Group research project instructions

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Dr. Hoyt

Foundations of Leadership Studies, Fall 2004



The group project gives you an opportunity to work with a group of your peers and investigate a topic that interests you and is related to leadership studies. The purpose of this assignment is threefold. First, as a group project it is designed to be a practicum for learning leadership skills including group decision making, conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, and critical analysis. Second, writing is an important skill in any profession and this is an opportunity for you to hone your writing skills. Finally, this assignment also provides you an opportunity to develop effective communication and presentation skills.

In scientific writing, researchers interpret and draw conclusions based on the research literature from scientific articles. The advantage of this literature is that it is rather objective, unbiased, and in many cases, provides directions for practical applications. For this assignment you are asked to write a 5-page research paper based on the scientific literature. Specifically, you will synthesize research from the scientific literature, and draw conclusions based on your research. This assignment provides an opportunity for you to explore an area of interest in leadership studies in greater depth than time allows in our course. Research in the field of leadership studies has important implications for individuals, groups, organizations, the government, and society at large.
As a group, you will develop and hone your empirical question, you will search the research literature, you will read and analyze the literature, and you will form conclusions regarding your research question based on the scientific articles. Together you will submit a group project topic, a group project interim update, and give a final presentation. Although you will work on this project as a group, you will each turn in an individual paper. Because this is a group effort, I am expecting the content of the papers to be quite similar while I am expecting each student’s writing style to be unique.
There are five components of this project:

Project Component:

Due Date:

1) Group Project Topic

September 23

2) Group Interim Update

October 28

3) Group Final Presentation

Nov. 30 or Dec. 2

4) Individual Paper

December 2

5) Peer Reviews

December 2

1) Group Project Topic:
Your group should start working on your research topic immediately. Begin by leafing through the syllabus as well as the textbook to look for topics that interest you. Then, go to the library, look up references, and sharpen your research idea. Once your group has chosen a topic, email me your choice. If your topic is appropriate and no other group has chosen it, I will let you know that you may begin writing up your group project topic due September 23. I will also be glad to help any groups define a good topic area. Below I have provided some very broad examples to get you started thinking about possible topics:

  • Review of the empirical literature indicating how stereotypes and discrimination affect women and minority leaders.

  • Compare and contrast leadership theories and practices across cultures.

  • Compare and contrast factors pertinent to world leadership during wartime and during peacetime.

  • Conduct an in-depth analysis of the empirical literature on one of the contemporary theoretical perspectives on leadership (e.g., contingency theory, leader-member exchange theory…).

The project topic should be typed, double spaced, and 1-2 pages long. Only one project topic write-up will be turned in for the whole group. It should include a(n):

  • Title & research question

  • Paragraph description of your project

  • Two or more sources.

  • A brief explanation of each of the two articles, and why they are appropriate for your project.

2. Group Interim Update:
Groups will submit a group project update on October 28. The project update should be typed, double spaced, and 1-2 pages long. Only one project topic write-up will be turned in for the whole group. It should include a(n):

  • Title & research question

  • Paragraph describing the purpose of the project and presenting a preview of how the question will be addressed by your group.

  • Two new sources not included in the project topic assignment.

3. Group Final Presentation:

The ability to communicate effectively is a key leadership competency. The group presentations are designed to give students practice at both peer teaching and oral communication. I strongly encourage use of the Speech Center to prepare for the presentation.

Findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner. In your presentation you should clearly introduce your research question, present empirical research that speaks to your question, and analyze and summarize your findings. Additionally, you will need to discuss the application of your findings, that is, you will discuss the relationship between leadership theory and practice.

Groups are required to use PowerPoint for their final presentation, however, other forms of media may additionally be used (i.e., videos, overheads, audiotapes, handouts). Each presentation should take about 20 minutes and each member in the group is required to participate in the presentation. After the presentation, there will be a 5-minute question and answer period.

Remember, the more engaging and informative the better! In addition to your presentation, you should provide the class with a handout of your presentation. Your classmates should be able to use your handout to study for an exam question on your presentation. If you need photocopies made for class handouts or overheads, please get the materials to me during the class before your presentation date.

