CMP-9701L Pre-Candidacy Prospectus

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CMP-9701L – Pre-Candidacy Prospectus

Semester Credits: 3 Weeks: 8

The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is intended to ensure you have mastered knowledge of your discipline prior to candidacy status and demonstrated the ability to design empirical research as an investigator before moving on to the dissertation research coursework. You will demonstrate the ability to synthesize empirical, peer-reviewed research to support all assignments in this course. The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is completed only after all foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed.Week 8: The Completed Prospectus as the Foundation of the Dissertation


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The prospectus, or culminating project, for this course, must demonstrate your comprehension, application, analysis, and integration of coursework and current research in relation to your research interests. In this section, you will integrate all of the work you have completed and the feedback you have received from your professor to present a prospectus capable of being expanded into a dissertation.

Throughout this course, you have developed the foundational elements needed for a successful dissertation. This final assignment should draw on each course learning outcome and concept as you synthesize these elements and corrections based on feedback received into a comprehensive prospectus.

CLO: 1, 2, 3, 4


In the prospectus template provided for this course, draft an Introduction and Background to help introduce your reader to your research idea. The introduction should be 1-2 pages. You may find it helpful to refine and revise the work submitted for the Week 1 Writing Activity. The introduction and background should include the following:

  • A general topic overview establishes the study’s context and orients the reader to the field.
  • Present an overview of why this research topic is relevant and warranted.
  • Briefly explain what research has been done on the topic and why the topic is important practically and empirically.
  • Lead the reader to the problem statement to follow.
  • Write in the future tense when referencing the proposed study.

Continue by adding in other content to the Prospectus Template, per the Criterion table below.

Quality check:

  • Is your information correct on the Cover Page of the template?
  • Is your document formatted correctly? Except for the headings added in Section 2, your document should follow the template precisely.
  • Did you update the Table of Contents? Instructions for this task are available in the Academic Success Center.
  • Do all citations have matching references?
  • Are all references cited in the document?
  • Use the rubric as a guide.
Criterion Meets
Cover Page Format of the page is maintained. All line items are edited.
Table of Contents Table of Contents is updated. All APA level 1 and 2 headings for Sections 1 and 2 are present.
Introduction and Background A clear overview of the study is provided. There is a flow from general to specific of the topic. Major points are adequately supported by the literature. Background information provided to contextualize the topic.
Problem Statement A clear problem is explained and supported through the material in the Introduction, strong evidence is provided and discussed.
Purpose Statement The purpose of the study is described and aligns with the stated problem, a summary of how the study will be conducted is provided.
Research Questions Research question(s) are directly answerable beyond yes/no response, fairly specific and testable based on the data to be collected. Research question(s) are aligned and support the problem and purpose. The core concepts (qualitative) and/or operational variables (quantitative) are included. (Note: if your study is quantitative, add the hypotheses after the Research Questions section.)
Research Method and Design Describe how the research method and design are aligned with the study problem, purpose, and research questions. Describes how the design choice is consistent with the research method.
Section 1 Summary The summary captures the key components of the section.
Section 2
Framework The framework is clearly articulated and aligns with the problem, purpose, research questions, and research method and design. Seminal and current sources are included. The framework aligns with the student’s degree type.
Literature Review Topics include the selected framework and align with the research goals discussed in Section 1. There is no evidence of rhetoric, bias, or agenda. The literature that was consulted is clearly and accurately cited.
Section 2 Summary The summary captures the key discussions in the section.


References and APA References match citations and vice versa. Format is compliant with APA requirements. DOIs are live links. Scholarly tone and voice are appropriate for dissertation research.
Due on May 5, 2024 11:59 PM

Week 7 Writing Activity: Literature Review



This week, you will write (or revise, if you’ve previously written) a literature review. The literature review should:

  • Include definitions of concepts relating to the topic of the research.
  • Add an expanded discussion of the framework identified in Week 4 and discuss the origin of the theory or model used as your framework. How was the framework used originally? How is the framework applied in current studies. Add 3-4 pages.
  • Include historically relevant information.
  • Contain critical analysis (strong and weak arguments).
  • Integrate sources to produce sound arguments and discuss issues related to the topic.
  • Include comparing and contrasting arguments and discussions.
  • Include a summary of the key discussions in the literature. Add a 1-page summary.


  • Apply APA format, writing conventions, and scholarly voice/tone.
  • Do not express your own opinion, agenda, or bias.
  • Include scholarly, peer-reviewed, or primary documentation.
  • 85% of the sources should be 3 years old or newer.
  • 15% of the sources can be a combination of seminal sources older than 3 years, books, cited legal language, and government sources.

