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Major Research Paper

What is a Major Research Paper (MRP)?

The MRP is your project/non-thesis required by the Graduate School to receive your Master of Science in International Affairs and Global Enterprise. It is designed to be the culminating written project of your master's career and will be kept on file with the department for our accreditation purposes. Most students will complete this paper as part of their Capstone course (IAGE 6900). Students are strongly encouraged to expand on a paper they've written earlier in the program. Ideally, the paper should address a business, management, or legal topic explored from a socio-cultural or political economy context and drawing from different disciplines.

Depending on the framework of your research question, one or two areas of knowledge will likely, and appropriately, receive more emphasis than the others--but do not exclude the others entirely. For example, if a student chooses to explore the management challenges attendant to employing foreign nationals, they would do well to explore the cultural challenges these individuals are likely to experience. Certainly, there are legal challenges that fit into this equation as well.

Students are also invited to put their creativity to work by developing and submitting proposals for applied projects that benefit an existing international nonprofit organization or business. Students can perform these hands-on projects independently or in connection with an internship. A written report must be submitted after the project is complete.

Major Research Paper Alternatives

Since MIAGE is a non-thesis program, there are several alternatives to writing a standard research paper.

Two such acceptable alternatives to a traditional research paper are a Policy Analysis/Memo and a Project Plan or Business Plan. Neither of these alternatives is easier than a traditional research paper. These are simply different forms of scholarship that allow students to pursue the culminating project (MRP) that best represents their academic achievements and helps prepare them for their careers.

If you are interested in pursuing an alternative form of scholarship, you must submit a brief proposal that outlines your idea and research approach to the program director by December 15th of your second year. This deadline is to ensure that you are enrolled in the proper support course and/or have identified an expert who will help you develop your alternative type of MRP project.

Major Research Paper Proposal

A paper proposal will be due early in the Capstone course.

Well thought-through proposals include:

  • An overview statement or statement of purpose and scope. You can think of this as a “sales pitch” or vision for your paper. You should answer:
    • What the issue is
    • Why it is important
    • How you will frame it
    • What you will not include (that might be expected to be included). This purpose statement should not be more than a paragraph or two in length.
  • Approximately three solid research questions (or hypotheses if you prefer working with hypothesis). The research questions are commitments about the questions you will attempt to answer with your paper. Avoid questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no” to avoid trivial questions (e.g., input-level questions).
  • A short description of your proposed methodology. This does not need to be elaborate. How will you try to answer your research questions? For example, will you conduct interviews, run a survey, or tap into large databases?
  • An outline that is detailed enough to follow the flow and logic of your paper. For example, in the “literature search” section (or “theory section”), be somewhat specific. Consider sub-headings that align with your research questions. Avoid “literature review dumps.”
  • A sampling of references that you have found most helpful in getting started. Unless you have a long list of references already, this proposal should not exceed 1.5 pages double-spaced.

Major Research Paper Final Draft

The final draft should be sent to the Program Manager after being cleared by the Capstone Instructor. The Program Manager will save a copy of your project and clear you for graduation with the Graduate School. Final papers should be approximately 25 pages in length and include proper citation. Students are encouraged to seek publication.

If your MRP involves humans in some way, and you want to publish the paper, you must first submit paperwork to the Internal Review Board (IRB) for approval. The IRB process can be timely so please take this into account if you are working with humans in your study.

MIAGE students are also invited to put their creativity to work by developing and submitting proposals for applied projects that benefit an existing international nonprofit organization or business. These hands-on projects can be performed independently or in connection with an internship.

Last Updated: 4/1/21