introduction to a research topic

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Introduction to a Research Topic


This unit completes the series of assignments geared toward helping you complete the Introduction to a Research Topic paper while gathering supporting information for your Research Proposal PowerPoint Presentation due in Unit 10. The assignments in Units 3 and 5 and the first discussion in Unit 7 have contributed to your final paper, which provides an introduction to a research topic in the area of adult development.

This paper builds on the two previous project assignments. Using your focus, research, and critical analysis of literature, you can now provide a well-rounded idea of the challenges of your chosen topic, refining the topic and multiple factors including diversity, individualism, personal attitudes, myths, stereotypes, theoretical applications to diverse cultures, and legal or ethical issues in the proposed study. As you can see, you have been building this paper over these past units as a foundation for a project, with each component itself having a strong focus.

Refer to the course project description to see how this assignment fits into your course project as a whole.


This final paper will tie all of your research together and present relevant information using terminology specific to your field of study. Your topic should be supported with current research. Equally important for you as a doctoral learner, the project should find a gap in current knowledge or areas in which research is needed. With your heightened awareness of a topic and the outcomes you are anticipating based on your research, consider the additional challenges of such a proposed topic for research. You probably have reviewed information that challenges your perspectives and perhaps has helped you to reposition your ideas concerning the topic. Consider the physical and mental state of people in the relevant age group and how they will be impacted by such research.

By using your skills of critical thinking and the information retrieved from the literature review, your paper proposing a topic for research should contain the following information:

  • Rationale and refinement of the topic with a specific question for research. (One paragraph).
  • Key questions, terminology, and reference to current experts contributing to current research on the topic. (One paragraph).
  • Resources and literature review information that would support further investigation of this topic, incorporating previous research on the topic. (Three pages).
  • Your conclusion as to why this topic is worth investigating and how it will add to the body of knowledge, revise an existing study, or propose a study for the future. (One paragraph). This paper will compile and synthesize the knowledge that you have gathered throughout the course.


SafeAssign (linked in Resources) is a requirement for submitting assignments. When you have an assignment, you must submit it to SafeAssign as a draft. Click the SafeAssign report and review the information. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Have I cited the quotes properly in the paper? This means that you have an author, year, and page number for anything in quotation marks.
  • Have I used my own words or have I taken others’ words and not used quotation marks or otherwise identified that they are not mine? This means that anything that is taken from another course uses quotation marks and is not just copied to appear as your own words. This can be tricky!
  • Have I reused my own work? If you have, you must cite this information as well.

The SafeAssign report will highlight all of this information for you. Look at it, click on the highlighted areas that will show you how your work is taken from another site. At this point, you should make changes and then submit it to the assignments area of the courseroom. Thus, you will need to work a day or so ahead of the deadline to be sure to meet these requirements.


  1. Gather your information from the Unit 7 Draft of Literature Review discussion and the rationale for your topic to provide an introduction to a research study, which could, for example, be the basis of a dissertation. Your paper should make it clear why this topic is relevant, and concisely summarize the need for the research study.
  2. Write a 4-page, double-spaced paper that examines the terminology, current researchers, relevance, and challenges that the topic brings to the field. This paper should include a completed literature review, based on the draft that you submitted in the Unit 7 discussion. Note: You cannot use word-for-word information from your other assignments. These will be identified by SafeAssign as existing resources. Therefore, you need to use that information in a new format—a final paper. Your resources and the information you have gathered will support this paper, but this final paper constitutes more than just a literature review or a critique of sources. You need to synthesize this material coherently to complete this final paper.
  3. Consider information on diverse groups, ethical and legal issues, and refutations of your material in relation to the question you are proposing.
  4. Provide a specific, concise statement of your research topic, spelling out the question or questions that you expect it to answer.
  5. In your conclusion, explain how the results of this research will add to the current body of knowledge, revise an existing study, or propose a study for the future. Be specific about the question or question it will answer that other studies have not—what is often referred to as the gap in knowledge.
  6. Describe the stakeholders who might be most interested in learning about this topic for research, and explain why they would be interested. This step is often referred to as justifying the importance of the topic.
  7. Provide a title page and reference page with a minimum of five scholarly resources, peer-reviewed resources.
  8. Now reread your draft, and make any changes or additions needed after you:
    • Review the scoring guide to make sure that you are addressing the criteria that will be applied to grade your paper.
    • Review the additional requirements in this assignment to make sure that you have met them as well.

Additional Requirements

Scholarly writing also includes communication that is academic and uses APA formatting. For this course, a defined set of APA expectations was created for you to use, located in the Resources. The paper you submit should have all of the following APA formatting considerations:

  • APA title page.
  • Four-page, double-spaced paper.
  • Level one and two headings.
  • Conclusion.
  • References.

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