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Creative Nonfiction: An Overview
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This resource provides an introduction to creative nonfiction, including an overview of the genre and an explanation of major sub-genres.
The Creative Nonfiction (CNF) genre can be rather elusive. It is focused on story, meaning it has a narrative plot with an inciting moment, rising action, climax and denoument, just like fiction. However, nonfiction only works if the story is based in truth, an accurate retelling of the author’s life experiences. The pieces can vary greatly in length, just as fiction can; anything from a book-length autobiography to a 500-word food blog post can fall within the genre.
Additionally, the genre borrows some aspects, in terms of voice, from poetry; poets generally look for truth and write about the realities they see. While there are many exceptions to this, such as the persona poem, the nonfiction genre depends on the writer’s ability to render their voice in a realistic fashion, just as poetry so often does. Writer Richard Terrill, in comparing the two forms, writes that the voice in creative nonfiction aims “to engage the empathy” of the reader; that, much like a poet, the writer uses “personal candor” to draw the reader in.
Creative Nonfiction encompasses many different forms of prose. As an emerging form, CNF is closely entwined with fiction. Many fiction writers make the cross-over to nonfiction occasionally, if only to write essays on the craft of fiction. This can be done fairly easily, since the ability to write good prose—beautiful description, realistic characters, musical sentences—is required in both genres.
So what, then, makes the literary nonfiction genre unique?
The first key element of nonfiction—perhaps the most crucial thing— is that the genre relies on the author’s ability to retell events that actually happened. The talented CNF writer will certainly use imagination and craft to relay what has happened and tell a story, but the story must be true. You may have heard the idiom that “truth is stranger than fiction;” this is an essential part of the genre. Events—coincidences, love stories, stories of loss—that may be expected or feel clichéd in fiction can be respected when they occur in real life .
A writer of Creative Nonfiction should always be on the lookout for material that can yield an essay; the world at-large is their subject matter. Additionally, because Creative Nonfiction is focused on reality, it relies on research to render events as accurately as possible. While it’s certainly true that fiction writers also research their subjects (especially in the case of historical fiction), CNF writers must be scrupulous in their attention to detail. Their work is somewhat akin to that of a journalist, and in fact, some journalism can fall under the umbrella of CNF as well. Writer Christopher Cokinos claims, “done correctly, lived well, delivered elegantly, such research uncovers not only facts of the world, but reveals and shapes the world of the writer” (93). In addition to traditional research methods, such as interviewing subjects or conducting database searches, he relays Kate Bernheimer’s claim that “A lifetime of reading is research:” any lived experience, even one that is read, can become material for the writer.
The other key element, the thing present in all successful nonfiction, is reflection. A person could have lived the most interesting life and had experiences completely unique to them, but without context—without reflection on how this life of experiences affected the writer—the reader is left with the feeling that the writer hasn’t learned anything, that the writer hasn’t grown. We need to see how the writer has grown because a large part of nonfiction’s appeal is the lessons it offers us, the models for ways of living: that the writer can survive a difficult or strange experience and learn from it. Sean Ironman writes that while “[r]eflection, or the second ‘I,’ is taught in every nonfiction course” (43), writers often find it incredibly hard to actually include reflection in their work. He expresses his frustration that “Students are stuck on the idea—an idea that’s not entirely wrong—that readers need to think” (43), that reflecting in their work would over-explain the ideas to the reader. Not so. Instead, reflection offers “the crucial scene of the writer writing the memoir” (44), of the present-day writer who is looking back on and retelling the past. In a moment of reflection, the author steps out of the story to show a different kind of scene, in which they are sitting at their computer or with their notebook in some quiet place, looking at where they are now, versus where they were then; thinking critically about what they’ve learned. This should ideally happen in small moments, maybe single sentences, interspersed throughout the piece. Without reflection, you have a collection of scenes open for interpretation—though they might add up to nothing.
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How to Write a Concept Paper
Last Updated: March 20, 2023 Fact Checked
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If you’ve got a great idea for a new product, program, or service, writing a concept paper is one way to seek funding for it. Concept papers describe the purpose and projected outcomes of the project, and are delivered to potential sponsors. To create a successful one, use clear, passionate language that expresses why your project matters, and who will benefit from it. Above all, show the sponsor that the goals of your project match up with the kinds of initiatives they want to support.
Sample Concept Papers
Establishing the Purpose
- For instance, you could start off your paper with an attention-grabbing statistic related to your project: “Every year, 10.5 million pounds of food go to waste due to one common pest: rats.”