4. Individual Paper

I highly recommend consulting the writing center for this element of the assignment.

1. Length and elements: The paper length will be 5 pages maximum (do NOT go over the page limit), double spaced and typed (this does not include your title page, abstract, or references page). You must include a cover sheet with the title of your paper and your name. After the cover page (but before the body of the paper) you must include an abstract, which is a brief, comprehensive summary of the paper, no longer than 120 words. Finally, references should be listed on a separate page after the body of the paper. Margins should be no wider than 1". Please number your pages.
2. Number of references: Your paper should include a minimum of 5 references. Appropriate sources include: (a) research articles from scientific journals (not popular articles such as Psychology Today and Omni) (b) books (but not encyclopedias or textbooks). I want you to use sources that have strong scientific support. You must be able to cite your source according to one of the following formats: MLA, Turabian, or APA.
3. Appearance: All final papers should be stapled, proofread, and easy to read (no fading or smudging of ink).
4. Format: Your paper should follow one of the following formats: MLA, Turabian, or APA. I have included examples of the APA format in this handout. For further information, consult the style manual or visit the following Boatwright Library webpage:
5. Guidelines: Follow the guidelines for your paper as described at the end of this handout.

5. Peer Reviews

Peer reviews (1-2 pages) are an evaluation of what each group member contributed to the group project. Evaluate your group members (including yourself) in terms of how much effort and cooperation they put into the task and any other criteria you feel are important. Be sure to be clear about the criteria you are using to make these assessments. Please assign each group member a letter grade (A-, B, C+, etc). Do not simply inflate everyone’s grade, doing so undermines the importance of this element of the project and will result in your final peer evaluation grade being lowered. Your peer review grade will come from how others perceive you and also from your approach to the evaluation of others.



1. Introduction:
a. Purpose: The purpose, problem, or question to be considered is stated clearly.

b. Interest: The author convinces the reader that the paper is worth reading in an interesting fashion.

c. Preview: The author presents a preview of how the problem will be handled.
2. Body:

a. Analysis: It is clear that an analysis of the literature has been used to support the statements made, and that the assumptions are logical.

b. Presentation of evidence

Integration: If sources contradict one another they are dealt with adequately. Multiple sources are compared if available. A simple listing of information is avoided.

The points are internally consistent, (i.e. one point follows from another), plausible and well supported.

References are recent, high quality, and appropriate to the paper topic (research articles and edited books).

c. Suitability of focus: The problem chosen is focused enough to be adequately covered in the space of the paper, but not too narrow.

d. Organization: Presentation is easy to follow and well organized.

3. Conclusion:

a. The author summarizes the findings adequately, and draws appropriate conclusions.

b. Applications of the findings are discussed.


a. Correct spelling.

b. Grammar and use of words correct (not awkward or inappropriate)

c. Paragraph form: Topic sentences are used to introduce transitions, and the order of transitions is appropriate.

d. Borrowed ideas and statements are given credit (citations used frequently and listed in reference section).

e. The paper is in APA, MLA, or Turabian format.


One possible format for your paper is the American Psychological Association (APA) format. There are specific formats for citing references in the text of your paper, and for listing your references in the reference section. Follow the examples exactly as shown. For further details, please consult the APA manual or the library website.


  • 1 inch margins all around

  • Double space entire document

  • Use 12 point font and left justify all text. Use a professional font (Arial, Times New Roman, Courier).

  • Be sure to transition between paragraphs


  • Header is on all pages starting with title page

  • Header is the first 2-3 words of title, five blank spaces and then the page number.

  • Title is centered on the page (in both dimensions).

  • Capitalize important words of title only.

  • Name and affiliation go under title, centered.

  • Double space the title page. Do not put extra spaces between the title, name, and affiliation.


  • The abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the paper.

  • Should cover: the problem under study, the findings, and the conclusions/implications of the study.

  • Start abstract on page 2.

  • Center the word “Abstract” at the top of the page.

  • Abstract should be 100-120 words

  • No paragraphs or indentations in the abstract (block style).

