First & Second Year Papers

Consumer Behavior Students

First and second year students are required to submit a research paper to the Marketing Directors of Graduate Studies (DGSs) by August 31 of each year. These papers demonstrate a student’s ability to identify a quality research topic, to rigorously implement the necessary research activities for bringing the idea to fruition, and to write up the project as a manuscript that might be submitted to a journal. Students are also required to present a summary of their first or second year paper to the faculty and Ph.D. students in early September. 

These papers (and the associated presentations) are important benchmarks in the Kellogg doctoral program. Students must pass the research paper requirement to continue in the program. In some cases, students who fail this requirement may be allowed to revise and resubmit the paper based on discussion and approval by the Marketing DGSs and the department.

When To Start Working On Your Summer Research Paper

Students may start on their summer research papers at any time. Indeed, students are strongly encouraged to start thinking about paper topics as early as possible. An optimal timeline is to develop a proposal and identify a faculty advisor by the start of the winter quarter and complete data collection (if applicable) before the start of the summer. Students are expected to spend most of the summer devoted to working on their research 

Summer Paper Advisors and Readers

Students are expected to identify a Kellogg faculty member whom they think is well suited as a supervisor and to request that he or she serve as the paper advisor. If the faculty member agrees, he or she may serve primarily as an advisor or may take a more active role in the conceptualization and implementation of the work. In any case, the student must make clear and significant contributions to all phases of the project. 

The summer paper advisor (in consultation with the student) will identify two faculty members—a primary and a secondary reader—who will evaluate the final research paper. Usually the first reader is the student’s advisor for the paper.

Core Competencies That a Behavioral Summer Paper and Presentation Should Demonstrate

Below is a list of core competencies that students are expected to demonstrate when developing, writing, and presenting their summer papers.  The competencies listed below are the same for first-year and for second-year papers, but second-year students are expected to demonstrate these core competencies more strongly and clearly. In addition to demonstrating these competencies, students are expected to adhere to the Kellogg Honor Code when developing any projects or research.

Conceptual and Theoretical Competencies

The Capacity for Intellectual Leadership:  Students are expected to independently identify and develop a high-quality research idea for the paper. Although this development can and should occur under the mentorship of a faculty member, students are expected to commit significant energy to idea generation and development.  (Note: this skill is less critical for a first-year paper, where it is acceptable for faculty members to play a more directive role in identifying a topic.)

Expertise in the Relevant Literature:  Students are expected to demonstrate an expert’s knowledge of the relevant prior research, which may include research across more than one domain. This includes demonstrating the ability to critically evaluate prior research, and showing an understanding of the research at a construct level.

The Ability to Develop and Tell a Theoretical Story:  A summer paper should tell a theoretical story that uses prior findings to generate hypotheses of theoretical interest. Taken together, the studies presented in the paper should show some theoretical progress. This theoretical progress can involve connecting disparate literatures, testing a new theoretical deduction, challenging existing theory and/or developing new theory. The studies should also demonstrate robustness (for example, via conceptual replication) and/or address alternative explanations. Students are expected to be able to clearly link study results to the theoretical story.  Note: it is acceptable for results to be unsupportive of the theoretical story. In such cases, students should be able to link to theory by discussing what pattern of results would have supported the story and what can be learned from the results collected.

Technical Competencies

The Skills Necessary to Collect and Analyze Data Effectively and Appropriately:  Students should take primary responsibility for collecting and analyzing data for their summer paper.  This includes demonstrating an ability to design effective studies, to implement the studies, and to use the appropriate statistical techniques. Although there are no specific expectations for how many studies should be implemented and reported, it can be challenging to tell a theoretical story (see above) without presenting and discussing at least two studies.

Project Management Skills:  Students are expected to be the main motivator behind the paper’s progress.  This includes being pro-active about setting up an appropriate meeting schedule with the paper’s faculty supervisor (and, if appropriate, with other faculty).  It also includes establishing and following a research timeline that ensures the paper’s completion by the deadline.

Communication Competencies

The Ability to Write a Clear Academic Paper:  A student’s development of the paper can and should occur under the mentorship of a faculty member. However, students are expected to take primary responsibility for writing the first draft, and should show an ability to communicate ideas clearly in writing.  This includes writing clear hypotheses and abstracts, creating clear tables and figures, and following formatting similar to the formats expected at top journals like the Journal of Consumer Research or the Journal of Marketing Research.

The Ability to Make a Persuasive Academic Presentation:  A student’s development of the presentation can and should occur under the mentorship of a faculty member.  However, students are expected to take primary responsibility for putting together the presentation and for finding opportunities to practice presenting. On presentation day, students are expected to show that they can answer questions effectively, discuss research problems and flaws, and manage their allotted time effectively during a live presentation.