- Giving your concept paper a descriptive title, like “Lock the Rat Box: Humane, Hands-Free Rodent Control,” is another good way to grab their attention.
- Try something like: “The Savco Foundation has long been committed to funding projects that foster healthy communities. We have developed Lock the Rat Box as an easy, cost-effective means to lower illness rates and sanitation costs in municipalities, and are seeking your support for the project.”
- For instance, your concept paper could include a statement like: “Rats are a nuisance, but also a serious vector of diseases such as rabies and the bubonic plague. Municipalities across the United States spend upwards of twenty million dollars a year combating these issues.”
- Include references to verify any data you cite.
Explaining How your Concept Works
- For instance, your project may involve building a prototype device to humanely trap rats.
- Your methods might also involve activities. For instance, you may propose advertising programs to educate communities about rat problems, or sending investigators to study the extent of the issue in various communities.
- Try using statements like: “While previous governmental services have explained rat infestations via poster, radio, and television campaigns, they have not taken advantage of social media as a means of connecting with community members. Our project fills that gap.”
- For example: “February 2018: sign a lease for a workshop space. Late February 2018: purchase materials for Lock the Rat Box prototype. March 2018: conduct preliminary tests of the prototype.”
- Other assessment tools could include things like surveys to gauge customer satisfaction, community involvement, or other metrics.
- Personnel, including any assistants
- Equipment and supplies
- Consultants you may need to bring in
- Space (rent, for example)
Reviewing the Draft
- If the application requests a particular format, follow the directions exactly.
- Otherwise, type your paper in a standard font at a readable size (12 point is good), number your pages, and use reasonable margins (1 inch all around is fine).
- For instance, avoid statements like “We believe that our product, Lock the Rat Box, could potentially help certain municipalities at least control rat infestations.”
- A stronger statement would be: “Lock the Rat Box will curtail rat infestations in any mid-sized municipality, and completely eradicate them in many cases.”
- If you are writing for a general, non-expert audience, ask someone unfamiliar with your project to read your concept paper and tell you if there were any parts they did not understand.
- Have someone who has not previously read your concept paper take a look at the final draft before you submit it. They’ll be more likely to catch any lingering errors.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.aub.edu.lb/ogc/Documents/Writing_Concept_Paper.pdf
- ↑ https://ovpr.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2557/2018/09/How-to-Write-a-Concept-Paper.pdf
- ↑ https://www.ias.edu/sites/default/files/media-assets/Guidance%20Doc_Concept%20Paper.pdf
- ↑ https://www.umass.edu/cfr/grant-writing/guidelines-letter-intent
About This Article
To write a concept paper for a new product, program, or service, start with a descriptive, attention-grabbing title. Then, explain why you’re approaching the sponsor by describing what your project goals have in common with their company mission. Next, describe the problem you want to solve, and the methods you’ll use in order to solve it. Additionally, include a timeline for implementing your methods, and a preliminary budget with a list of the estimated costs. Finally, end your paper with a short summary reiterating your project’s purpose. For more advice, including how to make your paper stand out with proper formatting and action-oriented language, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Academic Writing and Creative Writing
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More Alike Than You Might Think
W hen you think of academic writing, what comes to your mind? Thesis statements? Topic sentences? Boring? While most answers could be considered correct, I bet you didn’t jump to the thought of creative writing. But I am here to change your mind.
Few of us think of creative writing and academic writing as similar. However, the two are much more related than initially meets the eye. Academic writing involves entering a conversation and trying to convince the other side that you are correct through specific rhetoric and an intentional argument. You produce good academic writing by creatively coming up with a way to convince your reader that you are correct. This construction requires creativity because writing is a science and an art. Any art form is creative, and academic writing is no exception. Academic writing is creative writing. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let me give you some specific reasons why academic writing should be considered creative.
- Academic writing allows us to enter into a greater conversation . It’s true that academic writing is not creative writing in the sense that we get to construct our own story as we please, but academic writing does allow us to construct our own argument and choose a rhetorical style to best demonstrate our point. We get to engage with something greater than ourselves when we write.
- Any type of writing is an art form with each sentence being crafted for a specific purpose . Because there is no one way to write, it becomes a creative process of puzzling together your syntax and your argument. English is unique in the way that is does not have one equation to solve to get the correct answer. Rather, it’s a process of explaining something in the most beautiful way possible. Writing is something you craft; no matter what type of writing it is, it’s an art.
