By its nature and role in the field, the business research paper is different from a traditional academic piece. It relies on a more diversified group of models and resources; and the goals it pursues are multifaceted and multifunctional.
However, like any research paper, a business paper is a written conversation about the issue. Therefore, it needs to adhere to the structure accepted and comprehended by all potential communicative partners. In addition, the goal of a business research paper is to create new knowledge, which can serve as the basis for developing long-term and/or short-term business propositions. This goal should be reflected throughout the written content.
In a business research paper, the universally accepted written structure carries out a dual purpose. First, it allows the writer to state the objectives of the research and to reinforce their importance from different perspectives in different sections. Second, this structure facilitates the interaction between the writer and the reader and helps the latter to follow the development of ideas to the paper’s culmination: a business proposition.
Business Research Paper Structure:
The outline below highlights the essence of each structural section of the business research paper:
- The Introduction initiates the conversation on the issue; and a strong thesis statement recaps the problem and the author’s plan of action.
- The Literature Review states the importance of the problem. In addition, it talks about previous attempts to resolve the issue and about historical trends that can inform the current investigation. This section proves to the reader that the author is a credible researcher with broad knowledge and in-depth understanding of the subject area.
- The Methods and Procedures section can focus on secondary data study, primary data collection and analysis, or a combination of both. Regardless of the approach, the writer has to justify their choices and give a detailed account of the people and the activities involved in the research.
- The Discussion section is a culmination of the research and the most important part of the paper. This is the place to present a business proposition and to discuss its practical value. This section is the reason for doing the research; its value for the reader is the acquisition of new knowledge.
- The final section – Conclusion – provides an overview of the entire paper while highlighting the focal points of the discussion.
The uniqueness of a business research paper is that it deals with business facts both as sources for literature analysis and as components of a business proposition. This characteristic serves as the framework for developing the paper content:
Choosing Business Research Paper Topic:
The choice of topic for a business research paper is crucial. The topic should be narrow and manageable for the researcher. However, it should also appeal to a wide spectrum of populations, including direct and secondary stakeholders, clients, and so on. In addition, the topic needs to have practical applicability. Market and competitor analyses are among popular research topics, as well as feasibility studies.
The Introduction is the preliminary description of the current situation. It is further developed through Literature Review and the research. Existing business reports, legal and financial documentation, and theoretical analysis are equally important in the Literature Review because they provide multidimensional perspective on the business situation/problem. The study would rely on SWOT and PESTEL analyses, organizational flow-charts, and the primary data collected from the chosen group of stakeholders.
A thoughtful Methods section is the key component of a research paper. It has to include the definitions and descriptions of all target populations, sampling techniques, the methods of data collection, and the approach to data analysis. Each element of this section should work as a liaison between the previous sections – Introduction and Literature Review – and the Discussion that follows. This section provides justification for the claim that the business proposal could significantly improve the business situation analyzed in the Literature review. Overall, the quality of the paper highly depends on the quality of the Methods section.
In the business research paper, the Discussion section does not really discuss the issue but rather provides the outline of practical activities aimed at resolving the problem; it is a business or a strategic plan with measurable outcomes. It must provide a new, fresh approach; however, it should be logically interconnected with other sections of the paper.
Finally, a business research paper has to adhere to conventional tone and format. Those include the use of the appropriate citations and the provision of references for all the sources.