Proposal Formats: Scholarly Papers

Scholarly (or non-empirical) papers are essays that present well-developed arguments on philosophical, theoretical, or practical problems in the study of higher education. They are not required to adhere to an empirical research design (e.g., methods, data collection, and data analysis). Instead, scholarly papers pose critical questions, synthesize divergent bodies of literature, or elaborate new theoretical or conceptual frameworks.

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

  • Objectives or purposes of the inquiry;
  • The philosophical, theoretical, or practical argument and its bases;
  • Literature, sources, or evidence to support the argument/analysis;
  • Conclusions and implications of the argument; and
  • Importance of the argument for higher education.

Scholarly paper proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • Contribution to knowledge (that is, the extent to which the paper addresses an important problem and gap in current knowledge);
  • Originality of the work;
  • Quality of the analytical argument, including how well the argument fits or challenges the extant literature;
  • Persuasiveness of the conclusions;
  • Overall clarity of the proposal (e.g., quality of writing, organization of ideas, clarity of assumptions, logic of arguments, etc.); and
  • Evidence that the paper will be completed by October 18, 2017. 

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