Impacts of Child Malpractice on Cognitive Development Paper

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A research problem is identified from the literature review process and a research question is developed to address the research problem. This is the foundation to a sustainable research study. Once this groundwork is laid, framing the research topic with compatible research procedures is the last step to presenting a research concept.


A research concept paper introduces a research topic before a full research proposal is prepared. Concept papers allow researchers to think about the research process after a thorough literature review has been drafted. Many times full research proposals fall short of demonstrating a research problem or the research topic is not well constructed. A concept-paper approach allows learners to focus on the research topic, research literature, and research problem before proposing a full study. The remaining research features are addressed succinctly to identify the procedure to be used, describe the procedure to be used, and provide a rationale for that procedure.

The goal of completing this assessment is to become proficient at identifying appropriate research topics in the field of psychology. It is also important to understand how to approach the literature. This means that literature searches need to be coordinated to fit the topic. From there, the literature should be deconstructed. The research organization tools are great to populate with the essential components of the literature. The review is crafted from the deconstruction that takes place when using a research organization tool. This is where researchers are responsible for putting the findings together to present a new whole: a new perspective that leads to an understanding of the topic that you wish to bring forward.

The Concept Paper

Include a brief introduction of the research topic and its significance. A road map of the organization of the paper should complete the introduction.


The background of your study is a modified version of your literature review. It reflects the most important points from the main ideas of the literature review. Provide a summary of those main points that highlight the gaps in the literature. This section should communicate the main ideas from the literature review, and it should restate the gaps in the literature, making a smooth transition to the research problem.

The Background section should include three paragraphs addressing the main ideas captured in the literature review.

  • Specifically, address the historical and contemporary understanding of the research problem in the first paragraph.
  • In the second paragraph, address the gap in the research – where the research falls short of addressing your specific interest related to the research topic.
  • The third and final paragraph needs to be a discussion of how the extension of the research concept, as a research study, would address the research problem.

All paragraphs should include 5-7 sentences.

Research Problem

The research problem needs to be an explicit statement about the convergence and divergence in the literature review and a clear declaration of the problem deriving from the gap in the literature. It needs to address what the research literature states we know, what the literature indicates we know, and what we don’t know, based on the published research. This should be a succinct, yet detailed paragraph of 5-7 sentences. The research problem is the impetus for the research question.

Research Question

The research question should accurately reflect the research topic, theory, population, variables, and methodology. It should also address the research problem specifically. State it as a question. Include the hypothesis, null hypothesis, and alternative hypothesis.

Goals and Objectives Goals

Goals and objectives are important to address in a concept paper. It becomes the justification for pursuing research. Anyone reading this research concept would want to understand why this is important and what the goals would be if it were to be pursued as a full research study. State the goals of this study as if you were going to conduct it or pursue a research proposal. Think about the significance of conducting a study like this and the impact it could have (recall that significance was addressed in Assessment 2). State the goals in a succinct paragraph of 4-6 sentences. List the objectives (what the purpose of the study would be) in narrative—minimum of three objectives. You can add more if needed. Cite to support your claims.

Population and Sample

Describe the general population, the target population (include a description of the social setting), and study’s sample. Consider this example when describing the population:

  • The general population (i.e., students with disabilities).
  • Target population (i.e. students with disabilities in one specific district – geographic location).
  • The study sample (students with disabilities in the district that will participate in the study – actual study sample).

Identify the sampling strategy, provide a sample size appropriate for the study design, include a justification. When describing the sample size provide evidence that the sample size is adequate for the research design. You can use the Which Statistical Analysis Should You Use? tool to find the appropriate statistical test. As a general rule of thumb, consider the following:

  • Absolute Minimum: 50 cases or participants applicable to studies that use frequencies/descriptive statistics and parametric statistical tests (t-tests, ANOVA, correlation, regression analysis)—additional requirements related to the use of certain statistical analysis procedures may increase that number. Survey research = 10 subjects per survey question.
  • An a-priori Power Analysis is required to justify the study sample size based on the anticipated effect size and selected design. Include this in addition to using the literature to support your choices.
Methodology and Procedures

Quantitative Research

Define and describe quantitative research. Identify, define, and describe the research design. Provide a description of your instruments: All surveys, tests, questionnaires, experimental procedures, clinical interventions, inventories, and other data-collection tools should appear in an instrument subsection. A forecast of reliability and validity should be presented. Data collection and data analysis strategies also need to be addressed.

  • Instruments. Provide a detailed discussion of the instrumentation and data collection which includes validity and reliability of the data. Describe the structure of each data collection instrument and data sources (tests, questionnaires, interviews, observations data bases, media, etc.). Specify the type and level of data collected with each instrument.
  • Data Collection. Describe the procedures for the actual data collection that would allow replication of the study by another researcher, including how each instrument or data source would be used, how and where data would be collected, and recorded.
  • Data Analysis. Address the what, why, and how of data analysis. Identify what statistical/non-statistical analysis would be used. Discuss why the statistical analysis is the best selection. Demonstrate how the statistical analysis was selected, align with the research question and design.

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