Length: 10 pages


This assignment is worth 20 points and is due by Sunday.

Week 6 Writing Activity: Construct Research Questions and Hypotheses



Continue your work on the template provided in Week 2 of the course. Your assignment is to draft two or more research questions. These questions must align with the qualitative or quantitative approach selected earlier in this course.

  • Qualitative: Research questions must be aligned with the purpose statement.  Qualitative research questions should be open-ended and reflect the nature of the qualitative design (avoid yes/no and closed-ended questions). Caution: Qualitative research questions should not be confused with qualitative interview questions.
  • Quantitative: Research questions must align with the purpose statement and include the proposed hypothesis(es). Ensure the research questions and hypotheses are aligned with the purpose statement. The research questions and hypotheses must be directly answerable, specific, and testable based on the data collected. Review the instrument you plan to collect data from or review the secondary data you identified for your study; these items can give you important cues for developing your research questions.
  • Hypotheses (Quantitative Only)

Review the article Developing the Research Hypothesis (Toledo & Toledo-Pereyra, 2011). Both null hypotheses and alternative hypotheses should be stated. Each must directly correspond with a research question.  Hypotheses must be stated in testable, potentially negatable form with each variable operationalized.  Note: Each hypothesis represents one distinct testable prediction.  Upon testing, each hypothesis must be entirely supported or entirely negated.

Length: .5 – 2 pages, depending on the number and type of research questions and whether hypotheses are required.


This activity is worth 10 points and is due by Sunday.

Week 5 Writing Activity: Introduction to the Research Method and Design

Begin this activity by reflecting on your revised problem and purpose statements. Review Figure 1 in Week 3 from Farrelly (2012). Select a method and design appropriate for a doctoral dissertation study.  Quantitative studies must demonstrate both internal and external validity (e.g., large, random samples, statistical power, and representativeness). Qualitative studies must demonstrate validity within the context of the specific qualitative design (e.g., credibility, dependability, transferability, trustworthiness). Replication studies are not permitted. Your summary must address all of the following items.

Access SAGE Research Methods in the university library for a refresher on research terminology.

Continue your work on the template provided in Week 2 of the course and construct a 1-2 page rationale for your research method and design selection. Be sure to include the following discussions:

  • Provide a brief summary of the methodology and the type of data that will be collected. Describe and substantiate the appropriateness of the method to respond to the stated problem and purpose.
  • Provide a brief summary of the research design that substantiates its appropriateness to respond to the stated problem and purpose and includes a description of the data collection procedure and type of analysis.
  • Note how the proposed method and design accomplish the study goals, why the design is the optimum choice for the proposed research.
  • Provide appropriate foundational research method support for the proposed study design; cite seminal scholarly sources.
  • Explain the particular data-gathering techniques and data analysis processes.  Sample size of the study population should be identified and must be appropriate and justified based on the nature of the study design. Quantitative analyses must include justified sample size determination. A brief overview of the study design, variables/constructs, instruments, and analyses is provided based on current literature describing why the proposed method and design were chosen to address the study’s research question(s).
  • Indicate why the selected research methodology and design are the best choices for the study by explaining how they align with the problem and purpose statements as well as the research questions.


This assignment is worth 15 points and is due on Sunday.

Week 4 Writing Activity: Introduction to the Framework


Continue writing in the template provided in Week 2. One way to identify a useful framework for your research is to revisit the articles used for the problem statement. What did those researchers use as a framework for their studies? Would the same framework work (align with) your inquiry? Another option is to recall the theories and models studied in your courses. The framework is about goodness of fit and creating a lens for analyzing data.

For this week’s writing activity in the template provided, create a 2-page, well-synthesized introduction to the framework you will use to shape your study. You will have to use a combination of current scholarly articles (< 3 years old) and seminal sources (the originators of the theory or model).

  • Identify the guiding framework you will use for your study.
  • Present the key concepts, briefly explain the relation(s), and present the propositions relevant to this study.
  • Explain how the framework guided your research decisions, including developing the problem statement, purpose statement, and research questions.
  • If more than one framework is guiding the study, integrate them rather than describe them independently. Do not select a separate framework for each variable or construct under examination.
  • An optional addition to your writing activity: Create a diagram to show how the concepts in the framework link to the problem.
  • Do not exceed two pages.

Length: This assignment must be 2 pages.

