Team Research Project

by Dr. Phylicia G. Taylor, Florida A&M University

Keywords: Team, Research, Graduate

The following project is used for a graduate-level Organizational Behavior course to give first-semester graduate students an introduction to writing and research. The assignment is a team project and is scaffolded over the semester to give students feedback and have dedicated time to work with their team to submit a high-quality paper at the end of the semester.

All three document files are shown below with the titles linked to the downloads. Alternatively, you can download the four files that make up the research project here:

Team Research Paper Instructions

Each Team will be writing a research paper, the purpose of which is to allow you to learn more about a topic in Organizational Theory and Organizational Behavior and enable you to exercise your skills in research writing. Writing is not only an essential means of communication but a superb learning tool as well, allowing you to develop your thoughts logically and come to grips with what you do and do not understand.

Teams can loosely model the final paper after the sample papers provided on Canvas but do not copy or use the same topics, sources, etc. as the sample papers. The class schedule provides due dates for the paper deliverables. The research paper is broken into stages with the final paper due at the end of the semester, See Canvas for due date and keep in mind that no late assignments will be accepted (team will receive a zero). The paper is worth 150 points and should be 20-25 pages in length (excluding cover page, references, tables, and figures) on a subject area within Organizational Behavior.

Teams should review a concept thoroughly, backing it by relevant literature, identifying the gaps in understanding, and suggesting data collection that could bridge these gaps. Teams may use a combination of primary research papers, reviews, newspapers, and other sources. Still, each team must include at least 5 primary research (empirical) papers published before 2000 and 5 published in the last ten years. Inclusion of materials from popular magazines, newspapers, or other web sources are acceptable but do not count toward the article requirement. Each team will be required to provide the articles and web sources used in the paper, so keep this in mind when the writing and researching.

Academic honesty is imperative, plagiarized papers will receive a zero, and you will fail the course! Although Teams may assign individuals portions of the paper, the submission is a team submission and reflects on everyone. If one person plagiarizes it will negatively impact all of you! The paper should not resemble anyone else's writing for this or any other class and should not be similar to a paper prepared for another course. Avoid close paraphrasing as much as possible and properly document all statements obtained from published sources. Departing from the length, format, supplementary materials, and referencing style requested will result in a penalty.

Some suggestions for journals include Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, Organization Science, Journal of International Management, Management Science, Journal of Small Business Management, Organizational Research Methods, Strategic Organization, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, Journal of Business Ethics. Utilize the online databases provided by FAMU Libraries and Google Scholar to aid in the search. Teams may find journals with relevant articles that are not listed above; if unsure if it will count towards the article requirement, please let me know.

Grades are determined based on accuracy, style, creativity, and following the assignment guidelines/rubric. Although writing ability is not the primary focus of this course, the ability to communicate is essential to success in business. Utilize proper spelling and grammar and use resources like Grammarly to aid in the writing process. The team may want to have someone read the paper before turning it in. The final paper should make sense to anyone, especially someone with a senior-level knowledge of Organizational Theory and Organizational Behavior. The tone of writing should be professional and should not include slang or text jargon.

This Research Project Will Consist Of The Following:

  1. Choosing a relevant topic
  2. Research paper outline, model, and propositions
  3. Literature review
  4. Bibliography of relevant academic journal and popular press articles about topic
  5. Final research paper

Research Paper Condensed Outline:

  1. Title (cover page)
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature Review including necessary sub-headings,
  5. Propositions and Research Model
  6. Implications
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Details (additional details on Canvas):

  1. APA Format
  2. Times New Roman, 12-point font, double spaced,
  3. 20-25 pages
    1. Cover page (not included in page count)
    1. Abstract (1 page, 500-word max, not included in page count)
    1. Introduction (1-3 pages)
    1. Literature Review (15-18 pages)
      1. Propositions and Research Model
    1. Conclusion (1-3 pages)
    1. References (not included in page count)

Research Paper, Articles, and any other supporting documentation will be submitted via Canvas, no email submissions will be accepted!

Research Paper Outline Template with Model and Propositions

Now is the time to start researching the topic area and narrowing down what the team wants to examine. Doing so will allow the team to refine the topic, select a title, and develop the outline, model, and propositions. Remember that this topic is of interest to the team! Thus, the research should be engaging to the future reader. What do you want them to know? Why do they need to know this? Why is this specific topic important and beneficial? How are you adding to the current body of literature that is already published? Consider these questions and others when working to refine the paper and develop the research. Remember to use Google Scholar to aid in the search, but do not do what has already been done! Get creative and innovative!

