A concept paper is a helping tool that allows students to fully realise a research project. It is a brief paper outline that comprises all key points before undertaking academic research. It allows a supervisor/advisor to measure the feasibility and relevance of a project. Further, it takes very little time to draft a protocol, but the benefit to researchers is considerable because it prevents the last-minute rush that often results in errors. It saves students from wasting a whole year of research by following wrong direction. It is one of some preliminary steps of undertaking research. Also, it guides students and academicians to choose the shortest, safest and innocuous method to unpin a scientific mystery. This article is all about discussing a concept paper to explain its importance, purpose, and different aspects to effectively write it. This article will also answer frequently asked students’ and academicians’ questions:

What Is Concept Paper? How It Is Different From Research Proposal?

A concept paper is a short academic document composed by a researcher in the planning phase of a research process. It contains all information about nature, goals, purpose and even methods advisable to get closer to the expected outcomes. The content of a concept paper resembles requirements of writing a proposal, but there is a very fine line of distinguishing features between the two. By closely reviewing both types of academic documents, it can be concluded that the main purpose of the concept paper and research proposal is to outline a research plan.

Still, the former aims to convince a reader/advisor/research community that upcoming results are important in many aspects and the desired outcomes can easily be achieved by following a specified work plan. However, a research proposal exceeds in length and details than a concept note. A concept note can be written before writing a proposal for a project, while a research proposal cannot be written before writing a concept note. After research proposal submission, the concept note/paper can no longer remain beneficial for a student. All in all, for making a concept note/ paper, a student only has to make an outline containing key concepts.  

Why Do Students Need To Write Such Papers?

One of the biggest benefits of writing such papers reflecting on an undertaking research project is it maximises the chances of collaboration between researchers working on a combined project. Secondly, it promotes mutual understanding and agreement to complete a project in the most professional manner. Thirdly, many times it offers doctoral student an opportunity to narrow down research focus and get on-time feedback to save plenty of time. Fourth, a clear concept paper not only streamlines the research process but also makes dissertation writing many times easier. Fifth, it highlights all possible hindrances in the path of achieving a scientific goal and also suggests new methods to avoid these. In summary, the purpose of writing a concept note or paper includes increasing collaboration, promoting mutual understanding and agreement, highlighting potential risk factors, and providing timely feedback. 

How Long May Such Papers Extend?

The suggested length of these papers depends on purpose of writing. There are three main scenarios when people need to draft a concept paper before starting bachelor’s and master’s research, for getting admission to a doctoral degree, or for sending a research project to a funding body asking for financial support. In all cases, the length of the paper varies greatly. For starting bachelor’s and master’s research, the paper may comprise only one to two pages. For getting admission to a doctoral degree, the number of pages may exceed 10. Lastly, for sending a research project to a funding organisation, students and academicians can submit papers over 20 pages.

What Is The Right Format And Substance For Writing A Concept Paper?

The right format is of supreme importance in all academic writing processes. It is the key to following the right instruction and incorporating all structural and functional elements at the right time and right place. Thereby, the most practical way to achieve excellence in drafting any formal document is to follow a template that can guide all necessary structuring and formatting details. Considering one of such templates, the following section contains some important formatting guidelines for a concept note or paper by dividing it into three sections:

  • Section 1: Summary page (not more than one page)
  • Section 2: Main body of research paper (vary in length as per the above-mentioned description)
  • And Section 3: Supporting details (regarding research approach, data collection methods, analysis techniques, and proposed outcomes).

What Are The Different Aspects Of Writing A Concept Paper?

Basically, there are six aspects to take into observation while drafting a concept note/ paper.

  • The title pages should contain a problem statement in the form of a question to make it more attractive.
  • Making a quick view of the problem statement in the light of already published literature helps the audience to briefly understand historical perspectives related to a topic of interest.
  • Research questions, hypotheses, and aims or objectives must be productive enough to overarch the design of a complete research project.
  • It must clearly state the specific data outputs that a proposed research plan is supposed to capture (such as qualitative or quantitative).
  • It must straightforwardly state the research methodology, including how data will be collected and which tools can be selected to analyse and interpret the data. The selection of statistical tests and sampling techniques must also be placed in this section of the paper.
  • It must conclude with a final statement regarding the significance of a given research project. The main goal of this statement must be to prove how impactful a research will be.

You can hire a dissertation proposal writing service if you are facing any issues in the completion of the above aspects.

Concluding Remarks:

The above guide gave a detailed overview of different aspects of writing a concept paper. By definition, such papers are short academic documents meant to present a short view of different steps of conducting academic research. Its purposes are to promote collaboration and agreement among different entities of a research project and to predict all possible challenges that may arise while undertaking a research. In summary, the length of a concept paper may range between 10 to 30 pages depending on the purpose of writing and must be divided efficiently into three sections described in heading four. In the end, the article discusses six important aspects of writing a concept paper. Based on the information provided, it can be concluded that concept papers are short research maps, and they should be made to give students a head start in their academic research.

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