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In this project, you will search for information that will
enable you to identify three top trends in your profession or field. Over the
course of the project, you will exercise information literacy skills as you
locate and evaluate information, and develop well-reasoned conclusions.
Reviewing the many sources available to you, you will choose those that are
relevant, timely, and helpful to your quest to understand the issues of your
industry. Once you have identified the top trends, you will choose one that is
particularly interesting to you or one that you think is the most problematic,
and research more deeply to produce an analytical research paper for your team.
Your project is intended to prepare the search committee on the issue so that
it is well-prepared to interview candidates. This project will prepare you for
more complex research projects, as you will refine and hone your ability to
create a statement of the problem and find the information you need to produce
a well-reasoned, well-supported analysis.
There are four steps that will lead you through this
project. Begin by watching the video above, which introduces the project as it
might occur in the workplace, and then continue with Step 1: Search Techniques.
When you submit your project, your work will be evaluated
using the competencies listed below. You can use the list below to self-check
your work before submission.
1.1: Organize document or presentation clearly in a manner
that promotes understanding and meets the requirements of the assignment.
1.2: Develop coherent paragraphs or points so that each is
internally unified and so that each functions as part of the whole document or
presentation.
1.3: Provide sufficient, correctly cited support that
substantiates the writer’s ideas.
1.4: Tailor communications to the audience.
1.5: Use sentence structure appropriate to the task, message
and audience.
1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
2.1: Identify and clearly explain the issue, question, or
problem under critical consideration.
2.2: Locate and access sufficient information to investigate
the issue or problem.
2.3: Evaluate the information in a logical and organized
manner to determine its value and relevance to the problem.
2.4: Consider and analyze information in context to the issue
or problem.
2.5 Develop well-reasoned ideas, conclusions or decisions,
checking them against relevant criteria and benchmarks.
step 1: Conduct Research to Identify Top Trends

In this step, you will refine your ability to conduct
research for information in academic, public, and web domains. This project
will require two different kinds of searches. First, you will perform a brief
industry analysis to become more knowledgeable about your industry and how it
is classified in national databases. From this initial research, you will learn
the codes associated with your industry and you will learn where to find and
use business research resources. This should enable you to find more specific
search terms to help you find the resources that will help you identify the top
trends in your industry. Once you have identified the top trends, you will
choose an issue in one of the three top trends and conduct more research to
provide an analysis of the issue, its effect on the industry, and how an
organization would address this issue – whether to mitigate or to promote – to
its own advantage.

Once you have reviewed NAICS and SOC codes and UMUC library
resources for conducting research and business research, you will do some
in-depth searching for industry trends. A trend could be something that you, as
an industry insider is aware of, an emerging trend, or it could be a trend that
you think is unrecognized or disputed. You will use your resources to provide
evidence for the trends you choose, and your initial choices may change as you
continue to read more deeply. Scan resources that you found in periodicals,
journals, newspapers, industry blogs, and websites to choose the best
references to help you devise the top trends. Use industry-specific keywords
and industry codes, and take notes on resources as you read because you will be
building on this research in the next step when you choose an issue within one
of the trends. Record notes from the resources and record the complete citation
in APA format in your draft References page now in accordance with the APA
Style Guide Sixth Edition. Be diligent in your choices about the resources you
choose.

Searching effectively for relevant and timely sources and
recording citation details may take up to 3 hours. After you have identified
the top three trends in your industry, you will choose an issue in one of them
that is particularly important.

Step 2: Choose an Issue to Research Further

In the last step, you used research to identify three top
trends in your industry. That was the first part of the project. Now it is time
to focus on an issue within one of those trends that you think is noteworthy in
your field. This project requires that you review the trends and develop a plan
to research the issue further, and synthesize the information you find into a
coherent, well-supported analysis. But first, you have to develop a focused
research question or statement of the problem. Consider this step similar to
the starting point for solving any problem with the scientific method. You
first have to identify the problem. Then, when you have researched a bit more,
you will form a reasonable assumption (a hypothesis) of what you think might be
a potential resolution/answer. You will look for more information that reflects
different sides or viewpoints of the issue, and use analytical thinking to
arrive at a well-reasoned conclusion. This conclusion may or may not bear out
your original first estimate; however, your quest is to arrive at an answer
that is well-supported and based on facts. Remember, your objective is to
consider the impact of this issue on your industry, so this may be the first
step toward a practical solution for your organization.