  • No citations


  • Start on page 3

  • Title of paper goes at the top of the page, centered

  • Start broad - general statement of the problem, then "build your case" (using references not intuitions). Discuss relevant theories

  • At the end it is helpful to offer suggestions for future research.

  • Close with a general statement of what this all means - what is the take home message you want to leave readers with?

  • The format of the end of the paper is the opposite of the intro - you want to start specific and end general.


  • You must give credit to the people who have written the articles you use in the body of the paper. To do so, use reference citations in the text of the paper.

  • When you refer to someone else’s work, don’t simply quote them. For example, under most circumstances the following sentence wouldn’t be acceptable:

Retinitis pigmentosa “refers to a group of hereditary degenerative diseases of the retina” (Heckenlively, 1988).

In this case you would be better off paraphrasing Heckenlively (the author) and then citing him.

  • When a work has one or two authors, cite their names and the date of publication whenever you refer to their work in the text. (Exception: Within a given paragraph, do not include the date after the initial citation unless you are citing other publications elsewhere in your paper by the same author(s)). Join two co-authors in the text with the word "and", but within parentheses use an ampersand (&):

  • According to Smith and Jones (1990), individuals prefer to affiliate with similar others.

  • Previous research has indicated that individuals prefer to affiliate with similar others (Smith & Jones, 1990).

  • If authors have the same surname, always include their initials in each citation.

  • When citing co-author groups of three to five authors, cite all names and the date in the initial citation, but only the first author followed by et al. and the date in subsequent citations.

  • For co-author groups of six or more authors, cite in the text only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the date. If two or more six-author groups shorten to the same surname, cite the surnames of as many subsequent authors as needed to distinguish references.

  • If you cite a work in your text, you must have it listed in your references section.

Some citation examples are as follows:

Citation appearing as part of a sentence:
Jaeger, Anthony, and Rosnow (1980) planted a rumor among college students.
Citation entirely in parentheses:
Lithium carbonate increases the anorectic's intake of fatty foods and thus produces weight gain (Gross, Evert, Goldberg, Nee, & Kaye, 1980).

Multiple citations in parentheses (names are in alphabetical order): Use multiple citations if several articles come to the same conclusions and/or have the same findings. They must be in alphabetical order, beginning with the first citation:
Research has also indicated that a clinician's assessment of a particular person is generally not improved by the use of projective assessment techniques (Golden, 1964; Soskin & Anders, 1959).


  • Start the reference section on a new page.

  • Center the word References at the top of the page.

  • List all references alphabetically by first author's last name. If there is more than one study by the same author, list them in date order (oldest to newest). Use hanging indent for each reference.

  • Only cite materials that were discussed/referenced in your paper. All materials that were cited in your paper must appear in the reference section.

Some examples are as follows (all examples are single spaced to save space):
A journal article with three authors:

2nd and 3rd Authors’ last names and initials (notice punctuation)

1st Author’s first and middle initials (notice punctuation)

1st Author’s last name (followed by a comma)

Rogers, C. R., Wakefield, F. E., & Monroe, W. S. (1964). Toward a modern approach to values. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 68, 160-167.

End with a period

Journal title (capitalized, italicized, and followed by a comma)

Page numbers of the entire article

Here is an example of a journal article with two authors:
Hood, D. C. & Birch, D. G. (1996). Beta wave of the scotopic (rod) electroretinogram as a measure of the activity of human on-bipolar cells. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 13, 623-633.

A journal article with two or more authors:

Feather, N. T., Johnson, R., & Barber, J. G. (1983). Depressive reactions and unemployment. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 92, 185-195.

A popular article:

Bettleheim, B. (1982, March 1). Reflections: Freud and the soul. New Yorker, pp. 52-93.

A book:

Coles, R. (1986). The moral life of children. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press.

An article or chapter in an edited book:

Rohlen, T. P. (1978). The promise of adulthood in Japan. In E. H. Erikson (Ed.), Adulthood (pp. 129-140). New York: Norton.

On-line journal articles: See the following website, and follow their instructions--


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