References: Include 5-8 scholarly resources.


This assignment is worth 10 points and is due on Sunday.

Week 3 Writing Activity: Create the Purpose Statement


Important TaskBefore proceeding with this week’s assignment, review the problem statement that you submitted last week and the feedback received from your instructor. Revise the problem statement based on your instructor’s feedback. Remember, a dissertation is an iterative process; adjustments, revisions, and edits are part of the process.

Using the template provided in Week 2 of this course, your writing activity is to create a purpose for the study by indicating the intent, goal, and rationale for researching the problem addressed in last week’s assignment.  The purpose statement should begin with “The purpose of this (quantitative or qualitative) (design) study is to…”

Use the following list to complete the purpose statement:

  • Constructs/variables
  • Target population (citation needed)
  • Research setting
  • Sampling frame
    • What are the features of the population of interest (group identity, activity, or position).
    • Consider research ethics and the feasibility of capturing data from the identified population.
  • Sampling method (must align with the stated method)
  • Sample size
    • Justified by scholarly sources and power analysis for quantitative studies.
    • Justified by scholarly sources for qualitative studies.
  • Data analysis process (must align with stated design)
  • Software to be used for analysis (must align with stated design)
  • Closing statement on how the study results may inform practice (applied) or add to theory (Ph.D.)

Before submitting this to your instructor for feedback, review your work and make sure you have addressed each prompt.

Length: Approximately 1 page


This activity is worth 10 points and is due by Sunday.

Week 2 Writing Activity: Create a Problem Statement


Strong evidence (articles published in the past 3 years) will be used to demonstrate the problem you plan to investigate. Articulate a concise problem statement. Include appropriate published or relevant scholarly and peer-reviewed sources to document the existence of a problem worthy of doctoral-level research. Explain the need for and importance of the study. Present the general issue grounded in the research literature that leads to the need for the study. Identify the specific problem you wish to address. The documented problem may be a practical problem or issue in the profession or study context without an acceptable solution. In defining the problem, a clear discrepancy must be drawn between what exists currently and what is desired.  Although an applied study design does not necessarily require generalizability beyond the study site, worthy problems must be relevant and documented beyond any particular study site. Considering the potential negative consequences to the industry, sector, profession,  or stakeholders is necessary if the proposed research is never conducted.


  • Applied/practice-based business research problems should be discussed in the context of the evidence of the local problem and larger population.
  • Ph.D. business problems are framed in the literature beyond a specific site document.
  • Support your assignment with at least five scholarly, peer-reviewed resources.

Before you submit your work, check your problem statement for each of the following:

  • Does your statement begin with “The problem to be addressed in this study is…”?
  • Does your statement logically flow from the written submission from the previous week?
  • Do you clearly identify the problem to be addressed by the study?
  • Did you use current citations (less than 3 years old) to provide evidence of the problem?
  • Did you identify who is impacted by the problem (e.g., individuals, organizations, industries, or society)?
  • Did you identify what is not known that should be known about the problem?
  • Did you identify what the potential negative consequences could be if the problem is not addressed?
  • Is your statement concise (less than 350 words)?

Tips for Success

  • Use APA format and writing style.
  • Use a minimum of 2 recent (published within the last 3 years) scholarly sources to support each assertion or argument. Use UlrichsWeb to verify the peer-review status of your sources.
  • If this is a new topic, devote some time to building the Signature Assignment that is due in Week 7.


This activity is worth 10 points and is due by Sunday.

Welcome to the Doctoral Pre-Candidacy Prospectus!

In this course you will both demonstrate your ability to complete a dissertation and prepare for the dissertation process. You will create a prospectus with examples of your work to demonstrate knowledge of your subject matter and competency in the skills required to attain a doctorate. The prospectus will also include a Dissertation Prospectus in which you will choose a dissertation topic with guidance from your instructor. This will ensure that you are ready to begin writing your dissertation as soon as you enter the dissertation sequence.

To better prepare you for your dissertation work, your instructor for this prospectus course will also serve as your dissertation committee Chair. In that way your Chair will have already gotten to know you when you begin your dissertation and can ensure that your topic and methods are viable.

You have also been assigned your two other committee members, the Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the Academic Reader (AR).  However, you will not be working with these two other committee members until after you have completed this prospectus course. 

Please keep this message so that you have the contact information for all of your committee members when you begin your dissertation. Available faculty Profiles are hyperlinked to faculty names and may be viewed in The Commons.

When writing your assignment, we aim to help you get an A, not just beat the deadline.

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