About BUS310W

Course Description: This course introduces research methods and tools as the foundations of business analytics. Topics include problem definition, literature review, theory development, research design, sampling theory, construct measurement, data collection, data analysis, reporting results, interpreting findings, and developing actionable recommendations.

This course is designated as a “Writing Intensive” course. A substantial portion of course requirements is allocated to written work. In this course, we will discuss the writing process itself and the type of writing that is expected within a business setting. Course assignments provide you with the opportunity to draft, revise and polish your writing to improve skills in articulating a thesis, organizing information, and communicating ideas persuasively and concisely. Each student will generate the 15 total pages of polished written work required for “W” credit.

Required Texts and Materials: D. Cooper and P. Schindler. Business Research Methods. Twelfth Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2014.

Contact Details

Stephanie Rosenthal
Chatham University
Falk 116C
Office Hours:



Chatham University is a beautiful campus hidden in Pittsburgh. One idea for helping new people explore the campus and learn about interesting events happening on campus is to build an information kiosk. Your task this semester is to build the business case for an information kiosk. We will use a variety of research methods to learn about how it would affect campus, and the research will culminate in a final persuasive paper in which you argue for or against the creation of the kiosk on campus.

Assignment 1

Take NIH Human Subjects Test (Basic Research, don't sign up for CME) Email me a PDF of your certificate that you passed. Due 9/8 BEFORE CLASS.

Assignment 2 - Case Study

Readings Out 9/8, Due 9/15
Write-Up Due 9/22

Readings Due 9/15. Read all of the following commercial case studies and 1 of the following academic case studies:
Commercial Case Studies: Download here
Academic Case Studies: The Effect of Social Interaction on Economic Transactions: Evidence from Changes in Two Retail Formats OR Are Self-Service Customers Satisfied or Stuck?

Write-Up Due 9/22. You have read two different types of case studies: those as research papers and those as persuasive business success story documents. Write two pages discussing the pros, questions, and potential challenges to placing an information kiosk at Chatham University. Use your readings as sources, and discuss the limitations of using those sources including the reliability of the source as well as the differences between their case and Chatham’s case. A submission link will be made available on Moodle.
You can also use this article as a writing example about pros/cons of information kiosks: here


Assignment 3 - Observation Study

Out 9/22,
Write-Up Due 9/29

Due 9/29. Now that we have read about the possible benefits and challenges of a kiosk on campus, your next task is to observe several locations to determine a suitable location for it. Choose two locations on campus that receive a lot of foot traffic. Spend one hour each observing:

  • the number of people who pass by,
  • the number of people who stop there and what they are doing (are they meeting in groups, alone, etc),
  • other observations about those people including whether they are obviously visitors, faculty, staff, students, administrators,
  • do they look lost or know where they are going? (not an inference because they can look lostwithout being lost)
  • are they obviously particular majors? are you observing a full cross-section of campus

Then write a two page report on what you saw, and comparing and contrasting the locations. To conclude your report, make a decision about whether one of those two locations would be suitable or whether you think another location would be better in hindsight. Submissions will take place on the Moodle site.

Assignment 4 - Survey Study

Out 10/6
Survey Questions Due 10/13
Study Results Due 10/20
Online Study Results Due 10/27
Write-Up Due 11/3

The next step in our research is to determine whether the campus community would like the kiosk, who they envision it helping, and what information the kiosk should include. You will reach out to the campus in 3 ways: through paper surveys, interviews, and online surveys. People potentially respond to these different modalities of questions differently. You’ll first develop your questionnaire and practice collecting data in class. Then you’ll revise the questions, and collect your data using each modality. We will discuss your results and experiences in class. In the end, you’ll write up your results and experiences in a final paper.
Survey Questions Due 10/13. What are your hypotheses about the type(s) of information kiosks that COULD go on campus, their placement, and their content? Create a hypothesis to reflect each of these aspects and determine what you will measure in your surveys (independent and dependent variables). Create 10 questions that ask about the hypothesis and measure the independent and/or dependent variables.
Survey/Interview Results Due 10/20. Revise your 10 questions and create a paper survey for people to fill out. Also use your questions to interview 5 different people in person. Come to class with your responses and experiences (e.g., how many people did you ask in order to get enough responses, were the responses what you expected, did they understand your questions, did you record who they were or was it anonymous?).
Online Survey Results Due 10/27. Create an online survey using survey monkey or google surveys using the same 10 survey questions and distribute to 10 people online. Come to class with your responses and experiences.
Survey Study Write-Up Due 11/3. You have now performed 3 surveys/interviews and collected data from 20 people. Write up three pages on your survey method (how you found people to respond in each modality, how many people did you ask and how many responded, were the responses what you expected), your survey results, and discuss what your findings mean in terms of your hypotheses, the differences in responses between the modalities, and the limitations of your surveys.

