Tag Archives: research

The Keys to a Successful Conference Submission Process: Part Two, Choosing a Topic

Steven V. Cates, DBA SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Purdue University Global Professor, School of Business and IT

In our first discussion, we looked at the value of doing research and presenting our findings at a conference. We also began to think about how to get started. Now we are going to look at how we go about picking a topic to concentrate on.

First of all, always pick a topic you really have a lot of passion about. Otherwise, you will not have the drive and focus to commit to doing the work necessary to complete this research project. Conducting a research project takes time, energy, and effort. There are no shortcuts to completing good sound research projects. So, you must commit yourself to practicing sound time management and spending time daily in working on your research.

So, what are the “hot topics” in your field of specialization right now? Where do you find these “hot topics”? You can start with the journals, trade publications, magazines, webinars, seminars, blogs, and any other forms of forums and media in your field. What are authors saying are the “cutting edge” issues that are being discussed and problems surrounding these topics? This is a great place to pick a “hot button” that has not been researched extensively.  This will allow you to do research and then provide solutions to those problems and issues, which is your starting point.


You also might want to join and attend associations that represent your field of study.  Some meetings and conferences are held locally, regionally, nationally or globally. At each of these you will hear presentations made on the “hot button” topics, as most presentations will be on issues that are current and presently being discussed in your field.

Another great way to get your research started is by networking with your academic and professional contacts. You may find that you have similar interests with a colleague on a given research subject. This could lead to a collaboration on a great research project.

Next month, in Part Three of this series, we will begin to construct a research paper and look at the specific parts of that paper.



SOAR Symposium: The Value of Research and Presentation

Dr. Tamara Fudge, Purdue University Global in the School of Business and Information Technology


Purdue University Global’s second Student Online Annual Research Symposium (SOAR Symposium) is slated for this September 13 and offers our students and our alumni a great opportunity.

Imagine the chance to delve into meaningful career concepts outside of the classroom,  hone research, analytical, and organizational skills, create meaningful visual elements, exercise verbal communication, and take a leadership role within a webinar atmosphere.  It will take time management and communication skills to get it all done, too!  What is even better is that the SOAR Symposium offers both professional experience and a way to enhance the participant’s resume.

There are a few different ways students can  participate in the SOAR Symposium.  They can present with a PowerPoint presentation in an Adobe Connect room live session or develop a “poster” (an infographic).  Optionally, the participant can prepare a paper to go with his or her topic that may be suitable for professional publication.

These methods of information sharing have significant value. They require research, which in itself is good critical thinking practice for the workplace.  As Lipowski (2008) notes, “continuous assessment of policies, procedures, and programs [in the workplace] is necessary because science and technology can render them obsolete.”

Additionally, visual representations such as infographics and PowerPoint charts, graphs, and images aid attendees in understanding, processing, and remembering information (Parsons & Sedig, 2014). We can see that it is not just the participants, but the attendees who benefit from the Symposium.

It is also a leadership experience: presentations are a demonstration of assertiveness. This professional competency is also validated in participants’ preparedness to answer questions (Berjano  Sales-Nebot, & Lozano-Nieto, 2013). This public speaking experience is powerful on a resume.




Berjano, E., Sales-Nebot, L., & Lozano-Nieto, A. (2013). Improving professionalism in the engineering curriculum through a novel use of oral presentations. European Journal Of Engineering Education, 38(2), 121-130.

Lipowski, E. (2008). Developing great research questions. American Journal Of Health-System Pharmacy, 65(17), 1667-1670 4p. doi:10.2146/ajhp070276

Parsons, P., & Sedig, K. (2014). Adjustable properties of visual representations: Improving the quality of human-information interaction. Journal Of The Association For Information Science & Technology, 65(3), 455-482. doi:10.1002/asi.23002


Topic Selection

Dr. Tamara Fudge

Professor,  School of Business and Information Technology, Kaplan University


There are some nice benefits to allowing students to pick their own topics for papers. First, there tends to be a lot less complaining about having to write in the first place. Also, the teacher doesn’t have to read through dozens of papers that cover the very same content.

Girl hiding behind blue book.


However, when students pick their own topics, they tend to write mostly about things they already know instead of investigating new concepts. They tend to use familiar sources instead of learning how to research or might even skip using source material altogether. Some students will try to re-purpose previous papers (most schools have rules against doing this) or at least cannibalize old ones.

“Professor, can I send in a project proposal I did for a real-life client?”

