Posts Tagged ‘final project’

Below are the slides that outline the contents of your final paper. I have updated them to match what we discussed in class, and the dates are correct for Fall 2013.

Please post any general questions in the comments below and email me if you need help with your particular project.

Please see below information about your final project. Upload on Bb.

Ask questions in the comments below.

ATTENTION: the final project is graded out of 12, not 10, points.

The final project is graded out of 25 points, to be divided as follows:

  • 5 points for the literature review
  • 3 points for the research plan
  • 5 points for the final project draft, due April 19
  • 2 points for the final project presentation, April 26
  • 10 points for the final project

Next step:

Please turn in a research plan as soon as possible, but no later than April 5. The research plan should include the following:

  1. Brief explanation of your project’s purpose, and research question(s)
  2. Detailed plan for data collection (including timeline and deadlines)
  3. Pilot showing initial data from R6.
  4. Plans for analyzing and interpreting data.

The 3 points for the research plan will be based on the following grading criteria:

  • the plan is well thought-out. All details are covered. It is clear that the student knows exactly what she/he needs to do.
  • the initial R6 data is relevant to the research question
  • the plan for analyzing and interpreting data is thought-out, detailed, feasible, and demonstrates familiarity with R6.

Submit on Blackboard.

This post came out of a conversation my husband and I had with a group of students. How can we deliver successful projects? There’s no easy recipe, but here are two pitfalls to avoid and one tip to follow:


I noticed that I make most mistakes when I’m overconfident. Overconfidence makes you take shortcuts and not give your full attention to what you’re doing. It prevents you from thinking about each aspect of your work carefully, cautiously, and with curiosity. It makes it easy to overlook important requirements, and not notice errors. Whenever you find yourself thinking “this is easy!” – do a double take. Try to look at the project with fresh eyes, as if you’re seeing/doing it for the first time ever. Try to see what you could be missing. Avoid disengaging and making rushed decisions just because you think you know. If you need an additional challenge to keep you engaged, aim to exceed expectations. See the last tip in this post.

Social loafing

This happens a lot in group work, and I’ve fallen into this pitfall myself. When you do a group project, you do your fair share of the work, and then you “outsource” proofreading and the responsibility for the final check to the group. You think that someone else will catch that spelling error or realize that there’s an important section of the report that you forgot about entirely. The problem is, every other group member falls into the same pitfall. And then, no one proofreads carefully and no one carries the responsibility of the final quality check. The product gets delivered with spelling errors or stupid mistakes that could have easily been caught if you (yes, you, not someone else in the group) had assumed the responsibility of the final quality check. So, this applies to every member of the group: Before delivering the final product, imagine you are the single author. There is no one else to proofread the report, no one else to catch errors. Look at it with the most careful and critical eye and assume sole responsibility of ensuring there are no errors.

Aim to exceed expectations

And finally, after two DONT”S, here’s a DO: Aim to exceed expectations. Most of us aim to meet expectations. We satisfice. We try to deliver a good enough product. But how many of us aim to exceed expectations? How often do you work on a project thinking “I want this to be the best report this teacher has ever seen!” ? If you aim for 100% (or more realistically, somewhere around the 95% mark), errors will happen, and you’ll likely end up around 85%, if all goes well. But if you aim for 150%, with the inevitable imperfections, your project will still meet or exceed expectations. The additional thoughtfulness, creativity, and motivation are very easily noticeable in someone’s work. So, don’t aim for “Meets Expectations” – aim for “Mind-Blowing.”

It’s time to start thinking about your final project for this class. In fact, by next Tuesday, I’d like you to propose a topic for your final project.

I see a few options for final projects in this class – but if you have other ideas, please bring them on!

Option 1: Improve a work process

Identify a work process that could be improved with the use of social media. Describe the process, the participants, the types of tasks they perform, the type of organization, work culture, etc. Then, write a proposal for social media implementation. Explain what social media tools this group should use in their work, and how. Support your recommendations with arguments and citations. Create a plan for how to evaluate if social media is working well for this group, so in the future, you can fine tune the implementation based on the feedback you would get. Write in APA style, but format like a business report.

Option 2: Research project proposal (and pilot)

Write a proposal for an original research project you would conduct, on a topic related to social media and productivity and/or social media in organizations. The proposal should be complete, just like a proposal for a thesis or dissertation. It should include an introduction, review of literature, research question(s), methodology & instruments, and timeline for execution. If at all possible, pilot the study by collecting a few data points. Write in APA style, format like APA manuscript.

Option 3: In-depth review of literature

If you’re not yet sure what interests you, or would like to gain in-depth knowledge in one narrow area, write an extensive review of existing literature and research in an area of your choice. Please ask for help choosing or narrowing down the topic. Your review of existing literature should be extensive, and include relevant theoretical perspectives, academic research, business reports & research, as well as sources about the preferred research methods used to investigate the topic.

Off the top of my head, here are some examples of broad areas you may choose to investigate:

  • the relationship between organizational culture and social media adoption; the impact of social media adoption on organizational culture and/or organizational structure;
  • new modes of organizing facilitated by social media (Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody is an excellent starting point in this direction)
  • informal patterns of collaboration and cooperation facilitated by social media (i.e. using social media for productivity, outside the requirements of a formal institution – i.e. ad-hoc collaborative learning among students?)

How to submit your topic proposal:

Depending on how public or private you want to go with this (your choice) you can write a comment below, explaining your idea for your final project, or you can send me an email. Either way, if you have questions or need help, let me know and we’ll discuss. It would be nice to end up with a list of topics in the comments of this post, so you can see what everyone else is doing.

As always, let me know if you have questions.

Starting next week, we’re putting together pieces towards your final project for this class. Please check the class schedule to see when things are due.

The first part is a project pre-proposal. In the pre-proposal, which you will write on your blog, you need to explain as much as you know about what you want to do for your final project. I’ll help you narrow it and focus it.

Keep in mind that the final project should be an original research project about the impact of social media (or a social medium) in a context of your choice (e.g. government, personal relationships, interface design, etc.).

I advise you to set up a meeting with me to discuss your project idea, after you submit your pre-proposal, but before you submit your proposal.

Here is how to think about a research project. You need to determine the following:

Interest Area

What is your broad area of interest, or the context that you want to study? Is it government, usability, environmentalism, etc.?

Focus Area

What about the interest area? What about government? Narrow it down to a small, focused part of the interest area.


What is the problem you want to solve with your research? Identify the problem. The problem should be relevant and important – worthy of your time and effort.

Research Question

What is the specific question you hope to answer in your research? This should be a simple, elegant, clear question. It can be descriptive:

What are the … [main user behaviors on Twitter]?

How do … [people come up with ideas to post on blogs]?

Or it can ask about the relationship between two or more variables:

Is there a relationship between A and B?

What is the relationship between A and B?

If A happens, is B more likely to happen, too?

Plan of Action

What do you need to do to answer your research question? You will need to become familiar with existing research in your focus area. What do you need to read? Literature about what topics?

What research method(s) should you use to answer your research question? A survey? Focus groups? Something else? Why is this research method appropriate?

Please do your best to answer these questions in your project pre-proposal. Then, set up a time to meet with me and discuss your ideas, so we can draft a proposal.