Selecting the Doctoral Project Topic

The University encourages Doctoral Projects that extend the work of the doctoral candidate’s profession into emerging fields of inquiry which address contemporary issues. The doctoral candidate is encouraged to select a topic that falls within the scope of his or her expertise, interest, and career objectives.

The candidate may select and reject several topics before the right topic finally resonates. Usually, initial ideas in a Doctoral Project are revised several times. There are several reasons why ideas are revised: the topic is too broad; the topic is too narrow; time-limit constraints exist, and/or accessibility of subjects hinders the scope of the study. During the process of selection, it is advisable for the candidate to conduct preliminary library research. For example, exploring Doctoral Project Abstracts for a wide range of research methods is useful. For a Sample List of Doctoral Projects Topics, see Appendix A.

The doctoral candidate will find it worthwhile to spend time researching and possibly rejecting a topic. This process creates a solid foundation for exploring the subject the doctoral candidate initially chooses. Often efforts devoted to those abandoned topics have a way of resurfacing for consideration in future projects.


The candidate will complete a Research Prospectus which is a brief overview of the Doctoral Project, giving the reader sufficient information about the work the candidate is proposing, providing information on how the candidate plans to do the research, and explaining the value of this work. The document is 1-2 pages and will be completed in the first Doctoral Project course, PSY 89997A.

Assignment 3
Select Doctoral Project Topic and Begin Research Prospectus:

Review the Doctoral Project Manual and begin a 1-2 page Research Prospectus.
The Research Prospectus is a brief overview of your Doctoral Project, giving the reader sufficient information about the work you are proposing, about the way you plan your research, and the value of this work. Your Research Topic Proposal should contain the following parts:

Title – This is a brief precise phrase rendering the main problem of your Research Topic Proposal (up to 80 characters spaces included)

Problem Statement– Include the purpose of the project in a clearly defined problem statement. Include the research question(s) you intend to answer. This should be a description of the actual work you are planning to accomplish and concrete ways of doing it (theoretical and research basis).

Importance to Psychology – Describe the value this project’s results may bring to the field of psychology

Historical Background – This is a section where you describe your predecessors’ deeds in the field you are studying now. Note that all information taken from different sources is to be cited and subsequently referenced

Annotated Bibliography – Here is your reference list, where you name all sources you have referred to or cited. Include a summary of the importance of the information to your project rather than a synopsis of what those researchers did. Note that the items should go in an alphabetical order. If you would like help with an annotated bibliography, you may refer to
and an example of an APA bibliography here (use only the APA example and not the MLA example). (This section does not count towards the paper’s length.)

Much can be learned by reviewing a list of topics chosen for Doctoral Projects. See Appendix A for examples of Doctoral Project titles from the Doctoral Project Handbook which is located under the course “Resources” tab.

Refer to your Doctoral Project Manual for further instructions on how to write a Research Prospectus once you have selected a topic.

Assignment Outcomes
Integrate course concepts through the use of the internet
Identify a specific problem or a potential problem or an area for analysis and intervention
Formulate research questions
Demonstrate ethical behavior in regard to information and information technology

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