# Milestone 1 only – decision analysis research paper

Milestone 1 ONLY:

Topic:         What type of schools have   undergraduate students that need to borrow the most amount of subsidized and   unsubsidized loans?

Data Source 2: Census   data re: county populations

Milestone One: Choose a Data Set and Formulate Decision Analysis Research Question

In Milestone One, you are to provide an abstract describing your decision question and high level approach. Consider this abstract as the information that your peers will read and determine if they want to read more. It needs to include a statement of your decision question, what your premise is, and how the data will be used to support the analysis.

The information that follows are additional notes for Milestone One:

In terms of data, the data will lend itself to a decision-making scenario with discrete outcomes. As additional information on how to select your data, first think about the course materials and what you have learned so far about the types of situations that lend themselves to decisions under uncertainty. Then, use the table of student projects as a seed to see what other people have worked on in the past.

Selecting your data set is step one, but it also overlaps step two, which is formulating a research question. Decision analysis research questions are best stated as a discrete set of choices to be analyzed. A good decision analysis research question also possesses the following hallmarks:

· It has clarity of purpose by being framed as a discrete set of choices to be analyzed.

· It is concise.

· It is appropriate and can be answered with decision analysis techniques.

· Its parts are relevant to each other.

· It has not been answered before, or the variation from existing works is great enough to make it a novel line of inquiry.

· It is open-ended enough that it may lead to new research questions.

· But it is closed enough that direct answers are possible, even if they may not be found by this round of analysis.

Here are two references that will guide you in writing a good decision analysis research question: Writing Research Questions, What Makes a Good Research Question? The discussion forum is also available to ask the instructor and classmates about your research question. The guiding light, however, should be what interests you most and makes you want to investigate.

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