Research Design

Table of contents

This chapter describes the various types of data gathered and how the data was evaluated in this study. Operational definitions, assumptions, limitations, and research procedures are also described in this chapter. Thesis Statement The study will investigate market demand for project management degree programs by surveying project managers and employers in the East Tennessee and North Georgia regions.

Research Questions

Research Question 1

Do project managers recognize a need to pursue advanced degrees or PMP® certification in order to advance their careers as project management professionals?

Research Question 2 To what extent do employers in East Tennessee and North Georgia give hiring preference to applicants for project management positions who have advanced degrees in Project Management and/or PMP®® certification?

Operational Definitions

Employer Demand: The sum of responses to the Employer Survey.

Employee Demand: The sum of responses to the Employee Survey.


This study makes the following assumptions:

  1. Sample: The sample adequately represents the population.
  2. Measurement: Respondents answered the questionnaire honestly. Participants understood the instructions and the questions on the survey.
  3. Length of time for the evaluation: The participants had sufficient time to answer the questionnaire.
  4. Realism of conditions: The survey asked questions of real-life human resource personnel and project managers.


Obviously, many factors go into the hiring of new project managers, and in the perception by project managers of a need to improve their skills. While human resource managers may state a preference for hiring certified project managers, the day-to-day reality may be that other factors have more influence in the hiring decision. Therefore, the survey of hiring managers participants may reflect a “wish-list” response to the survey rather than a real world hiring policy.

Those participating in the project manager survey may have a fantastical dream of achieving a PMP®® certification or advanced degree in Project Management, and therefore respond positively to survey questions, while in reality they would not actually commit to the time and effort involved in obtaining an advanced degree and PMP®® certification.

Research Procedures


The area under study will consist of 30 human resource managers at larger companies in the East Tennessee and North Georgia region, and 30 individuals either currently employed as project managers or actively seeking positions as project managers. Sample All persons in each group will be surveyed. This sample will completely represent the population.


Two surveys will be created: One to measure the preference among human resource managers for filling project management positions with persons having advanced degrees in Project Manager and/or PMP® certifications, and another survey to measure the interest among current and potential project managers for advanced degrees and/or PMP® certification.

Data Collection

Each participant will be provided with a printed survey and asked to complete it within a period of one week. Response Level The target will be 60 total participants, 30 in the human resources area and 30 project managers. Procedures for Analyzing Data Write about how the survey responses were analyzed. Each step of the procedure used to analyze the data is written down and described (how did you test the hypotheses)? This section is like writing a how-to manual or cookbook.

The surveyor examined and inspected all surveys for consistency. The completed surveys were collected and segregated into two groups, each group representing either employees or employers. Percentages of the total were compiled for each type of response for each question. A comparison was then made between employees who answered positively and those who answered negatively. The resulting data was used to test each of the hypotheses.

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