The following outline is merely a guide to creating the outline for the research paper, given the topic selected. Be as detailed as possible, as this will aid in the feedback I provide to the team. Late submissions will not receive feedback. Remember the team is working to earn the highest possible points on the final assignment. Therefore, put effort into the assignment as if this were a separate grade!

Review the MAN 5204 Research Project Guide to help understand the components of the research paper and for insight into developing the problem statement, model, literature review, etc. 

Step 1: Complete the fillable proposition document on Canvas

Below is a sample of a research paper’s propositions and model

Research Paper Sample Propositions

  • P1: There is a direct relationship between employee stress levels and employee      performance
  • P2: The practice of stress management positive impacts the relationship between   employee stress and employee performance

Research Paper Sample Model

Step 2: Review the Team Research Paper Template & Guide document on Canvas

  1. After you review the Team Research Paper Template & Guide document, answer the following questions:
    1. What questions do you all have after reviewing the document?
    1. What challenges do you all anticipate as you approach this research paper?
    1. How will the team assign work to each team member to complete the research paper?
    1. How will you all review each other’s work to ensure that what each team member submits is high quality?

Step 3: Answer the following for each section of the paper listed below

  1. Introduction
    1. Overview of the topic
      1. What is the topic?
    1. Provide definitions
      1. Indicate keywords and provided definitions that will be used in the paper will be defined
    1. What prompted this research, and why is it important (personal interest, world events, understudied, presenting a new idea, etc.)?
    1. Who is the research focused on, and why?
      1. This can mean a specific group of people (women, students, minorities), a particular industry (higher education, business, accounting, healthcare), a specific work environment (male-dominated), etc.
    1. The purpose of the research
      1. Reference Team Research Paper Template & Guide for further details
    1. The problem statement
      1. Reference Team Research Paper Template & Guide for further details
  2. Literature Review
    1. What theories will be used to support your model and propositions?
      1. Select 2-3 theories that are relevant to your research.
      1. Please explain in 1-2 paragraphs why the team has selected each theory and how it supports the model and propositions.
      1. Support your explanations with citations from academic sources.
    1. What are the areas of interest?
      1. Can be grouped by subheadings or by propositions (see Team Research Paper Template & Guide and sample papers on Canvas)
  3. References
    1. Make sure that you save all of your references as you work on the Literature Review Section to include in your final paper

Research Paper Template & Guide

Keep the Following in mind:

  • Do not wait until the last minute or the day the assignment is due to ask questions.
  • See Canvas for due date, no late assignments will be accepted (you will receive a zero).
  • The paper is worth 150 points.
  • 20-25 pages in length (excluding cover page, abstract, table of contents, references, tables, and figures).
  • Review the Research Paper Rubric so you know how your grade will be determined
  • Reference all of the instructions posted on Blackboard and in this guide to help as you write your paper.
  • This is a formal writing assignment.
  • Reference sample papers on Blackboard.
  • Review the policies regarding plagiarism and grammar in the syllabus.
  • Double check your formatting (layout, page numbers, table of contents, etc.)
  • Read your final paper a loud before submission!

Graduate school requires a different level of preparation, dedication, and determination. You all have to rise to a higher expectation to be successful in this course and in this program. You will be required to develop new and better habits and will be required to do things differently than you did in your undergraduate program.


(Remember, no more than 15 words!)

A research paper presented


Full Name


School of Business & Industry

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Business Administration

Florida A&M University

Tallahassee, Florida



Phylicia G. Taylor, Ph.D.


Here you will provide a 200-300-word description of your paper.  The body of the abstract will be in paragraph format and should include roughly a sentence per each prompt:

  1. State the problem.
  2. Why are you conducting this study?
  3. Significance and context.
  4. Research Question (RQ)
  5. Theories used.
  6. Implications

Keywords: Keyword 1, Keyword 2, Keyword 3, Keyword 4, Keyword 5




I           INTRODUCTION ………………………………..…………………………..... xx

Subheading A ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

Subheading B ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

Subheading C ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

II         LITERATURE REVIEW.…………………………..………………………….. xx

Subheading A ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

Subheading B ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

Subheading C ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

III        IMPLICATIONS  …………………………………………………………….... xx

Subheading A ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

Subheading B ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

Subheading C ………………….…..………………..………………………...... xx

IV        CONCLUSION...…………………………...…………………….…………….. xx

REFERENCES ……...……….……………………………………………….………………... xx


Problem Statement

Here you open with key information that the reader must know to understand your research project. This may include a brief narrative hook to engage the reader and inspire them to find out more about your research.  This will transition to the specific problem you intend to study. One way to toss this around is ask yourself, what “hangs in the balance” if you do not do this research? Or specifically, “if I do not do this project, ____ will fail.” Look at your work as a crisis intervention. What are you repairing or restoring and how will it affect our larger society?

