Writing a Concept Paper

Chapter

Basics of Writing
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Heat it up till it looks right! Learning never ends! Perfect on it! Follow procedures or rather follow your instincts when writing! Remember the C·s - Clarity, Concise, Content and Cohesion

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Chapter

An Introduction
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The concept paper is a foundation or cornerstone of funded project development. Perception! Brainwork! Your approach! Writing or developing the concept paper is often the first act of transforming a creative or worthwhile idea into a reality. Although the vital step even before writing the Concept Paper is having a Business Plan.

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A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.

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The ideology is that you must have a business plan before you start up your business. The business plan is seen as planning and forging ahead for success. A business plan is just like an investment proposal only the audience differs.

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Chapter

An Introduction (contd.)
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Unfortunately, many people think of business plans only for starting a new business or applying for business loans. But they are also vital for running a business, whether or not the business needs new loans or new investments. Businesses need plans to optimize growth and development according to priorities. These are the Basic components of a business plan

I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII.

Executive Summary: This is often written lastly. It·s just a page or two of highlights. Product or Service: Describe what you·re selling. Focus on customer benefits. Company Description: Legal establishment, history, start-up plans, etc. Market Analysis: You need to know your market, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them, etc. Strategy and Implementation: Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budget. Management Team: Include backgrounds of key members of the team, personnel strategy, and details. Financial Plan: This includes profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, break-even analysis, assumptions, business ratios, etc.
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Chapter

An Introduction (contd.)
2
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The concept paper is one of the three key components to beginning a funded project design. The other two key components are developing the budget and finding the funding sources.

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The concept paper is usually a three page document that enables the Executive Committee to assess how well the proposed research fits with the Fund·s interests.

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Chapter

Definitions of a Concept Paper
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A concept paper or pre-proposal is the core document for a technical proposal. The concept paper is generally shorter than a pre-proposal, with the latter reserved for longer proposals. Just as in a position paper, the concept paper or pre-proposal should contain all of the main arguments and evidence you will use to convince your reader to give you something.

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It is a short summary that tells the reader what the project is, why it is important, and how it will be carried out. The concept paper, is sometimes called a prospectus, preliminary proposal, or pre-proposal, it is a useful tool for several purposes. It helps clarify and organize ideas in a written form and provides the basis for a funding search. From the concept paper, an individual is able to develop any number of grant applications for the same idea.

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Chapter

Definitions of a Concept Paper (contd.)
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A concept paper is a concise proposal outlining the products or services to be offered, the market to be served, the competitive potential of that offering in the market, and an exposition of the team's skills as related to carrying out the proposal.

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Concept papers are submitted for review prior to the submission of a full proposal. In recent years federal and state agencies have begun to encourage the use of concept papers as a way for applicants to obtain informal feedback on their ideas and projects prior to preparing a proposal.

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Chapter

Reflect before writing
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Consider the company or organization itself. Think about the nature of the company and whether it will be a typical for-profit company or a private nonprofit venture.

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Develop the services and/or products that the business will offer. Think about how they fit within the community, as well as what local, regional or national needs they address. Develop a unique selling position (USP), which is what your business has to offer that no other does, and what makes it different.

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Analyze the market. Using your USP, think about where your business fits within the current market and develop a marketing strategy to place your business in it. Determine the target market of customers and how you can reach them through advertising.

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Consider the current and future competition. List your business' strengths and weaknesses and compare them to the competitions. Recognize the need for financing. Solicit investors or gather the capital needed to obtain inventory and secure a business location.

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Chapter

Elements of a Concept Paper
5
1. The research topic 2. The statement of the research question that the project will seek to answer. 3. A demonstration of why it is important to answer this research question. What good comes of this answer? Why is this project worth anybody's time? 4. A description of how the researcher plans to answer the research question. This includes:

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a description of the data that the researcher plans to gather or use a description of how the researcher will analyze these data; a demonstration of how these data and this analytic method will answer the research question; and a summary of any ethical issues that may arise in the research process.

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Chapter

Elements of a Concept Paper (contd.)
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5. A statement of the limitations of this research, specifically the things that it cannot discover (and why). 6. Longer projects -- term papers, masters' theses, dissertations, and professional research -- also typically include a selected bibliography.

