, which subtopics or key terms will you use to find information? Will you conduct interviews? How many? With whom? Where? When? Will you design and administer questionnaires? If so, to whom will you administer the questionnaires? What do you hope to find out? Will you send e-mails? Conduct interviews? Observe people on the job and record the results? Review company records? Conduct Internet searches? In other words, do some preliminary research so you can demonstrate that you have a clear idea about what you intend to do and how you intend to do it.
Timeline – Develop a schedule for completing the project by the deadline (use the syllabus as a guide for deadlines). The schedule should be broken down weekly, should include all weeks of this course (from now until end of term), and should list the activities you anticipate completing each week. The timeline should look similar to the one that follows, although yours will have many more weeks:
April 5 – 10 Conduct preliminary research. Select project topic.
Write and submit project memo
April 12 – 17 Continue secondary research. Review journal and news articles.
April 19 – 24 Request management permission to administer a questionnaire to customers
Design and produce questionnaire
Continue reviewing journal articles
The last entry in your timeline should be ‘Submit Project’ on the date the completed project is due. When developing a schedule, make sure you allow adequate time for researching, drafting, revising, editing, proofreading, and assembling the project.