Business Project Guidelines

Honors students in the College of Business are expected to complete a thesis in their senior year under the direction of an Honors advisor and two other thesis committee members. The student will enroll in HO 401 and HO 402 (which may be taken in the Fall and Spring or Spring and the following Fall). In the first semester of thesis work, the student will conduct a literature review, present a research design at the Honors poster session, and produce a proposal. In the second semester, data are collected, analyzed and results are written up. Upon completion of the thesis, the student will present his/her work at the Honors Research Symposium. (See the rubrics for the oral presentation and written thesis for evaluative criteria.)

The business honors student is expected to conduct original research in a manner consistent with the research in his/her field of interest. This may include qualitative, quantitative, historical, experimental, or critical analyses. Primary data are not required, but if human subjects are involved, data collection must conform to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures established in MUW Policy Statement #3503. Enough time must be built into the schedule to allow for review and approval of the research design, measures, and procedures.

Ideally, the completed thesis will be of publishable quality and/or suitable for presentation at a conference in a business-related field. (Many conferences have tracks for student-authored papers and the average length of these is 15 pages.) Faculty members are to provide guidance with this goal in mind. There may be an opportunity before or after the final MUW presentation to submit the paper for external review and possible publication.

The proposal drafted in the first semester of thesis work will include a title page, a clearly defined research question, a literature review, hypotheses (where appropriate), a proposed methodology, and references to date. This should be five pages minimum in length. The final thesis will include a refined first half of the paper plus an abstract, a completed methods section, data analysis, discussion, results, and references. No particular style manual is required. The student will use what is the norm for the proposed publication outlet. (Formatting instructions for submission to business journals and conferences are readily available.) Typically 12 point type and double spacing with 1" margins are used.

An honors thesis should be 15 or more pages in length with a minimum of 10 references cited. A majority of the references should be from peer-reviewed business journals and infrequently from popular business periodicals. Again an abstract, tables, charts, the body of the paper and references should be formatted in a style consistent with major business journals. Appendices are to be used when necessary to include additional, relevant information.