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Chapter

Designing a Concept Paper
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Description of the Problem/Discrepancy Statement: This is the "what" and "why" of this section. What is currently happening and what should be happening? What is the discrepancy between what "is" and what "should be"?

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Research for Concept Papers: Thereby reviewing the related literature. This is what others have discovered about your problem and the results of studies that have been conducted and published. You must review many articles and cite at least eight in your concept paper that relate to your topic.

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Methods After defining your need/problem and identifying the discrepancy between "what is" and "what should be", you must create a strategic plan to address the problem. This section describes how the research project will be conducted. This is where you will list your goal(s) and objectives and describe your strategies. involved?
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Chapter

Designing a Concept Paper (contd.)
6
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Evaluation Plan: How will you know whether the objectives---and therefore the goal(s)---have been achieved? How will you establish the baseline (the starting point of the problem)? How will you analyze the results? What will you do with the data you collect from these evaluation processes? Will it be used to guide future intervention, for example? How will you report them, and to whom?

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Chapter

7
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Do¶s and don¶ts in writing a Concept Paper
In the long run a concept paper should describe the final, long-term outcome that is expected, and what is to be achieved by the end of the unit, grading period, or the end of the year.

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And also indicate the milestones (or steps) that must be achieved to demonstrate that the goal has been reached. The objectives of the concept paper must be observable and measurable.

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Always use action verbs in your objectives when writing concept papers, such as: match, draw, label, write the answer, tell, complete, point to (or name), calculate and explain in writing, summarize in writing (or verbally), create and publish (e.g., a webpage).

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NEVER use these words in objectives (they are not directly observable and measurable): learn, know, grasp (as in "understand") ("grasp" is fine as an action verb related to the physical holding of an object), appreciate, comprehend, indicate, apply, familiarize, believe, enjoy, like, show, recognize

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Chapter

Research & Writing Procedure
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Research and writing procedure: ‡Collect information and resources ‡Formulate one or more goals and several objectives ‡Select strategies that research shows have been effective and plan procedures ‡Select activities and create a timeline ‡Assemble and prepare materials ‡Introduce and implement the project ‡Monitor progress and the process ‡Identify strengths and shortcomings in the project ‡Correct errors, difficulties, and/or omissions ‡Appraise the project's ongoing and long-term results.

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Chapter

Qualities of a good concept paper
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It should state the problem, need and area of focus that the proposal will address It should identify previous efforts to solve the problem (by yourself, with other faculty members, with other community organizations) and should explain how this effort will be different

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It should outline resources needed (human, physical, or fiscal) It should list goals and objectives It should establish a realistic but ambitious plan of operation It should define the expected outcomes

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Chapter

A Concept Paper Outline
10
Introduction

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Statement of the problem Statement of the solution Brief statement of how the solution will benefit the reader(s)

Background

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Explanation of key terms Proof that you know the issues surrounding the problem Proof that you know what action has been taken to solve similar problems Proof that you (or someone you are associated with) can carry out the action plan

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Chapter

A Concept Paper Outline (contd.)
10
Action Plan and Requirements

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A set of objectives (what your plan will accomplish) An action plan (who will do what when) keyed to the objectives A description of what you need to implement the plan A cost/benefit analysis of the plan

Benefits

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An explanation of why the plan will work A set of outcomes keyed to the objectives A description of how you and the reader(s) will benefit Proof that you are the best person or team to carry out the action plan A statement demonstrating that your plan is the best approach to solving the problem

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Chapter

FAQ¶s
11 

What should be the quantity of pages allowed in writing a concept paper? Truth is that it differs, depending on your topic and how outsized or wide it is an more still it also depends on your clients. 

Is there a general format used when writing a concept paper? Well the format is always flexible depending on the topic and the clients involved but theses key things should be in place;

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Need Goals & Objectives Methodology Problem Statement Resources & Personnel available Budget Keywords 

Is it imperative for a problem statement on the Concept Paper?
Whether Solicited or Unsolicited the problem has to be stated in your Concept Paper.

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