- You are in complete control of what you say . Any time you have the freedom, the responsibility, to put original thoughts on a paper, it becomes a creative process. Good academic writing is not boring. It’s an opportunity to see your thoughts come to life. If you do it well, it’s something to take great pride in. It becomes a work of art that you created. It’s original to you, and that is something to be proud of.
One of Ouachita’s beloved English professors, Dr. Benjamin Utter, argues for this very concept by stating, “Make no mistake, my friends, academic writing can also be—indeed, must also be—creative writing!”
When we start to think of academic writing as a form of creative writing, the task changes from an obligation to an opportunity. We are now given the chance to completely control our input into a greater conversation in a style that is completely our own. Hopefully, I have changed the way you think about academic writing, and the next time you are given a paper to write, it’s met with just a little more excitement. Let me ask you again. What comes to mind when you think of academic writing?
Haylee Cannon is a junior English education major; in spring 2021, she is available for sessions 7-9 PM on Mondays.
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Q: What is the importance of a concept paper?
I need to understand only the importance.
Asked by Editage Insights on 06 Feb, 2020
A concept paper is a brief paper outlining the key aspects of a study before undertaking the study. It is meant to provide an idea of the study. Thus, it helps the supervisor assess whether the study is relevant, feasible, and worthwhile. If not, they may suggest studying a different research question. It also helps the supervisor gauge your understanding of research, and therefore, if you are likely to need support (and if so, how much) in conducting the study. To know about other aspects of a concept paper, you may refer to the following resources:
- What is a concept paper?
- What should I write in the background of the study in a concept paper?
- What are the three strategies in elucidating a concept paper?
Answered by Editage Insights on 07 Feb, 2020
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- Statement of the problem
- Background of study
- Scope of the study
- Types of qualitative research
- Rationale of the study
- Concept paper
- Literature review
- Introduction in research
- Under "Editor Evaluation"
- Ethics in research
- Review paper
- Responding to reviewer comments
- Predatory publishers
- Scope and delimitations
- Open access
- Plagiarism in research
- Journal selection tips
- Editor assigned
- Types of articles
- "Reject and Resubmit" status
- Decision in process
- Conflict of interest
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166 Great Concept Papers Topics To Choose From
We often get students that want to know “What is concept paper?” A concept paper is basically a trial run. Students write a paper about what it is they want to research and write about. Concept paper examples that have earned high grades, across all subjects, show that they don’t go more than 3 pages in length. The key to writing a great concept assignment is to consider several concept paper ideas and concept papers topics and choose the one that is interesting and manageable given any restrictions.
Table of Contents
Great concept analysis papers for high school, concept analysis papers for college courses, concept paper topic ideas for graduate courses, interesting concept analysis paper topics, nursing concept analysis paper ideas, describe a topic idea or concept, research concept paper topics for a quick project, concept essay topic ideas for a presentation, writing a concept paper.
The first thing students need to consider when doing an assignment is what makes a good topic to research and write about. Students can spend hours searching online for ideas. But this can put them at risk of turning in late assignments. We are a professional educational writing and editing company that knows how hard it can be to come up with a great topic. This list of concept essay topics is free to share and customize for any type of assignment at any level:
Students in high school should consider these topics for a concept essay because they are easier to research and write about, allowing students to get the hang of this type of assignment:
- Equality among races in the workplace.
- The rights afforded to criminals before prosecution.
- The meaning of freedom in the 21st century.
- The way technology influences human interaction.
- Ambition among today’s youth and the future of business.
- Modern popular music and its impact on America’s youth.
- Love in the modern age and its impact on how people view relationships.
- Men and women in the 20th-century professional world.
- The meaning of pessimism in today’s society.
- The commercialization of sports and paying student-athletes.
- Television culture and the impact it has on young people.
- Classic television shows of the 1960s and the lost art of storytelling.
- The Olympics and the impact they have on athleticism.
- The ways power impacts political decisions and public policy.
- The effects health has on the public and its behavior.
- Sports and their impact on public perception.
- Impact of chemical use in creating products.
- Concept analysis of the fake news phenomena.
- The problems with Big Pharma’s public interests.
- Concept analysis of the efforts made to stop human trafficking.
This set of conceptual paper topics are more challenging and will require more in-depth research. Begin with a background search on the web, and then head to the library to find trustworthy resources:
- Resume writing in the U.S., Canadian, and European markets.
- The impact modern artists have on modern cultures.
- Concept analysis of the current healthcare system in the U.S.
- The best methods to reduce the gap between classes.
- The impact of technology facilitating the mapping of our cities.
