The Capella Research Plan and Your Literature Review

Posted December 7, 2017

Students at Capella University are required to complete a research plan (RP) to submit for Scientific Merit Review (SMR) before writing their dissertation. While the RP may feel like extra steps in the process for some, it is actually a very helpful tool that will enable you to easily compose Chapters 1-3 of your dissertation. Additionally, students receive plenty of feedback and support on their RPs, which enables them to produce strong first drafts of their dissertations, often speeding up the process.

In your RP, portions of the literature review of your dissertation are broken down into smaller sections. These sections include the Theoretical Foundations and Contribution to Theory. Additionally, many of the sections that will comprise your Chapter 1 will include literature that can be expanded in your Chapter 2. While Chapter 1 will be mostly completed using information from your RP, your Chapter 2 will need more work.

During the RP stage, your focus will primarily be on content pertaining to the introduction and methodology of your study. However, it can be very helpful to consider literature review organization now as well. The RP section “Research Problem Background” is a great place to start with this. This section serves as a miniature literature review, and thus is a great place to practice synthesizing your sources and organizing your information. There are various elements to each study and the body of literature each student has reviewed. Each of these elements can be represented by different sections of a literature review. For the RP then, try to identify the commonalities between your selected literature and then group related or similar works together. In writing the Research Problem Background, you can organize the information you present based on these groupings, which will help you to keep your writing clear and focused, and will make drafting your Chapter 2 much easier.


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