So, choose an issue from your research on a trend in your
industry that has potential for great impact on the field, and then draft a
preliminary question or statement of the problem. Your research should reveal
if the question has already been answered, or if there is enough information on
the topic. Refine your question or statement and submit it to the “so what”
test. Will your answer contribute to knowledge about the issue you have
selected? Is the question answerable? Remember that in academic work you would
normally avoid normative or open-ended questions, which start with the words
should or would, or any question that can be answered with a yes or a no.

Once you have chosen your issue and completed enough
research to provide a well-reasoned answer (or solution), you will be ready to
write your issue paper. In the next step, you will draft your research paper.

Step 3

In the previous two steps, you performed searches, first to
identify industry trends, and then for information about an issue in one of
those trends that you consider to be important to your industry. Now you should
be ready to draft your paper. This would be a good time to review organization
in writing and paragraphs. You might also review the Effective Writing Center’s
Online Guide to Writing, a valuable reference to students who seek to improve
their writing.
Review your task. You are to provide a research paper that
provides a summary of the three top trends in your industry (with associated
NAICS codes). Supply sufficient background for your reader that the trend is
clear and supported by resources you have found. Review resources in References
and Citations to ensure that you are using “in text” citations to give credit
for the ideas of other authors and to build your credibility as a researcher,
neither ignoring sources nor quoting excessively.
You will develop a paper that accomplishes two objectives:
It will identify the three top trends in your industry and
your rationale, based on the resources you have found, for your choices;
It will discuss the issue within one of the trends that you
deem important, based on the current state of the industry, and will be
supported by your analysis of facts and a well-reasoned conclusion of what it
means to the industry.

Start with an outline and flesh out the main themes with
supporting statements. This will become your roadmap to an organized paper.
Draft, sleep on it, and edit. Repeat.
Your paper will be 5-7 pages, not including your cover page
and References page(s), double-spaced and set up in APA standards. It does not
require an abstract.
Your citations, both “in text” and in References will be in
accordance with the APA Style Manual Sixth Edition .
Your headings will follow this general pattern:
Introduction
Findings
Top Trends of the _____ Industry
An Important Emerging Issue in a trend and what it means in
context to the industry
Conclusions
References

MILESTONE: Many students are asked to re-submit their papers
based on incomplete or inaccurate citation formats. This milestone will get you
off to a good start with APA citations. By the end of Week 2, please submit a
draft of your References page. Please use the APA style guide or References and
Citations to draft your complete citations. This is an opportunity for you to
get feedback before your project is graded. When you submit your draft
References page for review, your faculty member will provide feedback on your
citation format so that you can correct for your project submission at the end
of Week 3.

Submit Your Paper and Share Your Research Experience
After editing and re-reading your assignment again for
errors in writing and citing, please submit your project in the assignment
folder by the end of Week 3.
Also, please share your industry issue with your classmates
in the Project 2 discussion area. Were there any particular epiphanies or
hardships that you encountered in your research and writing process? Please
feel free to interact with your classmates in any constructive way.

Before you submit your assignment, review the competencies
below, which your instructor will use to evaluate your work. A good practice
would be to use each competency as a self-check to confirm you have
incorporated all of them in your work.
1.1: Organize document or presentation clearly in a manner
that promotes understanding and meets the requirements of the assignment.
1.2: Develop coherent paragraphs or points so that each is
internally unified and so that each functions as part of the whole document or
presentation.
1.3: Provide sufficient, correctly cited support that
substantiates the writer’s ideas.
1.4: Tailor communications to the audience.
1.5: Use sentence structure appropriate to the task, message
and audience.
1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
2.1: Identify and clearly explain the issue, question, or
problem under critical consideration.
2.2: Locate and access sufficient information to investigate
the issue or problem.
2.3: Evaluate the information in a logical and organized
manner to determine its value and relevance to the problem.
2.4: Consider and analyze information in context to the
issue or problem.
2.5 Develop well-reasoned ideas, conclusions or decisions,
checking them against relevant criteria and benchmarks.
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