- The ways gender roles are portrayed in different
- The one-child policy in China and the influence it has on the World.
- Physical therapy to help elderly patients recover from injuries.
- The differences between the Harlem Renaissance and the Compton Renaissance.
- Evolution of music throughout the digital age.
- The concept of starting a business in today’s economy.
- The concept of political parties accepting cash from corporations.
- The portrayal of minorities in the media and common culture.
- The effectiveness of yoga and stretching exercises in preventing injury.
- The impact that international music will have on future generations.
- The concept of organizing a study group to improve grades.
- An analysis of the biggest political decisions in the last half-century.
- The concept of religious donations for political reasons.
- Concept analysis of the use of marijuana to treat cancer patients.
- The effectiveness of athlete training programs in professional sports.
In most cases, the best thing to write about is a topic you already have some background in. These ideas might fit your needs so that you don’t need to put in too much extra work:
- Low socio-economic areas and high crime rates among the population.
- Social causes of depression and suicide among teens.
- Freedom of Press in the age of technology and the 21st century.
- Concept analysis of doctor-assisted suicide in the United States.
- The sense of community and belonging in American society.
- The concept of winning championships and the effect on local economies.
- Privileges and increased opportunities in modern society.
- Concept analysis of statistical relevance in business decisions.
- Class, gender, and race in the United States.
- Predicting social confidence in children starting school.
- The purpose of the press in disseminating information to the public.
- Concept analysis of isolated teenagers and the increased risk of violence.
- The concept of social capital in the professional world.
- Ethical theories in the medical field.
- Social interaction among teenagers in the time of social media.
- The importance of mental health for professional athletes.
- The social impact that printing more money has on society.
- The impact on education when teachers force their products on students.
- The ways online learning degrees have changed how people view education.
- Concept analysis of the most important business skills.
Students should be able to present a high-level assignment on any given topic When it comes to choosing a project, they are more likely to stick with interesting ideas:
- Socialist governments and the provision of services to their citizens.
- Maintaining a healthy weight during college.
- Setting up a website to increase a company’s brand awareness.
- Utilizing statistical information toward gambling in sports.
- The ways social inequality passes from generation to generation.
- Concept analysis of social mobility in the 21st century.
- The state of social and economic justice in the United States.
- Maintaining social distancing in a post-Covid-19 world.
- Concept analysis of monarchies around the world.
- Travel is a great way to broaden one’s thinking and perception of the world.
- Working from home to improve productivity.
- Balancing work life and personal life for mental health.
- Keeping a clean workspace to increase productivity.
- Exercising outside for better physical and mental health.
- Ethnic differences in wealth and health.
- Concept analysis of the relationship between financial security and health.
- Business management skills in education to prepare for the future.
- Anti-discrimination laws and their impact on people with disabilities.
- Concept analysis on the skills it takes to be a politician.
- Analysis of the laws and the people that write them.
If you are interested in the nursing field and have several weeks to work on a project, there is a lot of background information you can find online and in medical journals to put together a great paper:
- Concept analysis of patient-centered care in healthcare facilities.
- Concept analysis of healthcare coverage in the United States.
- Concept analysis of the challenges nurses face with limited resources.
- Concept analysis of the pay rates in nursing.
- Concept analysis of the ethics nurses must follow to provide adequate care.
- Concept analysis of the quality of care in nursing homes.
- Concept analysis of having nursing oversight committees at healthcare facilities.
- Concept analysis of restricting nurses from working overtime.
- Concept analysis of the use of technology in the nursing field.
- Concept analysis of ongoing education in the nursing field.
- Concept analysis of the treatment of patients with dementia.
- Concept analysis of the relationship between nurses and patients.
- Concept analysis of the effectiveness of home nursing.
- Concept analysis of the relationship between nurses and doctors.
- Concept analysis of the healthcare afforded to student athletes.
- Concept analysis of the challenges on effective maternal care.
- Concept analysis of current nursing practices.
- Concept analysis of educational quality in the field of nursing.
- Concept analysis of the nursing profession and overall health information.
- Concept analysis of how nurses influence healthy weight in people.
This fresh list of concept paper topics cover a wide variety of subjects and can be thoroughly researched by going online and then heading to the library for trustworthy resources:
- Describe the impact fracking has on the environment.
- Describe the effect self-driving vehicles will have on public safety.
- Describe why no one should be allowed to use cell phones while driving.
- Describe what the new NCAA NIL rules will do for college sports.
- Describe how investing in alternative energies affects the economy.
