I understand that Capella University’s Academic Honesty Policy (3.01.01) holds learners accountable for the integrity of work they submit, which includes, but is not limited to, discussion postings, assignments, comprehensive exams, and the dissertation. Learners are expected to understand the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work as specified in the APA Publication Manual, 6th Ed. Serious sanctions can result from violations of any type of the Academic Honesty Policy including dismissal from the university.
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I have read, understood, and abided by Capella University’s Academic Honesty Policy (3.01.01). I further understand that Capella University takes plagiarism seriously; regardless of intention, the result is the same.
This Research Plan form, version 2.42, must be completed and reviewed before taking steps to collect data and write the dissertation. In the School of Business and Technology, its satisfactory completion satisfies dissertation milestone 5, indicating that the RP proposal has passed the “scientific merit review,” part of the IRB process.
Before going any further, review carefully the Research Plan Instructions, v2.4, available on iGuide. It will be difficult to complete the RP without using the Instructions.
Specialization Chair’s Approval after Section 1
When you have completed Section 1 along with initial references in section 8, send the RP to your mentor for review. When your mentor considers it is ready, he or she sends it to Dissertation Support to forward to your specialization Chair. The Chair approves the topic as appropriate within your specialization. You then go on to complete the remaining sections of the RP.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do use the correct form! This RP is for QUANTITATIVE designs (statistical analysis). For a qualitative-only or a mixed methods study, use that form.
- Do prepare your answers in a separate Word document. Editing and revising will be easier.
- Set font formatting to Times New Roman, 11 point, regular style font. Do set paragraph indentation (“Format” menu) for no indentation, no spacing.
- Do copy/paste items into the right-hand fields when they are ready.
- Don’t delete the descriptions in the left column!
- Don’t lock the form. That will stop you from editing and revising within the form.
- Do complete the “Learner Information” (A.) of the first table, and Section 1 first.
- Don’t skip items or sections. If an item does not apply to your study, type “NA” in its field.
- Do read the item descriptions and their respective Instructions carefully. Items request very specific information. Be sure you understand what is asked. (Good practice for IRB!)
- Do use primary sources to the greatest extent possible as references. Textbooks are not acceptable as the only references supporting methodological and design choices.
- Do submit a revised RP if, after approval, you change your design elements. It may not need a second review, but should be on file before your IRB application is submitted.
Scientific Merit ReviewThe following criteria will be used to establish scientific merit. The purpose of the review will be to evaluate if the study:
- Advances the scientific knowledge base.
- Makes a contribution to research theory.
- Demonstrates understanding of theories and approaches related to the selected research methodology.
Complete the following steps to request scientific merit approval (SMR) for your dissertation:
- Develop topic and methodological approach:
- Talk with your mentor about your ideas for your dissertation topic and a possible methodological approach.
- Collaborate with your mentor to refine your topic into a specific educational research project that will add to the existing literature on your topic.
- Complete Section 1 of the RP form.
- Complete Section 1 addressing the topic and basic methodology and e-mail the form to your mentor for approval. Follow the instructions carefully.
- Collaborate with your mentor until you have mentor approval for the topic. After you have received mentor approval for Section 1, your mentor will submit these sections to your specialization chair for topic approval via .
- The specialization chair will notify you and your mentor of their approval and will send a copy of the approval to .
- The SMR team will also review and provide high-level feedback of your RP, which will be communicated to you and your mentor.
Milestones 3 and 4
- Complete Remaining RP Sections.
- After your specialization chair approves the topic and basic methodology, and the SMR team has provided high-level feedback about your research plan, continue to collaborate with your mentor to plan the details of your methodological approach, incorporating feedback from the SMR team.
- Once you and your mentor have agreed on clear plans for the details of the methodology, complete the remainder of the RP form and submit the completed RP form to your mentor for approval.
- Expect that you will go through several revisions. Collaborate with your mentor until you have their approval of your RP plan.
- After you have a polished version, you and your mentor should both review the SMR criteria for each section, to ensure you have provided the requisite information to demonstrate you have met each of the scientific merit criteria.
After your mentor has approved your RP (Milestone 3), s/he will forward your RP to your Committee for their approval (Milestone 4).
- After you have obtained mentor (Milestone 3) AND committee (Milestone 4) approvals of the completed RP form, your mentor will submit the completed RP via to have your form reviewed for Scientific Merit.
- Mentor and committee approval does not guarantee SMR approval. Each review is independent and serves to ensure your research plan demonstrates research competency.
- (a). RP form in review: The scientific merit reviewer will review each item to determine whether you have met each of the criteria. You must meet all the criteria to obtain reviewer approval. The reviewer will designate your RP as one of the following:
- Deferred for minor or major revisions
- Not approved
- Not ready for review
- (b). If the RP has been deferred:
- The SMR reviewer will provide feedback on any criteria that you have not met.
- You are required to make the necessary revisions and obtain approval for the revisions from your mentor.
- Once you have mentor approval for your revisions, your mentor will submit your RP for a second review.
- You will be notified if your RP has been approved, deferred for major or minor revisions, or not approved.
- Up to three attempts to obtain scientific merit approval (SMR) are allowed. Researchers, mentors, and reviewers should make every possible attempt to resolve issues before the RP is failed for the third time. If a researcher does not pass the scientific merit review on the third attempt, then the case will be referred to the research specialists in the School of Business and Technology for review, evaluation, and intervention.
- While you await approval of your RP, you should be working to complete your IRB application and supporting documents.
- Once you have gained SMR approval (Milestone 5), you are ready to submit your IRB application and supporting documents for review by the IRB team.
- Submit the Approved RP to the IRB:
- Once you obtain SMR approval, write your IRB application and accompanying materials.
- Consult the Research and Scholarship area within iGuide for IRB forms and detailed process directions.
- You are required to obtain scientific merit approval (SMR) before you may receive IRB approval. Obtaining SMR does not guarantee that IRB approval will follow.
Complete the Research Plan Conference call:
- Once you have gained approval by the IRB, you are ready to schedule your Proposed Research Conference Call. You may not proceed to data collection until you have completed this call.
- Work with your mentor and committee to set a date for the conference call.
- Upon successful completion of the Proposed Research Conference Call, your mentor will complete the corresponding Milestone Report and you are ready for data collection.
DISSERTATION RESEARCHERS: STOP!!!
If this RP is for your dissertation (after comps), forward completed Section 1 plus your references gathered so far (section 8) to your Mentor for review and for Specialization Chair’s Approval. (Work on your full Literature Review while waiting for topic approval)
Learner: Stop here and submit to your Mentor for final approval. Continue working on your final literature review while you wait for SMR approval.
Mentor: This form must be approved by all committee members prior to submission for SMR review. Please send completed and approved RP to for SMR review.