An Introduction Guide to Developing a Flawless Research Concept Paper

An Introduction Guide to Developing a Flawless Research Concept Paper

A research paper is the most important aspect for the completion of the doctoral degree. As a doctoral student, you are expected to choose a potential problem, find possible solutions and pen down the key results of the results. But before proceeding with the research paper writing process, you need to prepare a catchy summary of your research and explain how it contributes to your field of study. This summary is known as a concept paper.

A concept paper is a document that summarizes what the research is about, how you intended to conduct it, and why is it essential. It includes topic under study, hypothesis, research questions, data collection & analysis approaches. The concept paper developed prior to the research paper lays a solid foundation for the research paper. It also provides an opportunity for doctoral students to define their study focus and obtain early feedback. 

A concept paper is of two types: implicit and explicit paper

  1. Implicit concept paper – This type of concept includes casual information which otherwise is excluded in traditional prototype theory. 
  2. Explicit concept paper – It includes definitional and syntactic information. Besides, it may also consist of statistical and causal information. 

How to pen down a concept paper?

Crafting a concept paper goes beyond possessing an idea about it. A winning concept paper caters as a development tool and summarizes the planned research paper precisely. 

Some of the elements to include in the concept paper are:

  • Title page 

Provide a title to your research paper that acts as a standalone statement. The title should describe the central idea of the research paper and summarize the whole study. It should also determine the variables under study and the relationship between the variables. However, avoid using jargons or words that are misleading.

  • Purpose/rationale of study 

This section of the concept paper should introduce the research problem that you wish to investigate, the reasons behind choosing the specific problem and describe why your results are valuable. Statistical data or any other supporting document can be added in this section to emphasize the need of your study. 

Tip: Prior to including the research problem, consider why do you think the problem is important, how it relates to the previous studies, how a link between the study objectives and hypotheses is established and what are the theoretical & practical implications of your study. 

  • Preliminary literature review  

Literature review section identifies the critical materials that support and validate your study. This section should focus on the aspects that support new research and provides a provision to synthesize and analyze the information from previous studies. The literature should connect the present research with theoretical models of the existing studies. Remember, a great concept is developed on the basis of range of literature review which is condensed into key points. 

  • Goals  

This section should include goals and objectives of your study. It should describe ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘who’ regarding your study goal. For example, an objective might be to offer high-quality training to students and a goal may be improving the academic performance of students. 

  • Methodology  

Also, known as project activities or action plan, methodology section suggests the best approach and technique to perform research and data analysis. The methods must be selected on the basis of empirical evidence and must be reasonable & cost-effective. Also, the objectives and goals must align with the chosen research methods. 

  • Timeline & budget 

Highlight the critical elements of each stage and outline the time required to complete your research. Also, mention the central budget category, amount required to perform the research and how the amount will be used during the research process. 

  • References 

Include the references used to develop the concept paper. Cite them in the formatting style demanded by your University or institute. 


In response to ‘studies to improve the texture of butter’, a randomized controlled trial was proposed to determine the type of butter prefered by the middle-age individuals. The study addressed the goal of identifying the consumer preferences and why those preferences have withstand in the market. 

Approximately 11 million middle-age (25-40) individuals consume butter everyday. The butter consumption declined gradually with the increase in the age. It was hypothesized that age-related issues reduced the butter consumption. 

The goal of the project was to understand the butter texture & taste preferences and to analyze the hypotheses on age related issues and changes. 

In the first year, 2 groups of individuals of different ages (25-40) will be subjected to the experiment. The participants of group 1 will be served butter from brand 1 in sandwich form twice per week. Similarly, participants in group 2 will be served butter from brand 2 twice per week. After a month, the groups were switched and the study will be continued in a similar manner. 

The time required to complete the experiment would be three years and the budget required is estimated to $ 180,000. 

Depending on the field of study, a concept paper can range between 2-3 pages to 10-20 pages. Determine the requirements of your field of study and craft a niche concept paper.

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