Assignment 5 - Experiment

Out 11/3
Proposal Due 11/10
Preliminary Data Due 11/17
Presentation Due 12/4-8
Write-Up Due 12/8

Finally, we will run a small experimental study. Ideally, this study should include two or three study conditions compare something relatively straight forward. Examples include:

  • The headline of an email vs whether people take a survey
  • The color of cookies vs whether people rate them as yummy
  • Hunger (rating or time since last eaten) vs accuracy of guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar
  • Offering candy/cookie/chips vs likelihood of someone taking a survey
  • Height of marshmallow tower built vs on whether people are given time limit or by major or by gender
  • Bright vs dull colors to attract people to a table to do a survey
You may choose your own experiment or choose one of mine. You should work in pairs to propose, perform and present the experiment but must write separate reports.
Proposal Due 11/10. Write a one page proposal detailing the experiment you would like to run, the research question and hypothesis you have, the independent and dependent variables, the data you will collect, the time it will take to run, the location of the experiment, and results you expect to find.
Preliminary Data Due 11/17. Experimental design is challenging to accomplish quickly. Pilot your experiment on your first set of subjects. Come to class prepared to discuss what you will need to change about the experiment or whether it worked as planned.
Final Presentation Due 12/4-12/8. Create a 15 minute presentation covering your research question, your hypothesis, experiment method, the data you collected, the participants/subjects you used, your results, your analysis, and your conclusions. See running experiments lecture.
Final Write-Up Due 12/8.Prepare an 8 page writeup on your experiment on 24-36 people including introduction (research question and hypothesis), lit review (what have other people studied related to this study - 3 articles cited per person in group), method (designing and planning the experiment), results (who you recruited and how, descriptive statistics, test, null hypothesis, results, accept/reject, post-hoc tests, and conclusion about hypothesis), discussion (what was interesting, what did you learn, what would you do differently), conclusion, bibliography, and appendix (appendix does not count towards 8pages). Answer all the questions in the running experiments lecture.





8/28: Introduction

8/30: Finding a Research Question

9/1: Writing Style
Read Ch. 1

9/4: Labor Day (no class)

9/6: Research Ethics Day 1

9/8: Research Ethics Day 2
NIH Human Subjects Test Due
Assignment 2 out

9/11: Types of Research

9/13: Archival Research

9/15: Library Visit
Read Ch. 5
Case Study Readings Due

9/18: Qualitative/Quantitative Research

9/20: Observation and Ethnography

9/22: No class
Read Ch. 6
Case Study Write-Up Due

9/25: Situation Audit

9/27: Interviews

9/29: Discussion about Observations
Read Ch. 8
Observation Study Write-Up Due

10/2: Measurement

10/4: Midterm
Covers Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8

10/6: Go Over Midterm Answers

10/9: Long Weekend (no class)

10/11: Survey Design
Survey Project Assigned

10/13: Practice Surveys
Reach Ch. 10
Survey/Interview Due

10/16: Controlled Experiments

10/18: A/B Testing
Read A/B Test Article

10/20: Survey Lessons Learned
Survey/Interview Results Due

10/23: Online/In-Person Data Collection

10/25: Usability Studies

10/27: Sampling
Read Ch. 14
Online Survey Results Due

10/30: Data Analysis

11/1: Writing About Data

11/3: Practice Data Analysis
Use Ch. 19 for Guidance
Survey Write-Up Due
Experiment Project Assigned

11/6: Designing an Experiment

11/8: Designing an Experiment

11/10: Designing an Experiment
Experiment Proposal Due

11/13: Data Visualization

11/15: Persuasive Writing

11/17: Meet about project progress
Read Ch. 16
Preliminary Data Due

11/20: Work in class
Bring Textbook to Class

11/22: Thanksgiving
(no class)

11/24: Thanksgiving
(no class)

11/27: Analysis/Writing Experiment Data

11/29: Presentation Preparation

12/1: In-Class Review for Final Exam

12/4: Presentation Day 1

12/6: Presentation Day 2

12/8: Presentation Day 3

Final Exam Date: TBD. Covers Ch. 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18

Get In Touch.

Contact Details

Stephanie Rosenthal
Chatham University
Falk 116C
Office Hours: