Exploration of Research Problem.
Earlier in this course, you prepared an Annotated Bibliography. Hopefully, the annotated bibliography process
introduced you to the rich conversation surrounding your area of research interest. Then you shared a
preliminary research topic statement and questions with the Community. This assignment asks you to take the
first steps in joining the research conversation by
describing convincingly a specific concern or problem related to leadership development, leader education, or
another aspect of leadership or organizational theory and practice within your area of academic specialization
or work context;
explaining why you find this specific problem compelling; and
arguing that deeper understanding or resolution of this problem will benefit a particular community.
Narrowing a topic into a suitable research problem takes time and extensive reading in the scholarly literature.
You are in the beginning stages of this process. One of the complexities of writing a problem statement is
moving from a topic to finding the issues or problems (yes, plural) within that topic, and then narrowing down
the focus to one general problem, and a specific problem within that. For a visual see the diagram below:
SEE ATTACHED NOTES
Please note that you are not proposing a solution in this paper; rather, through skillfully constructing an
argument that references your reading and draws on appropriate first-hand experience, you are seeking to
persuade your audience that a compelling problem exists, which is supported by evidence from the context,
and evidence from scholarly research.
Content and organization:
Include a section which concretely describes the problem (either the introductory paragraph(s) or the opening
paragraphs of the body).
Form a clearly-stated claim, placed at the end of your introduction, that specifies the problem and articulates
why it should be studied further. (i.e. “The conflict created by X deserves further study because of A, B, C, and
Organize the body of the paper around logically arranged reasons linked to your major claim that the problem
you’ve identified needs further study.
Begin each body paragraph (or set of paragraphs) by restating one of the reasons linked to your claim that the
identified problem needs further study.
Clearly articulate the logical arrangement of major reasons connected to your claim. (e.g. “The most important
reason Problem X needs further study is. . .” [most to least important], or “The first negative effect of Problem X
noted by researchers was. . .” [chronological], or movement from impacting the largest number of people to the
smaller groups, etc.)
Include a section where you explore and respond to alternate viewpoints expressed in the research literature.
Write a conclusion where you briefly summarize your argument and tie your paper together,
Use of evidence:
Reasons are supported and fully developed through specific references to the research literature, facts, or
expert testimony, relying most heavily on research literature.
Research literature is fully incorporated to support and illustrate major points.
Note: Although we don’t specify a minimum number of resources, we do expect all major assertions to be
supported with recent, peer-reviewed research literature. The literature used must specifically support your
assertion, based upon the results of that research.
Consult the attached rubric, the ACU program-wide Writing Rubric, and the Publication Manual for the
American Psychological Association.
Length: Approximately 1500 words
REQUIRED READINGS CAN BE FOUND HERE:
Login details available for an assigned writer
Machi & McEvoy The Literature Review, ch 1- 6
Roberts & Hyatt, The Dissertation Journey, 3, 8
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