How to Write a Concept Paper
A concept paper is about the in-depth analysis regarding an intangible thought, theory, or idea. Concept examples include fear, authorship, unemployment, education, etc. The goal of writing a concept paper is to explain a particular idea to the audience objectively. If your audience doesn’t have the knowledge about the issue, your job should be to inform them. If your audience has some knowledge, your job is to add new things into the discussion. Usually, a concept paper discusses a controversial topic which could be interpreted in various ways. Below are the steps for writing a concept paper.
- Pick your concept. If your instructor did not assign a particular concept, you have the freedom of deciding the topic. You should choose a subject that is related to the course your concept paper is for. Your concept should illuminate the topics which have been discussed in your class. It also always helps if you choose a subject that you are familiar with or interested in researching on.
- Research your concept. You should spend no less time to research about your topic than actually writing your paper. While doing the research, you should gather informative and objective information. The materials you research should be a mix of scholar journals, books, professional websites and interviews.
- Refine the topic. When you pinpoint the concept, it helps for limiting the possibilities of your research, otherwise the research might feel overwhelming and infinite. For instance, if environmentalism was your original concept, after you conducting the research, the concept should become more specific such as solar energy applied in a certain field.
- Outline your paper. A basic outline includes an introduction, a body part, and a conclusion. Comprise your introduction into a brief and accepted definition of your concept, a thesis statement, your addition to the concept definition, and a description of what you are going to say in the paper. Your body part includes cause and effect, definitions, and the comparison of examples for helping your audience understand your chosen concept. Your conclusion includes a summary of your paper, a restatement of your thesis, and a wrapping up sentence at the end.
- Write each section at a time. By doing so, you will be able to break down the essay into smaller and manageable chunks. While writing the paper, you should keep the thesis statement at the forefront the whole time. Remember that your concept paper should be descriptive and informative, instead of persuasive.
- Edit and revise your paper. Look for contradictions in your paper and any other major problems that might exist in the paper. You can do grammatical edits at the last draft. It also helps if you ask a few other people to read your paper and give you some feedback.