- Describe how the NCAA negatively impacts academic performance.
- Describe the effect the #MeToo Movement had around the world.
- Describe how the death penalty stops people from committing heinous crimes.
- Describe the consequences of genetic engineering.
- Describe the impact noise pollution has on mental health.
- Describe the best methods for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Describe a sports record that will likely never be broken.
- Describe the dangers of genetic cloning of extinct animals.
- Describe the impact illegal immigration has on a country’s services.
- Describe the importance of having physical education in the school system.
- Describe the effects of too much internet use.
- Describe how social media sites violate a person’s personal information.
- Describe the impact a mandatory vaccination rule in schools could help society.
- Describe the affect GMOs have on people.
- Describe the impact governments have by addressing climate change.
These ideas are geared toward students that have just a few days to work on a project. Still, there is ample research to be done and students must commit several hours to complete these topics:
- Students and their rights to pick preferred subjects early in life.
- Internet limitations for people under the age of 18.
- Making college education free to everyone.
- The impact that commercializing business will have on future generations.
- The importance of learning a second language.
- The economic impact smoke bans will have.
- The effects federal policy will have if people allow younger voting.
- The impact conscription laws have on the youth.
- Concept analysis of Americans diets versus European diets.
- Concept analysis of early tobacco commercials on America’s youth.
- Concept analysis of the modern celebrity.
- Analysis of the United State’s interactions with corrupt countries.
- The advantages a Western educational experience offers Asian students.
- The government’s role in funding social movements against policy.
- The government’s authority to ban same-sex marriages.
- The impact that lowering the voting age will have on a nation.
- Current school policies in the United States.
- Concept analysis of the efforts being made to reverse global warming.
- The effect a ban on cloning technology will have on medicine.
- The effect that wasting time at work has on the economy.
If you are putting together a presentation, the following concept papers topics can be easily researched and put together for academic or professional audiences:
- The impact that making abortion federally legal has on the economy.
- The ways that putting a smoking ban in public buildings will improve public health.
- The negative impact of drinking sugar-filled energy drinks.
- The effects an alcohol ban would have on modern society.
- The effects of year-round school schedules.
- Concept analysis of inclusion programs in school.
- The different effects the Industrial Revolution had on Europe and America.
- The impact of raising the drinking age to 25 in the U.S.
- Taxing the alcohol industry more to combat alcoholism.
- The impact homework has on learning.
- Deforestation and the impact it has on nations’ economies.
- The impact global warming has had on the rise of natural disasters.
- Concept analysis on the pros and cons of globalization.
- The definition of being a great politician in today’s world.
- The fairness of anti-discrimination laws.
- Concept analysis for the way the U.S. punishes politicians that break the law.
- The effectiveness of gun control in the United States.
- The ability to overturn jury decisions through appeals.
- Concept analysis for keeping security guards in the school.
- The overregulation of society.
- The influence the U.S. and China have in deterring WWIII.
- The impact the U.S. has had on global eco systems.
- Concept analysis of commercials aired during children’s programs.
- The effect limiting television time will have on children.
- Concept analysis of the current school schedule.
- Concept analysis of equal treatment among children.
After you have chosen a concept paper topic that you are comfortable with, it’s time to get to the hard work. Now, how to write a strong assignment that gets you a high grade? These five steps should help simplify the process:
- Step 1: Start with a Research Session. After selecting a concept paper topic, start searching for material on the web. This will show you what the current issues are. Thereafter, head to the school library and find supporting information from trustworthy resources.
- Step 2: Use an Example of Concept Paper. When you put together an outline for your paper, you should have a look at an example so you can understand the proper structure and can align your notes to fit what is required in this type of assignment. You can find examples on the web or we can provide one for you written from scratch.
- Step 3: Write a First Paper Draft. As soon as you have an outline, it’s time to start writing the first paper draft. Refer to outline often, fleshing out the basic ideas and following the order in which you have listed them. Try not to stop to make corrections or to come up with the perfect word or phrasing. Write as quickly as possible.
- Step 4: Revise Your First Draft. Because you are encouraged to write the first paper draft quickly, you will want to spend some time away from your work so that you can make revisions with a fresh perspective. Reimagine your arguments, and consider how you can improve them by adding, removing, or rearranging content.
- Step 5: Make Final Edits and Proofread. Finally, you’re ready to make final edits and proofread for mistakes. These two exercises should be done separately. Edit for word choice and sentence structure. You want your ideas to come through clearly and concisely. Then proofread for errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Our expert writers and editors are ready to help college and university students create high-quality assignments at a cheap price. But don’t let our low-cost services fool you; our professional writers are among the best in the business. We guarantee you will get the top-notch research paper writing help you need to achieve academic success.
