Guideline to Group Research Project Report

Selection of the firm

You will select a publicly traded OR a private corporation which has business operations in the U.S (referred to as your “target company”). Based on the financial and non-financial information from and about your target firm, you will study its industry and identify the unique factors in this industry that may influence your target company’s performance.

Guideline of the report

The report will be divided into three broad categories (Introduction, research content, and a summary of your conclusions and recommendations) and these will contain several important segments. Each category and segment should be clearly labeled. Each of these generic segments is crucial to a logical and professional summary of your discoveries and conclusions.

Introduction (1-3 pages):

This is a very important part of your report. You could include the following in your introduction section:

  1. Provide a brief history of the company (DO NOT cut and paste data from company site).
  2. Why this particular company becomes your target firm (i.e. Position in the market, achievement and challenge it is facing).
  3. Indicate the industry the firm is in. Provide some environmental context data and explain some major trends and events in the target’s primary industry or industries.
  4. Main businesses (products or services) or business categories (for diversified companies) and their market (local, national or global)
  5. Highlight any general information that will be particularly interesting, informative, and/or decision useful to the reader.
  6. You may review your introduction part by asking yourself: 1. Does the introduction appear long enough? Is it too general, too specific? 2. Does it provide an adequate outline of the order in which the material and analysis will be presented in the following sections?  3. Does the introduction effectively capture interest and attention? Why is this particular firm selected for study?

Central Content (8-12 pages):

This is the essential part of your research report. It should be objective and interpretative. You will report what you have observed and then you will interpret what you believe it means for future operations. The body should be divided into CLEARLY marked sections which are listed below. Although the focus of this section is to present your findings, but your findings need to be supported by evidence. Cite specific details (events, facts, and/or figures) to justify each of your opinions. It is important to include facts and figures (make sure you indicate the source of your data and information). The report should be objective and professional with the appropriate embedding of statistics to instill confidence in the reader of your report.

You may discuss the following aspects of the target firm (please include at least four from the list). Make sure you state your sub-conclusion for each of these discussions:

  1. The change of the general environment shape (re-shape) the industry that the target firm is in
  2. Take an industry analysis (use Porter’s five forces model)
  3. Discuss the competitive rivalry (major competitors) in the market
  4. What are the major S, W, O and T of the target firm?
  5. Define the business-level strategy (three generic strategies) that the target firm is adopting.
  6. Choose at least one corporate-level strategy (diversification, or M&A, or international or strategic alliance) that the target firm is taking and discuss the outcomes of it.
  7. Are there any challenge that the target firm is facing in terms of implementation of their strategies? (you may discuss corporate governance such as Board of Directors, executives, corporate structure and control or innovation about the target firm)
  8. Anything else you feel interesting to discuss about the target firm)

Summary (2-4 pages)

Connect all of the parts of your sub-conclusions by providing a cursory summary of your introduction and your central content section. Then express a series of opinions and an overall conclusion about the target company’s performance. What conclusions have been drawn about the company’s performance and why? It is essential to avoid expressing a series of unsupported opinions or making unsubstantiated statements (make sure it is consistent with your discussion in the second section).

Checklist of the report

  1. A title page with the company name, the group number and all group member names
  2. Page number your report
  3. Not exceeding 20 pages (font size 12, double spaced, excluding appendix and references)
  4. Work cited page (including all online materials)