The Concept Paper initiates the dissertation phase of a doctoral degree, which follows the completion of necessary coursework and training and represents a culmination of the student’s learning.The dissertation is a student’s final academic effort to synthesize course material by applying their learning to a research project.
A strong Concept Paper is based on a wide-range literature review that is condensed into a summary of key points.
Goal Statement — provides a broad or abstract intention, including the research goals and objectives.
The title should concisely identify the variables being investigated and the relationship among those variables (American Psychological Association [APA], 2010).
Words should serve a useful purpose; avoid words that do not add substance or words that are misleading.
Questions are based on theory, past research, and need.
These questions will direct the research methodology; their inclusion in the Concept Paper links the research problem with the methodology.For some, composing the research questions may be the most difficult part of the research project, or possibly the most difficult aspect of writing the Concept Paper.The questions will direct everything that will be done; therefore, it is important that they are focused to the main research problem.Preliminary Literature Review — provides identification of major literature that supports and validates the topic.The literature review focuses on areas that offer support for new research and offers the student an opportunity to analyze and synthesize past research in the context of their present problem.This part of the Concept Paper tells the reader “who, what, and when” regarding the research goal.Research Questions — provides a preliminary view of the questions the student will investigate. The Concept Paper lays the foundation for the applied dissertation process, providing an introductory form of communication between the doctoral student and the doctoral committee.Essentially, the Concept Paper acts as a tentative proposal; it allows the doctoral student the opportunity to define a research focus and obtain early feedback on the research idea.Title page — provides a tentative title for the dissertation.The title of the Concept Paper should be a stand-alone statement that can fully describe the project by summarizing the main idea of the manuscript.