Directed Business Research: BA 3591

Course Description

BA 3591. Directed Business Research. 1 to 4 Credit Hours.

This course is typically offered in Fall and Spring.

Directed Business Research provides an individualized method of learning and an in-depth treatment of a topic of interest, while receiving input and supervision from a faculty expert. The course provides hands-on, practical experience working with a Fox School of Business research faculty on an ongoing research project. All students must apply and obtain special approval to be added to the course. This course is primarily designed for students in sophomore and junior years. Exceptional students from other classes may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Course Objectives

If you aspire to a career which involves managerial decision making, you need to understand the basics of research; decisions founded on evidence-based insights are more successful than those based solely on intuition. Similarly, if you aspire to become a business analyst, an investment banker, or to work with a strategy consulting firm, you need to know how to conduct research. If you hope to become a scholarly researcher, either in a university or an organization, such as the World Bank, you need to learn the basics of hypothesis testing.

This course seeks to introduce and develop the skills required to do research effectively. Specifically, the key learning objectives of the course are to allow learners to:

  • Develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills to identify appropriate business questions.
  • Obtain hands-on research experience in determining, formulating, and solving business problems.
  • Identify, explore, and apply practical skills in developing instruments for addressing research questions.
  • Develop and demonstrate business communication skills.

The course is highly involved and provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to work with Fox School of Business faculty on a research project in accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, supply chain, strategic management, statistics, actuarial science, international business, legal studies, management information systems, or risk. This is a multi-disciplinary course and learners from all backgrounds interested in research are encouraged to apply.


    Interested students should demonstrate intellectual curiosity and an enthusiasm for research. To qualify to apply for BA 3591, the following criteria need to be met:

    1. You should be a registered Fox School of Business or STHM student.
    2. You should have earned 40 FLPD (Fox Leadership Development Points) research points before applying to the program. If you do not have 40 FLDP research points before starting the course, you must finish this requirement while you are enrolled for the course. FLDP research points can be earned by attending research workshops run by the Undergraduate Research Leadership program or by attending department research seminars.

    The selection of applications by a faculty mentor is at the faculty member's discretion, and acceptance into the course is not guaranteed.

    • Assignments tab will be changed to “Course Materials, Contact Hours and Work Expected” Content will be:

    No text is required for the course. However, you will be asked to read certain research papers relevant to the topic you are researching. Additional readings or resources may be shared through the semester to advance your understanding of the research topic.

      Contact Hours and Expected Work

      Contact hours and scope of course deliverables vary based on the number of credits for which you are enrolled. Refer to the table below for standards of contact and work expected based on the number of credit hours to be awarded.

      Academic Credit(s)

      Direct Contact hours with Faculty/ Research team

      Expected Work/

      Non-Contact Hours Outside of meeting times


      Expected Course Deliverable(s)




      10-page paper




      20-page paper




      25-page paper




      One 30-page paper/Two 15-page papers


      *Note: Expected deliverables are a broad estimation; for some topics, completing a 15-page paper might take more time than completing a 20-page paper. Several factors, such as the methodology used, depth of literature review needed, and availability of existing research, can impact the amount of time needed to complete a final deliverable. Because of this variability, the final deliverables are to be determined based on a discussion with the faculty mentor. The table above gives you a broad estimation of what may be needed.

      In addition to the final paper, you are asked to present your research to a group of Fox faculty members and students. You are also encouraged to present your project at the university wide undergraduate research event that happens each spring.  See:

        Nature of the Course Experience

        Depending on the project you are involved in, your course experience may involve any combination of the following research activities: 

        • Creating, building, and/or using databases
        • Literature review
        • Summarizing scholarly literature
        • Designing experiments
        • Engaging in statistical analysis
        • Writing up research results

        You will arrange to meet with your faculty mentor, or one of the lead researchers on the team, at least once every week. In these meetings, you will have an opportunity to discuss your progress and get guidance.

        Students enrolled in the course can attend department research seminar series with faculty; this wonderful opportunity allows them to be exposed to the variety of research performed at the Fox School of Business. 


        Grades are allocated based on your compliance with scheduled meetings and preparedness, performance on assigned tasks, performance on the final research paper and in presentation(s).

        A93 and above
        A minus90-92
        B plus87-89
        B minus80-82
        C plus77-79
        C minus70-72
        D plus67-69
        D minus60-62
        F59 and below

        Citizenship Behavior

        Due to the nature of this program, the acceptance of participants is selective. Please make sure that you attend the scheduled meetings and are up to date with your work and investing the required time to be successful in supporting both the research agenda and in the development of your final deliverable.