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Introduction to the applied research thesis

The quality of VNP theses has been improved over time in a way that they are becoming highly academic and several of them have been published in international academic journals. Based on this success, this year VNP opens a second gateway to thesis research: The Applied Research Thesis (ART) that aims to systematically solve practical problems at organization where students work. In order words, ART is a new form of thesis that is more practical at organizational level.

ART will be a research that applies economics knowledge and analytical skills to solve a specific problem at an organization. Students at VNP will learn the knowledge of economics, finance and analytical skills, and at the same time learn the way to apply these knowledge and skills to solve practical problems for the organization they are working at. Through ART, students will see how economic knowledge can help decision makers finding evidence-based solutions for problems they are facing. The ART will be a very good opportunity for VNP students to learn the art of combining economics and analytical skills to support decision making process of firms and organizations.

In order to do an ART, students will have to identify the problem their organizations are facing, choose the most appropriate analytical methods, collect data, and perform the analyses. In most of the cases, data is available at their organizations. This process is similar to the Academic Research Thesis (ACT), but there are some differences. The first difference is that the ART does not require a theoretical background. This, however, is not the most considerable difference as some ACTs do not require a theoretical background neither. Second, the ART does not really require a review of empirical studies. Students may want to read some recent empirical studies to learn the analytical methods they used, but the choice of the methods mainly rely on their argument for the suitability of the methods. Most importantly, while the ACT requires students to demonstrate their ability to apply research methods to solve a research problem, the ART requires students to demonstrate their skills of applying research methods to solve a practical problem.

Practical problems for ART may cover a wide range of issues, including consumer behavior, employee productivity and performance, and financial activities. For example, consumer behavior may include pricing and sale strategy, consumer choice and customer loyalty. Issues with employee include wage and benefits, productivity and job performance, employee creativity, job duration, and working conditions. And topics for financial organizations could be the responses of consumers to financial services: online banking, credit card, debt repayment, and many other topics. These practical issues will be applicable to firms such as retailers, manufacturers, service providers, as well as financial institutions and many other types of organizations.

The introduction of ART provides VNP students a new option for doing thesis, besides the conventional ACT. With ART, VNP aims to make economics more active in Vietnam, and expects to help its graduates more competence in the job market.