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Honors Business Thesis


Hello! This guide is meant to be a resource for honors business students doing research for their thesis. Please send me an email or make an appointment to get in touch.

Selecting a topic

Generally, a good research question is appropriate in scope, will offer unique or original information, and answers a relevant question or solves a problem. You should start with a topic and narrowed research question,  which allows you to write your thesis.

The research question should be: 

  • Not too narrow, not too broad
  • Clearly defined
  • Something answerable through research
  • Interesting (to you, your professors, and future employers...)

Start with a broad topic like healthcare.

Healthcare is too broad of topic. You might start by looking at general or business reference sources to find narrower areas within your topic to focus on.

Here are a few ways to narrow your topic or research question:

The Five Ws: Who, What, Where, When, Why
Narrow your topic by imposing these different limits. Example: healthcare management
Who: doctors/insurance companies
What: electronic healthcare records
Where: small non-profit hospitals
When: Emerging trends - historical perspective - Developments during the last decade?
Why: Provide better care/generate efficiencies 

Concept mapping

Another method with more flexibility is the concept map - brainstorm facets or subtopics of your research question or main topic to form a "map' of your current understanding of the topic. This one can get messy on paper, so there are a few tools you can use to visualize your concept map. 

Here are some sources that can be used for finding background information on a topic. Some may not be suitable as an actual research source in your thesis (like Wikipedia).

Finding Sources

In general, you will focus on finding primary sources. Primary sources present original information or data, or are artifacts related to people, places, events, companies, or other entities. In many cases you will be looking for primary sources in the form of scholarly, peer reviewed research, or statistical data. These sources are primary in that they present the results of original research. However, an interview with employee, a recording of a speech, legislation, or an annual report from a company could be considered a primary source as well.

Secondary sources are sources that summarize or report on primary sources. Informational websites, newspapers, and magazines, are generally seen as secondary sources. A tertiary source is a reference source that serves to summarize secondary sources or compile a record of primary and secondary sources. Encyclopedias and textbooks are generally considered tertiary sources.

Have you tried searching OneSearch? This is a wide-ranging search across many different databases.

Is something not available? You can always request content through Interlibrary loan if it is not available through our library or OhioLINK.

Books often provide comprehensive overviews or deep dives into subjects. You should try and utilize books in addition to the many articles you will find. 

You can start by doing a Scholar catalog search of books that our library owns.

You can also borrow books through OhioLINK.

Citing Sources

In APA style, you should use the (Last name, Year) pattern for in-text citations. If you are directly quoting a passage, you should include page number (Last name, Year, p. #).

For example: 

Many Facebook users found it difficult to find a balance between personal and private identities while maintaining one account (Sihi & Lawson, 2018). 

Alternatively, you can call out the authors in your writing: 
Sihi & Lawson found that some social media users used their accounts for both private and professional networking (2018).

In cases where there is no named author, you can use the organization responsible for the information.

Refer to the APA Owl Guide for more information. 

The full reference provides the reader with all necessary information to access the source you utilized. 

Refer to the APA OWL Guide for full listing of different reference types for different sources

Use bibliographic management software like Zotero or Mendeley to help you keep track of and cite sources. Think of these tools like organization systems for research as well as an automatic citation generator.