All students are required to pass the qualifying research paper requirement before taking the General Examination. The purpose of the paper is to provide early experience in conducting and reporting research. Satisfactory progress on this requirement is also an important input in assessing the student’s progress in the doctoral program. The paper must be approved by a faculty committee and must be presented at a departmental research workshop. Ordinarily, the topic of the paper should be identified by the end of the summer following the student’s first year, and the paper should be completed and approved by the faculty committee by the end of the student’s second year in the doctoral program.
During the first year of course work, the student should begin to identify specific research interests. The qualifying research paper provides a focal point around which the student can develop research interests into research skills. The student, with the guidance of his or her faculty committee, learns how to transform a research idea into a research design, carry out the research design, write a paper, and present the paper to colleagues. When properly planned, the qualifying research paper may be a precursor to the dissertation and often provides an opportunity for publication.
The type of research conducted in the qualifying paper will vary depending on the student’s interest and area of concentration. The student should check with the departmental Ph.D. Coordinator regarding the specifics of the qualifying paper requirement, and the process of faculty review and evaluation of the paper.
Note: Any research conducted involving human participants must have prior approval by the University Institutional Review Board.