Purpose/Intervention Statement

Get to the PRACTICE of what this research project will DO!  Specifically state the purpose of your research in one sentence. Example I: The purpose of this research is to gain insight into special education teachers' perspectives of the RtI model being implemented at North High School. Example II: The purpose of this research is to understand the experience of African- American females in graduate student leadership positions at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs).

Use the following template to explicate further: “The purpose of this general qualitative study will be to _______________________ (understand, describe, discover, examine) the _____________________________ (central phenomenon of the study) for ____________________________ (the participants) at ____________________ (a potential research site). At this stage in the research, the _______________________________ (central phenomenon/problem/concept) will be generally defined as __________________________ (provide a general definition of the central concept).  Knowledge generated is expected to inform __________________________ (who/what industry/management/leadership).”


Provide evidence from the literature that demonstrates knowledge of prior studies on your topic.  The following prompts may be helpful in drafting information for this section:

  • Why does this issue matter?
  • Who else cares about this?
  • What research is available regarding this topic?
  • How does this project build upon work (theoretical and practical) that has already been done?
  • What evidence is missing in the literature and/or the context where you will be conducting your research?

Deficiencies in the evidence.  Identifies evidence that is missing in the literature and/or the context where you will be conducting your research.

Significance and Context

Discuss why your problem is important at the local, state and global level as well as individual, group, organization & societal implications (as applicable to your problem of practice.)  This must draw upon existing literature related to your topic and not simply your opinion or personal experience.  This statement should also address why this literature demonstrates that action or resolution of this problem might create change in your context.  You are a scholar-practitioner who is acting as a change agent—why is this research problem significant and how might the literature suggest your work be impactful towards change?  Please integrate your personal voice and experience when you discuss the importance of your problem within its context.  For example, if you are talking about high levels of teacher attrition at the school you teach, you would begin by talking about why this is important at your school (you wouldn’t necessarily have literature to back up your discussion about your context except school data that would give you the number of teachers leaving the school each year).  However, when you talk about teacher attrition rates and their impact beyond your school you would ground those in the literature you have reviewed.

Research Question

You should aim to have ONE research question (and it does not have to begin with “how”.)


This short section/paragraph provides a quick recap of the introduction and then moves to an overview of the entire document. 



The introductory paragraph should include the following:

  • A reiteration of your research topic, theory, and research question.
  • The section should include an articulation of literature themes that explicate your research problem and design for this project.  For example, say your research topic is “An phenomenological analysis of secondary school teachers who have experienced school violence.” Your RQ may be, “what narratives are present in the teachers who have experienced school violence?” and you may choose trauma theory as your anchor for this study.  Then your literature themes may be: history of school violence; adolescent trauma; wellness practices in school; teacher preparation for violence.
  • Additionally, within this section, you may highlight key scholars in the field relevant to your work.
  • Conclude this section transitional sentence for the next sections, i.e. your road map for this chapter.


            Here you provide a brief overview/introduction for the theory you have selected for the study.  This should include the names of key authors and/or texts, as well as a list of tenets of the theory.

Relevant Theories

Historical trajectory.

Seminal authors.

Explanation of tenets and key terms.

Contemporary scholars.


Application for this work.

Synthesis.  Be sure to include a concluding paragraph that synthesizes how the theory you’ve just discussed is appropriately aligned with the problem of practice, research questions, and future population this study can examine.

Model & Propositions

            Your theories should inform your model and the developed propositions you have. Provide the figure of your model and state what your propositions are. Providing your propositions here will guide you as you develop the remainder for the literature review. The themes should address the variables presented in your model and the relationships stated in your propositions.

Theme/Variable 1

Each theme should explore the following within their respective sections:

  • definition (e.g. what is school violence);
  • significance (global and domestic);
  • historical trajectory (how has this developed over time);
  • contemporary functions or applications (how has this been used in organizations, or specific settings);
  • key scholars who are well noted in the discussion of the theme (who have you found contributed to this topic/subject);
  • counterarguments or limitations of this theme (what is missing).

