Potential Topics and Reference Management System

For this three-part assignment, you will work on narrowing down a topic related to your degree and specialization. You will also begin to develop your search “toolbox” (refer to this week’s readings as a guide). In addition, you will identify resources and search engines—all intended to help you think about a topic you would like to research and how you can get started. This is in preparation for the next task: completing an exhaustive review of the literature. Remember, most of your resources should be contemporary, published within the last five years.

Part 1: Based on your observations and/or interests, look through journals in your field to help you choose 2 to 3 general potential topic areas to study. This does not mean that you should pick a specific area with a research question in mind. Instead, identify broad areas of interest from which you could derive a research topic after completing a literature review. For example, a broad topic might be leadership styles among various corporate CEOs and a specific research focus or question might be, what is the most effective leadership style for the type of industry the corporation is in? However, the literature needs to support the need for further inquiry into a topic vs. just basing it on your interests. In choosing your topics, be sure to keep in mind whether you are seeking a research degree (PhD) or a professional degree (DBA). The Doctor of The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program (NCU Catalog, n.d.) is designed for current and potential business leaders and senior managers, in the private and public sectors to enhance their knowledge and competencies appropriate to a leadership role in business administration. The DBA program is a research-based degree, but unlike the PhD, the DBA program is intended to engage the student in the application of theoretical knowledge to the advancement of practice in the field (solving complex problems) (Archibald, 2010; Corley & Giola 2011; Huba, Shubb & Shelley, 2006).

The outcome of the research is designed to provide valuable insights to an organization. Examples of an applied investigation may include a replication study, a case study, or a special project (such as, for example, the creation of a curriculum, training program, or educational artifact), followed by an evaluation. A doctoral project for a professional degree does not have to be an original contribution to the body of knowledge that impacts the theories in the field, but typically responds to a practical problem or proposed innovation (Archibald, 2010).

The DBA is increasingly recognized by international business and management schools as the most appropriate post-MBA (or equivalent master’s degree) route to combining academic research with management and business. The overall goal of the PhD dissertation is to identify a research worthy problem first. Then identify a gap in the existing scholarly literature (theory) of which he/or she may add or expand an original contribution. Whereas, the overall goal of the DBA dissertation is to identify a local/specific problem of which he/she may research and make a contribution within their business practice. Keep the differentiation in mind as you complete this part of the assignment. For this part of the assignment, write a 2- to 3-page paper that describes each of your general topics. Also, discuss the degree to which each potential topic is worthy of doctoral-level study in your specialization and degree type.

Part 2: Write a 1 page response identifying several search terms/key words you used to gather a number of scholarly resources for each potential topic area as well as potential resources and search engines you used to obtain scholarly sources. Keep in mind, the NCU library has a number of helpful resources to aid you in the research process. (e.g., see Preparing to Search). Be sure to include at least one journal reference per idea to demonstrate you examined the literature.

Part 3: Using this week’s readings as a guide as well as the NCU library, compare and contrast the different reference and citation management tools you could use for your searches. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each? Based on your analysis of these systems, which do you think will be the best fit for you as you begin to review the literature and why? Write a 2- to 3-page response evaluating each system, including which one you chose and how you foresee this system helping you as you continue with your academic career.

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