In this project, you will search for information that will enable you to identify three top trends in the project management profession or field.


In this project, you will search for information that will enable you to identify three top trends in the project management profession or field. Over the course of the project, you will exercise information literacy skills as you locate and evaluate information, and develop well-reasoned conclusions. Reviewing the many sources available to you, you will choose those that are relevant, timely, and helpful to your quest to understand the issues of your industry. 1.) Once you have identified the top trends, you will choose one that is particularly interesting to you or one that you think is the most problematic, and research more deeply to produce an analytical research paper. Your project is intended to prepare the search committee on the issue so that it is well-prepared to interview candidates. This project will prepare you for more complex research projects, as you will refine and hone your ability to create a statement of the problem and find the information you need to produce a well-reasoned, well-supported analysis.

There are four steps that will lead you through this project

Step 1: Conduct Research to Identify Top Trends

  • In this step, you will refine your ability to conduct research for information in academic, public, and web domains. This project will require two different kinds of searches.
  • First, you will perform a brief industry analysis to become more knowledgeable about your industry and how it is classified in national databases. From this initial research, you will learn the codes associated with your industry and you will learn where to find and use business research resources. This should enable you to find more specific search terms to help you find the resources that will help you identify the top trends in your industry. Once you have identified the top trends, you will choose an issue in one of the three top trends and conduct more research to provide an analysis of the issue, its effect on the industry, and how an organization would address this issue – whether to mitigate or to promote – to its own advantage.
*Industry Analysis: There are several industry classification systems used in the United States and North America. The older system, the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, used a four-digit code to classify industries; a newer system, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) uses six-digit codes. The codes can be used to identify firms within a particular sector for purposes of competitive analysis.
*NAICS Codes: The NAICS is designed and maintained by the US Department of Commerce and the US Census Bureau. The system classifies all businesses within the United States, Canada, and Mexico into like groupings. The following graphic shows how the six digits in the code are determined:

This six-digit code would specifically refer to department stores, as a part of the General Merchandise stores, as part of retail trade. We can see how the system works by looking for The Home Depot. Using the NAICS classification system, Home Depot is identified as:

44 – Retail
444 – Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers
4441 – Building Material and Supplies Dealers
44411 – Home Centers
444110 – Home Centers  HOME DEPOT

Using the NAICS code of 444110, a business researcher can find the set of other stores that fit into that specific category. A list of current NAICS codes, revised in 2007 and continuously updated, is available at the US Census Bureau’s website.

NAICS Resources

Once you have a particular company’s NAICS code, you can use an available business intelligence database to determine who the firm’s competitors are. Hoover’s, for example, has exact competitors and their performance and financial information As a UMGC student, you can access Hoover’s through the UMGC library page.


  • HOOVER’s Database
  • UMGC Career Services Presents Career Insider by Vault
  • O-Net SOC
  • NAICS Codes
  • Once you have reviewed NAICS and SOC codes and resources for conducting research and business research, you will do some in-depth searching for industry trends. A trend could be something that you, as an industry insider is aware of, an emerging trend, or it could be a trend that you think is unrecognized or disputed. You will use your resources to provide evidence for the trends you choose, and your initial choices may change as you continue to read more deeply. Scan resources that you found in periodicals, journals, newspapers, industry blogs, and websites to choose the best references to help you devise the top trends. Use industry-specific keywords and industry codes, and take notes on resources as you read because you will be building on this research in the next step when you choose an issue within one of the trends. Record notes from the resources and record the complete citation in APA format After you have identified the top three trends in your industry, you will choose an issue in one of them that is particularly important.


Step 2: Choose an issue to research further

  • In the last step, you used research to identify three top trends in your industry. That was the first part of the project. Now it is time to focus on an issue within one of those trends that you think is noteworthy in your field. This project requires that you review the trends and develop a plan to research the issue further, and synthesize the information you find into a coherent, well-supported analysis. But first, you have to develop a focused research question or statement of the problem. Consider this step similar to the starting point for solving any problem with the scientific method. You first have to identify the problem. Then, when you have researched a bit more, you will form a reasonable assumption (a hypothesis) of what you think might be a potential resolution/answer. You will look for more information that reflects different sides or viewpoints of the issue, and use analytical thinking to arrive at a well-reasoned conclusion. This conclusion may or may not bear out your original first estimate; however, your quest is to arrive at an answer that is well-supported and based on facts. Remember, your objective is to consider the impact of this issue on your industry, so this may be the first step toward a practical solution for your organization.

So, choose an issue from your research on a trend in your industry that has potential for great impact on the field, and then draft a preliminary question or statement of the problem. Your research should reveal if the question has already been answered, or if there is enough information on the topic. Refine your question or statement and submit it to the “so what” test. Will your answer contribute to knowledge about the issue you have selected? Is the question answerable? Remember that in academic work you would normally avoid normative or open-ended questions, which start with the words should or would, or any question that can be answered with a yes or a no.

Step 3: Writing the research paper

In the previous two steps, you performed searches, first to identify industry trends, and then for information about an issue in one of those trends that you consider to be important to your industry. Now, you should be ready to draft your paper.

Review your task. You are to provide a research paper that provides a summary of the three top trends in your industry (with associated NAICS codes). Provide sufficient background for your reader that the trend is clear and supported by resources you have found. Review resources on References and Citations to ensure that you are using in text citations to give credit for the ideas of other authors and to build your credibility as a researcher, neither ignoring sources nor quoting excessively.

*You will develop a paper that accomplishes two objectives:

  • It will identify the three top trends in your industry and your rationale for your choices based on the resources you found.
  • It will discuss an issue within one of the trends that you deem important, based on the current state of the industry, and will be supported by your analysis of facts and a well-reasoned conclusion of what it means to the industry.

Start with an outline and flesh out the main themes with supporting statements. This will become your road map to an organized paper. Draft, sleep on it, and edit. Repeat.

The paper will be five to seven pages, not including your cover page and References page(s), double-spaced, and set up in APA standards. It does not require an abstract.

Your citations, both in text and in References, will be in accordance with the UMGC Library Citing and Writing Portal. Use the left navigation menu to find additional information and examples.

Your headings will follow this general pattern:


        Paper Title (First level position, centered, bold)

        Findings (First level heading, centered, bold)

Top Trends of the _____ Industry (Second level heading, bold, flush left)

An Important Emerging Issue in a Trend and what it means in context to the industry (Second level heading, bold, flush left)

       Conclusions (First level heading, centered, bold)

       References (New page, first level position, bold)


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