What are the topics in the concept paper?
Some topics in concept paper include the increase in crime rates in low socio-economic areas and the social causes of depression and suicide among teenagers. Other topics to consider include the influence of Freedom of the Press in the 21st century or doctor-assisted suicide in the United States.
What are the 3 types of concept papers?
There are two types of concept papers, namely implicit concept papers and explicit concept papers. An implicit concept paper is like a prototype. It is meant to store casual information that conventional papers usually omit. Explicit concept papers include both casual and statistical information about a particular subject.
What is a concept paper example?
A concept paper example can include questions on how social confidence can be predicted in children starting school or the role of the press in spreading information to society. Others include the concept analysis of isolated teens and the rising risk of violence, social capital in the business world, and analyzing ethical theories and practices in medicine.
What are some interesting concept paper topics about education?
Some concept paper topics about education include the impact of teachers using force on students and how online learning degrees have changed educational perspectives.
Are there any interesting concept research paper topics?
Some interesting concept research paper topics can focus on the challenges of maintaining a healthy weight as a college student, the use of statistics in sports gambling, and social mobility in the 21st century. Other topics include whether socialist governments provide enough for their citizens and how social inequality is passed down from generation to generation.
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How To Write a Concept Paper for Academic Research: An Ultimate Guide
A concept paper is one of the first steps in helping you fully realize your research project. Because of this, some schools opt to teach students how to write concept papers as early as high school. In college, professors sometimes require their students to submit concept papers before suggesting their research projects to serve as the foundations for their theses.
If you’re reading this right now, you’ve probably been assigned by your teacher or professor to write a concept paper. To help you get started, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide on how to write a proper concept paper.
Related: How to Write Significance of the Study (with Examples)
Table of Contents
What Is the Concept Paper?
1. academic research concept papers, 2. advertising concept papers, 3. research grant concept papers, concept paper vs. research proposal, tips for finding your research topic, 2. think of research questions that you want to answer in your project, 3. formulate your research hypothesis, 4. plan out how you will achieve, analyze, and present your data, 2. introduction, 3. purpose of the study, 4. preliminary literature review, 5. objectives of the study, 6. research questions and hypotheses, 7. proposed methodology, 8. proposed research timeline, 9. references, sample concept paper for research proposal (pdf), tips for writing your concept paper.
Generally, a concept paper is a summary of everything related to your proposed project or topic. A concept paper indicates what the project is all about, why it’s important, and how and when you plan to conduct your project.
Different Types of the Concept Paper and Their Uses
This type of concept paper is the most common type and the one most people are familiar with. Concept papers for academic research are used by students to provide an outline for their prospective research topics.
These concept papers are used to help students flesh out all the information and ideas related to their topic so that they may arrive at a more specific research hypothesis.
Since this is the most common type of concept paper, it will be the main focus of this article.
Advertising concept papers are usually written by the creative and concept teams in advertising and marketing agencies.
Through a concept paper, the foundation or theme for an advertising campaign or strategy is formed. The concept paper can also serve as a bulletin board for ideas that the creative and concept teams can add to or develop.
This type of concept paper usually discusses who the target audience of the campaign is, what approach of the campaign will be, how the campaign will be implemented, and the projected benefits and impact of the campaign to the company’s sales, consumer base, and other aspects of the company.
This type of concept paper is most common in the academe and business world. Alongside proving why your research project should be conducted, a research grant concept paper must also appeal to the company or funding agency on why they should be granted funds.
The paper should indicate a proposed timeline and budget for the entire project. It should also be able to persuade the company or funding agency on the benefits of your research project– whether it be an increase in sales or productivity or for the benefit of the general public.
It’s important to discuss the differences between the two because a lot of people often use these terms interchangeably.
A concept paper is one of the first steps in conducting a research project. It is during this process that ideas and relevant information to the research topic are gathered to produce the research hypothesis. Thus, a concept paper should always precede the research proposal.
A research proposal is a more in-depth outline of a more fleshed-out research project. This is the final step before a researcher can conduct their research project. Although both have similar elements and structures, a research proposal is more specific when it comes to how the entire research project will be conducted.
Getting Started on Your Concept Paper
1. find a research topic you are interested in.
