Proposal Formats: Research Papers

Research (or empirical) papers present the results of quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods studies or report the findings of studies that use historical or philosophical methods. These studies are based on original data collection or secondary data analysis. Final research papers should not be longer than 30 double-spaced pages (excluding references, tables, and appendices). Research paper proposals should describe studies that are fairly mature both conceptually and methodologically, ideally with some preliminary data analysis and findings that are suggestive of the impact and significance of the research.

Research paper proposals should describe as many of the following as are applicable, preferably in this order:

  • Study objectives or purpose;

  • Theoretical or conceptual framework;

  • Study methods or modes of inquiry;

  • Data sources or evidence;

  • Preliminary results or conclusions; and

  • Study significance.

Research paper proposals will be evaluated on:

  • Contributions to knowledge (that is, the extent to which the study addresses an important problem and gap in current knowledge);

  • Originality of the work;

  • Quality of theoretical or conceptual frameworks and data sources, if applicable;

  • Soundness of the research design, analysis, and/or interpretation;

  • Reasonableness of the conclusions and implications;

  • Overall clarity of the proposal (e.g., quality of writing, organization of ideas, clarity of assumptions, logic of arguments, etc.); and

  • Evidence that the research is near completion and that the paper will be completed by October 18, 2017.


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