For this course, I will accept three different types of original research papers: case study, empirical analysis, or theoretical analysis. Your paper should have a clear link to what we cover in this course (lectures and readings).
(b) Focus on a common feature of modern markets Examples: role of new technology, government regulation
After choosing one of the two general approaches above, you should decide whether you want to do a case study, an empirical analysis, or a theoretical analysis within that general approach.
(a) A Common Practice of Modern Firms
Select a firm practice that interests you. In preparation for undertaking the research, you should evaluate the industries and major firms to which this practice appears to be important. Compare and contrast: why is this practice more prevalent in one industry than another? Why does firm X adopt this practice more than firm Y?
Brainstorming in this manner should lead you to some interesting research topics.
For a case study, you should examine a particular instance of this practice by a firm (or a select group of firms) in an industry. In general, you should pick an instance where the practice raises some public policy concerns. As you are choosing a single instance, I will expect a detailed, micro-level analysis, along the same lines as the case studies presented in The Antitrust Revolution.
For an empirical study, you should collect data on firms and/or industries in which these practice occur in differing amount or form. Use the data to measure either the determinants of the practice (what are the factors that lead firms to adopt this practice) or the impact of the practice on firm/industry performance. An ideal paper would examine both. The main constraints would be  the availability of relevant data and  familiarity with econometrics and econometrics software.
For a theoretical study, you can do one of two things: you can either write a literature review on the recent models proposed by academic economists to explain some aspect of the chosen
firm practice or write your own model (can and most likely will be an extension of an existing model). The first option will require you to read and synthesize quite a few academic papers, some of which will be technical in nature. The second option will require you to gain familiarity with the analytical tools of modern economics, including constrained optimization and game theory.
(b) A Common Feature of Modern Markets
This approach is similar to (a) above but focuses on a market feature instead of a firm practice.
The paper should be approximately 6 pages (doubled-spaced, 12-point font, and 1-inch margins).