Research Concept – PLCY 885

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/01/2024

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. Registration

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. 

Course Assignment

Readings, Video Presentations, and Narrated PowerPoint Presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

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

The student will complete a quiz affirming that he or she has access to the HSOG Doctoral Community Canvas page, and that he or she agrees to be bound to all policies contained therein.

Dissertation Abstract Assignment

The student will write a one-paragraph dissertation abstract in current APA 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 APA 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 APA 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 APA 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 APA 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 APA format explaining their research design, including an explanation and theoretical justification for their selected research method.

The student will upload screenshots of his or her official correspondence, securing a Chair and Reader for his or her thesis/dissertation. 

The student will complete the official Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training certification. The student will upload a pdf of his or her completion certificate.

Concept Paper: Data Collection and Interpretation Assignment

The student will write a 5-8 page paper in current APA 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 APA 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. 

The student will give an oral presentation of his or her Concept Paper: Final Assignment. The Oral Presentation must be between 15-20 minutes long and cover all major points of the Concept Paper: Final Assignment.