When choosing a research topic, make sure that it is something you are passionate about or want to learn more about. If you are writing one for school, make sure it is still relevant to the subject of your class. Choosing a topic you aren’t invested in may cause you to lose interest in your project later on, which may lower the quality of the research you’ll produce.
A research project may last for months and even years, so it’s important that you will never lose interest in your topic.
- Look for inspiration everywhere. Take a walk outside, read books, or go on your computer. Look around you and try to brainstorm ideas about everything you see. Try to remember any questions you might have asked yourself before like why something is the way it is or why can’t this be done instead of that .
- Think big. If you’re having trouble thinking up a specific topic to base your research project on, choosing a broad topic and then working your way down should help.
- Is it achievable? A lot of students make the mistake of choosing a topic that is hard to achieve in terms of materials, data, and/or funding available. Before you decide on a research topic, make sure you consider these aspects. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort later on.
- Be as specific as can be. Another common mistake that students make is that they sometimes choose a research topic that is too broad. This results in extra effort and wasted time while conducting their research project. For example: Instead of “The Effects of Bananas on Hungry Monkeys” , you could specify it to “The Effects of Cavendish Bananas on Potassium-deficiency in Hungry Philippine Long-tailed Macaques in Palawan, Philippines”.
Now that you have a general idea of the topic of your research project, you now need to formulate research questions based on your project. These questions will serve as the basis for what your project aims to answer. Like your research topic, make sure these are specific and answerable.
Following the earlier example, possible research questions could be:
- Do Cavendish bananas produce more visible effects on K-deficiency than other bananas?
- How susceptible are Philippine long-tailed macaques to K-deficiency?
- What are the effects of K-deficiency in Philippine long-tailed macaques?
After formulating the research questions, you should also provide your hypothesis for each question. A research hypothesis is a tentative answer to the research problem. You must provide educated answers to the questions based on your existing knowledge of the topic before you conduct your research project.
After conducting research and collecting all of the data into the final research paper, you will then have to approve or disprove these hypotheses based on the outcome of the project.
Prepare a plan on how to acquire the data you will need for your research project. Take note of the different types of analysis you will need to perform on your data to get the desired results. Determine the nature of the relationship between different variables in your research.
Also, make sure that you are able to present your data in a clear and readable manner for those who will read your concept paper. You can achieve this by using tables, charts, graphs, and other visual aids.
Related: How to Make Conceptual Framework (with Examples and Templates)
Generalized Structure of a Concept Paper
Since concept papers are just summaries of your research project, they are usually short and no longer than 5 pages. However, for big research projects, concept papers can reach up to more than 20 pages.
Your teacher or professor may give you a certain format for your concept papers. Generally, most concept papers are double-spaced and are less than 500 words in length.
Even though there are different types of concept papers, we’ve provided you with a generalized structure that contains elements that can be found in any type of concept paper.
The title for your paper must be able to effectively summarize what your research is all about. Use simple words so that people who read the title of your research will know what it’s all about even without reading the entire paper.
The introduction should give the reader a brief background of the research topic and state the main objective that your project aims to achieve. This section should also include a short overview of the benefits of the research project to persuade the reader to acknowledge the need for the project.
The Purpose of the Study should be written in a way that convinces the reader of the need to address the existing problem or gap in knowledge that the research project aims to resolve. In this section, you have to go into more detail about the benefits and value of your project for the target audience/s.
This section features related studies and papers that will support your research topic. Use this section to analyze the results and methodologies of previous studies and address any gaps in knowledge or questions that your research project aims to answer. You may also use the data to assert the importance of conducting your research.
When choosing which papers and studies you should include in the Preliminary Literature Review, make sure to choose relevant and reliable sources. Reliable sources include academic journals, credible news outlets, government websites, and others. Also, take note of the authors for the papers as you will need to cite them in the References section.
Simply state the main objectives that your research is trying to achieve. The objectives should be able to indicate the direction of the study for both the reader and the researcher. As with other elements in the paper, the objectives should be specific and clearly defined.
Gather the research questions and equivalent research hypotheses you formulated in the earlier step and list them down in this section.
In this section, you should be able to guide the reader through the process of how you will conduct the research project. Make sure to state the purpose for each step of the process, as well as the type of data to be collected and the target population.
Depending on the nature of your research project, the length of the entire process can vary significantly. What’s important is that you are able to provide a reasonable and achievable timeline for your project.
Make sure the time you will allot for each component of your research won’t be too excessive or too insufficient so that the quality of your research won’t suffer.
Ensure that you will give credit to all the authors of the sources you used in your paper. Depending on your area of study or the instructions of your professor, you may need to use a certain style of citation.