Be sure that when you are discussing various scholars within a theme that you are simply not writing their names, what study they did, and move on.  Do not simply list their work but make specific connections about why their work/scholarly contributions are significant for this project – especially noting where/when various authors disagree or not.  This could be a good way to transition between them.  In short, make sure to “put them in discussion” with one another.

Each theme should conclude with an explanation of how it supports your study.

Transitions 1+.  Provide at the end of each subsection a transition paragraph that links the key points of the section you just presented to what you are about to present next. (Think of building a Lego tower)

Theme/Variable 2

            See theme/variable 1.

Proposition 1

Restate the first proposition.

Here you will focus on explaining the relationship between variables 1 and 2. There should be an in-depth integration of how these two variables are interrelated, while providing support with current published literature. Remember that your research should help you explain to the reader why this relationship is relevant and how it works together to answer your research question. All information presented should be relevant to the proposition and justify the relationship in the proposition. If you’re your research is set in a specific context like, healthcare or accounting firms, you should also integrate how this relationship unfolds within that context.

Theme/Variable 3

            See theme/variable 1.

Proposition 2

            Restate the second proposition.

Here you will focus on explaining the relationship between variables 1, 2, and 3. There should be an in-depth integration of how these three variables are interrelated, while providing support with current published literature. Remember that your research should help you explain to the reader why this relationship is relevant and how it works together to answer your research question. All information presented should be relevant to the proposition and justify the relationship in the proposition. If you’re your research is set in a specific context like, healthcare or accounting firms, you should also integrate how this relationship unfolds within that context. When adding variables 3 into the research you want to explain how this variable impacts the relationship explained in proposition 1. Does it seem to have a positive effect or an adverse effect? Who does the relationship impact, why, and how? Is it the organization that benefits, the employees, society, etc.? The key is to have in-depth analysis to demonstrate that there is a thorough understanding of the relationship presented.

Synthesis of Literature

The conclusion of this literature review should take the time to synthesize the themes/variables you have presented.  Given all of the evidence you just provided, how does this literature shape your projects both as a researcher and as a practitioner?  What is the collective identity of these themes for these projects? These important responses address for your audience how your study will move forward.

Here are two examples that I’ve used often in creating and/or synthesizing these “conversations” (Graff & Birkenstein, 2009.)  Please consider incorporating them as they are useful:

Example A

  1.                     In discussion of X, one controversial issue has been__________. On the one hand, ________ argued _________. On the other hand, __________ contended________. Some researchers, such as________, have maintained _________.
    1. When it comes to the topic of ______, most of expert/scholars/researchers will readily agree that _______. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of __________. Whereas some are convinced that ___________, others maintain that ___________.

The final sentence of this section should read:  The following section will provide an articulation of the implications of this research project.


  • Reiteration of RQ and Themes/Theories
  • What do the themes reveal to us about the theory you selected?
    • How do these findings contribute to the literature?
    • How do they agree or disagree with the review of literature you provided?
  • Next research project
    • How does information from this project inform the next?
    • What was missing from this project?
  • Direct applications for project
    • How can it be applied in organizations and what type of organizations?
    • How is it beneficial to managers and employees?
    • Can this paper/project be used to inform policy changes? At the organizational, industry, state, national, international level?


This section should be one to two paragraphs and provides concluding statements about your research. It should do the following:

  • Summarize your research and why this is important
  • Restate the problem and how your study will seek to find a solution?
  • Identify any limitations to your research?
  • State what future research could examine related to this topic


USE APA FORMAT. Ensure that every citation in your paper is listed here and that every citation listed on the reference page is used in your paper.

Creswell, J. W.  (2009). Qualitative inquiry and research design, (2nd ed.), Thousand Oaks, CA:

SAGE Publications.

Creswell J.W. (2009) Research design qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches

(3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Fraenkel, J.R. and Wallen, N.E. (2007) How to design and evaluate research in education (7th

ed.), New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Glesne, C. (1999). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction (2nd ed.). New York, NY:

Graff, G. & Birkenstein, C. (2009).  They say, I say: The moves that matter in academic writing.

New York, NY: Norton and Company.

Gray, D.E. (2009). Doing research the real world way (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE


Machi, L.A. & McEvoy, B.T. (2009). The literature review. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Patton, M. Q. (2002) Qualitative research & evaluation methods. 3 ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Ridley, D. (2008). The literature review: A step-by-step guide for students. Thousand Oaks, CA:

Sage Publications.

Swales, J. & Feak, C. (2004). Academic writing for graduate students (2nd ed.)  Ann Arbor, MI:

University of Michigan Press.