“Can I just show a website I built for my cousin instead of doing the coding assignment?”

“Is it okay to send in the paper that Professor X said was so good in my other class? ”

“I know you wanted me to research, but I wrote from my own experiences. I hope that’s okay.”

Professors and tutors often hear questions and statements like these from students.  Where’s the learning?

Part of the problem is that students need motivation. It is not always enough to explain course objectives or spend time in seminar talking about the relevance of the topic to real-life application, although these are important. Sometimes we just need to allow for some options (“Enhancing education”, n.d.).  Consider the following:

  • Offer topic options that can fulfill the same requirements. For example, instead of having them write about how they would develop a network for a particular business, give them three scenarios from which they can choose. In a health class, give the students a list of diseases; they choose one to research.
  • Offer formatting options, if you can make the grading rubric work for both. For example, allow students to choose whether to write an APA paper or present their findings in a PowerPoint.

When students are given some options, they are more likely to feel like they are in control of their learning, even if they didn’t get to write about their favorite topic.  This positivity will likely be reflected in their research and their final product.

I should provide a disclaimer: not all assignments need to offer options. But placing some control in the students’ hands now and then can make learning a little more interesting. With a little creativity on our part, there are ways to avoid their complaint of not being able to pick the topic themselves and along the way provide a little more motivation for learning.



Enhancing education: Solve a teaching problem; students lack interest or motivation. (n.d.). Retrieved from Carnegie Mellon University Eberly Center for Teaching Excellent & Educational Innovation: https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/solveproblem/strat-lackmotivation/lackmotivation-01.html


June is Research Writing Month in the KUWC

Welcome to June in the Kaplan University Writing Center.  This month our Writing Workshops will focus on Research Writing.  We have a series of three hour-long workshops that focus on different aspects of the research writing process.   This series along with some of our other workshops are listed below.

Girl at computer KUWC

© Jupiter Images 2013

Don’t forget to visit the new public Kaplan University Writing Center website.  Watch as the pages build with resources and get to know the Writing Across the Curriculum Faculty.  You can also connect with our Plagiarism Faculty resources.

Research Writing Tips I: The Research Question and Plan
Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 9:00 pm ET

Research Writing Tips II: Resources & Focus
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 @ 9:00 pm ET

Research Writing Tips III: Writing the Paper
Thursday, June 27, 2013 @ 9:00 pm ET

Quick Tips: Get Help With Your Writing
Thursday, June 13, 2013, 6:00 pm ET

Quick Tips: Cure for Writer’s Block
Monday, June 17, 2013, 2:00 pm ET

Quick Tips: Avoiding Plagiarism
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 2:00 pm ET

Top 10 Writing Errors and How To Avoid Them
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 8:00 pm ET

For the full list of Workshops, see the June Workshop Schedule on the Writing Workshops page.

by Melody Pickle

Evaluating Academic Resources – Effective Writing Podcast 22

20120809-171159.jpg (c) 2012 Jupiterimages

(c) 2012 Jupiterimages

The Kaplan University Writing Center announces –

 Episode 22 of the Effective Writing Podcast series is now available.

Once again, Kurtis Clements delivers a clear explanation of a key concept. In just over 8 minutes, this podcast assists students in understanding quality research resources.  Students and faculty alike will enjoy this humorous and well done podcast.

Listen here:

Effective Writing Podcast 22 Evaluating Sources

Use this podcast with your students as they learn to identify quality and credible sources with the help of JimBo’s used car lot!

You can find this and other Effective Writing Podcasts here: http://goo.gl/hREmh

Melody Pickle

Google World and Academic Sources

In this age where we can Google anything, it is harder and harder for students to identify and locate academic sources.  Why can’t they just Google their topic and pick the top 3 sites listed for their research paper?

In Effective Writing Podcast 16 – Academic Sources, Kurtis Clements enthusiastically defines academic sources and explains their purpose and where to locate them. Using specific examples and easy to understand language, Kurtis interprets this often difficult to grasp concept.  Have students listen to this brief yet thorough discussion, especially if they need clarification about the different types of sources available online and in a library.

Other podcasts in the series can be found in the KUWC by accessing the Academic Support Center ->Writing Center -> Effective Writing Podcasts Series. Transcripts for the podcasts can be found at the bottom of the Effective Writing Podcasts Series page.

Accademic Support Center with arrowing pointing to Effective Writing Podcast Series in the Writing Center

Click on the Podcast you want to listen to

– Melody Pickle