There are three main citation styles: the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and the Chicago style.
The APA style is mostly used for papers related to education, psychology, and the sciences. The APA citation style usually follows this format:
The MLA citation style is the format used by papers and manuscripts in disciplines related to the arts and humanities. The MLA citation style follows this format:
The Chicago citation style is usually used for papers related to business, history, and the fine arts. It follows this citation format:
This is a concept paper sample provided by Dr. Bernard Lango from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (modified for use in this article). Simply click the link above the download the PDF file.
- Use simple, concise language. Minimize the use of flowery language and always try to use simple and easy-to-understand language. Too many technical or difficult words in your paper may alienate your readers and make your paper hard to read.
- Choose your sources wisely. When scouring the Internet for sources to use, you should always be wary and double-check the authenticity of your source. Doing this will increase the authenticity of your research project’s claims and ensure better data gathered during the process.
- Follow the specified format, if any. Make sure to follow any specified format when writing your concept paper. This is very important, especially if you’re writing your concept paper for class. Failure to follow the format will usually result in point deductions and delays because of multiple revisions needed.
- Proofread often. Make it a point to reread different sections of your concept paper after you write them. Another way you can do this is by taking a break for a few days and then coming back to proofread your writing. You may notice certain areas you’d like to revise or mistakes you’d like to fix. Make proofreading a habit to increase the quality of your paper.
Ruth Raganit obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Her love affair with Earth sciences began when she saw a pretty rock and wondered how it came to be. She also likes playing video games, doing digital art, and reading manga.
6 thoughts on “ How To Write a Concept Paper for Academic Research: An Ultimate Guide ”
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Thank you, this is way much easier to understand.
thanks get alot
Thanks for this. Sobrang helpful at mas madaling gumawa na may guide na ganito. Kudos!
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Concept Papers: What They Are and How to Write Them?
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What Concept Papers Are
Concept papers are summaries of projects or issues that reflect the interests, experience and expertise of the writer or organization. Concept papers generally serve the purpose of providing in-depth discussion of a topic that the writer has a strong position on, usually with the intent of obtaining funding for that project from donors. The terms "concept paper" and "proposal" are often used interchangeably as they can be used for the same function. The concept paper may also be used as an instructional tool that may have developed as a result of extensive research, committee input and/or as a result of the outcome of a current project. In addition to providing guidance for implementation of a program, a concept paper could also discuss best practices, philosophies and other related issues that the writer believes action should be taken on in the near future.
How to Write Concept Papers
In the cases where the concept paper is written with the intent of receiving funding, most grantors publish guidelines that instruct the writer(s) on how to write the concept paper that they will consider funding. Despite the individual guidelines that may be published, the format and many of the key elements are consistent between organizations. Therefore, it is suggested that writers develop "boilerplates" or standard templates of concept papers that they can personalize and submit based on specific guidelines. This practice eliminates the extra time added to the process by completely starting a new concept paper from the beginning each time. For concept papers that are used more as an instructional or educational tool, the format may be similar with the exception of the exclusion of charts, graphs or budgets that may be geared toward the solicitation of funding.
Concept Papers - Writing Steps
There are steps to concept paper writing that are universal and can be applied in most situations in order to develop the boilerplate. First and probably most important, the writer must ensure that the mission, requirements, funding patterns and other specific information about the target grantor or audience match with those of the organization or individual project in need of funding or assistance. Grantors are very specific about what types of organizations and projects they do and do not fund so, it is important to understand that thoroughly in advance to avoid wasting time. The second step would be to summarize the project by stating the problem to be discussed/solved, the goal of the project, the objectives, the anticipated outcomes, procedures for determining whether the goals and objectives have been achieved, the population served and the theoretical model upon which the project is based. Third, the writer must develop a list of references that discuss the model to which the project will be directed. Fourth, there should be a budget developed for the project, if applicable. This would include all billable costs associated with planning and executing the project. Whether the concept paper is for the purpose of obtaining funding or merely for the purpose of conveying information, a budget may be necessary if there are costs and resources associated with the project, such as hours devoted to research and information gathering. The fifth step could entail obtaining the necessary approvals by individuals authorized to do so prior to submission. In the case of a purely informational concept paper, this may be committee input. This step may occur much earlier in the process. In addition, one must consider the timing and deadlines that submission of the concept paper must adhere to. Expect deadlines to be strict whether funding is being sought or not. There may be a bit more flexibility in due dates for those concept papers that are designed solely for disseminating information.
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