Research Prospectus in Education Policy – PLCY 842

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 02/10/2022

Course Description

The course is designed to develop research skills, culminating in the development and approval of a research concept. The research concept approval process is under the direct supervision of the student’s dissertation chair. The research concept must be written and approved prior to enrollment in dissertation courses.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course requires students to complete a research concept paper, consisting of a problem statement, literature review, research question, and research design. This is designed to lay the foundation for the student's dissertation. 

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: 

  1. Identify the chief components of a research concept paper or prospectus. 
  2. Draft a research concept paper that will prepare them to move to the dissertation phase of their studies. 
  3. Defend their scholarly choices within each component of the research concept paper, and in their research concept paper as a whole. 

Course Assignment

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview. 

Dissertation Abstract Assignment

The student will write a one-paragraph dissertation abstract in current Turabian format that offers a clear and concise summary of their planned research project.

Concept Paper: Problem Statement Assignment

The student will write a one- or two-paragraph problem statement in current Turabian format that introduces the general topic of their research, defining the problem to be addressed, summarizing existing research, explaining shortcomings of existing research, and concluding with a focused statement about the contribution the student’s research will make to this problem.

Concept Paper: Annotated Bibliography Assignment

The student will preparan annotated bibliography in current Turabian format consisting of at least 30 peer-reviewed academic sources relevant to their proposed dissertation research.

Concept Paper: Literature Review Assignment

The student will write a 14-16 page literature review in current Turabian format, based on the literature included in their annotated bibliography, that explores existing literature related to the student’s proposed research topic, identifying the central insights, themes, and/or gaps that support the student’s research proposal.

Concept Paper: Research Question Assignment

The student will write a one- or two-paragraph research question in current Turabian format that defines a clear, feasible, significant, and ethical research proposal.

Concept Paper: Research Design Assignment

The student will write a 5-8 page paper in current Turabian format explaining their research design, including an explanation and theoretical justification for their selected research method.

Concept Paper: Data Collection and Interpretation Assignment

The student will write a 5-8 page paper in current Turabian format explaining the data on which their research will be based, including issues related to the method, manner, and feasibility of data collection; the population(s), data set(s) or other location(s) from which the data will be collected; and the coding of data and/or definitions of key terms.

Concept Paper: Final Paper Assignment

The student will prepare a research concept paper in current Turabian format that consists of a compilation of revised versions of their: 1) Problem Statement Assignment; 2) Literature Review Assignment; 3) Research Question Assignment; 4) Research Design Assignment; 5) Data Collection and Interpretation Assignment. The final research concept paper should incorporate feedback given to the student in all previous assignments and should blend each of the components of paper into an intellectually coherent whole. The completed research concept paper should be approximately 30 pages.