General Research Areas

Introductory Activity: Reflection and Road Map

By the due date assigned, introduce yourself to the class in the Discussion Area. Outline your reasons for taking the course, your career aspirations, and anything else you wish to share with the class. Read and respond to posts made by other classmates. The intent of the activity is to reflect on your experiences as a writer in a scholarly setting, to identify challenges that you anticipate, and to share what motivates you to complete your doctorate.

Include the following details in your response:

  1. Your name, campus, program, and occupation
  2. Why are you getting this degree?
    1. Help me do more in my current role
    2. Prepare me to advance in this organization
    3. Qualify me for a distinctly different leadership role
    4. Prepare me for a second career in collegiate teaching
    5. Prepare me for a second career in research and writing
    6. Other personal challenge
  3. What are you trying to accomplish with your dissertation?
    1. Develop deeper skills or knowledge to contribute to my current role
    2. Develop broader leadership skills and knowledge to progress in my organization
    3. Develop complementary skills and knowledge to qualify me for a substantially different role and organization
    4. Develop breadth of knowledge and application principles to prepare me for a second career in college teaching
    5. Develop research skills to prepare me for a career in traditional academics or a think tank/other author role
    6. Curious – I just want to know more about a particular subject for my own benefit
  4. Discuss yourself as a writer in your learning journey. What challenges you as a writer?
  5. What do you expect will be difficult for you in this course?

Course Introduction (1 of 2)

  • Apply research skills to access and evaluate scholarly information resources to assess their quality and credibility (reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, point of view, and bias).
  • Analyze and synthesize scholarly literature in critiquing different research genres.
  • Engage in ethical scholarship and utilize appropriate citation and referencing skills associated with dissertation and scholarly writing to avoid plagiarism/matching text.
  • Examine connections between the various academic writing genres (article critiques, annotated bibliographies, article synthesis), and how they contribute to the development of the literature review and to the dissertation.
  • Understand the stages of the dissertation process.
  • Apply advanced academic writing skills and the American Psychological Association (APA) style to develop a literature review based on the chosen research question.
  • Incorporate academic writing skills into multimedia presentations.
  • Develop a scholar-practitioner perspective through reading, writing, and reflection.

W7000 Overview Video
Watch the video below that offers an overview of W7000.

The doctoral program at Argosy University is intended to develop scholar-practitioners who can communicate effectively. We realize that students enter the program at different writing-skill levels; therefore, the W7000 Advanced Academic Study and Writing course has been created to set you up for success as you begin your Argosy doctoral program.

By the end of this course, you will understand that a dissertation, although probably the largest writing project that you will encounter, can be manageable and doable. The course readings, assignments, and activities have been chosen and crafted to support you for success in the coursework that you will complete prior to the beginning of your dissertation. Through your dissertations, you demonstrate to your professional community that you can select and investigate an issue in the field by analyzing the literature and using relevant information to situate your research.

While producing a quality dissertation is paramount, building the foundational skills during the journey towards accomplishing that scholarship is equally essential. W7000 is designed to develop foundational skills of analytical reasoning, ethical scholarship, and scholarly writing, with the end product being a literature review.

Course Introduction (2 of 2)

In Module 1, you will learn about academic integrity by completing a self-assessment and understanding the importance of paraphrasing and plagiarism. You will also create a first draft of a research topic while also considering some preliminary research questions. You will also complete your writing assessment by the end of this module.

In Module 2, you will examine information literacy, including database searching related to your topic, and critique an academic journal article provided. In this module, you will also be evaluated on your writing skills.

In Module 3, you will create annotated bibliographies, learn about developing a theoretical framework for your study, and critique an article related to your topic.

In Module 4, you will refine your research question from Module 1 and critique a literature review from a dissertation related to your topic.

In Module 5, you will conduct two interviews of people who have completed a dissertation or doctoral research and you will synthesize your article critique and annotations from Module 3 into themes in preparation for your final literature review.

In Module 6, you will submit the first draft of your literature review to your instructor. You will also examine and discuss connections between your proposed study and contribution to the field.

In Module 7, you will receive feedback on your literature review, which you will then incorporate into your final draft for submission at the end of this module.

In Module 8, you will submit the PowerPoint presentation, review, and comment on those of your classmates. You will also submit a final course reflection based on the skills acquired during this course.

The metaphor of a journey frames Argosy University’s doctoral programs and this doctoral course. Each student’s journey is individual, although supported by caring and dedicated faculty and staff. Your active engagement in W7000 can serve as a foundational first stage of your journey.


MyWritingLab (MWL) is a writing support included in W7000 for those students who may require help with basic writing and grammar concepts. We understand that as doctoral students, you may be well versed with the nuances of foundational elements of writing and may not require the use of the MWL. To make sure that only those students who need help with the foundational elements of writing will be required to go through the lab, your course instructor will be grading all students on one designated assignment as outlined in the following section.

All students will be evaluated on one assignment from Module 1 (essay prompt). Students must score at the Proficiency level (Level 3) or higher in all elements of the writing criteria (Organization, Writing Style, Grammar and Mechanics) on the writing rubric to pass the writing assessment. If students do not demonstrate writing proficiency as per the writing criteria in the assignment, they will be required to go through the MyWritingLab. Students who demonstrate writing proficiency will not be required to go through the MyWritingLab.

The specific sequence will be as follows:

  • Students who do not demonstrate writing proficiency in the writing assessment go through the Path Builder and Learning Path starting Module 2. This is a self-paced study plan, so it is your responsibility to maintain a steady pace for completing the lab activities by Module 6.
  • Students in the MWL sequence must complete a Mastery Check (Module 7).
  • Students who do not complete the writing assessment by the end of Module 1 will, by default, be required to go through the Path Builder and Learning Path and complete the Mastery Check by Module 7.
  • Students who complete and earn a 70% score on the Mastery Check will have successfully completed the writing remediation.
  • Students who complete and earn a score below 70% on the Mastery Check will be required to enroll in W5099 Graduate Academic Writing course within the next two sessions.
  • Students who fail to complete the Mastery Check by the end of the course will, by default, be required to enroll in W5099 Graduate Academic Writing course within the next two sessions.

Please keep in mind that the inclusion of MWL in this course is meant to identify students who might be in need of reviewing and refreshing their basic writing skills early on in the program and prepare them with the right tools to progress successfully through the rest of their program.

Students who are not required to go through MWL as a result of the writing assessment may, if they feel the need, also use these resources as a quick refresher.

Course Project Overview

Research Topic and Question

At the core of your dissertation is a sound and refined research topic. Based on your area of interest, submit a draft of your research topic in Module 1 along with some preliminary research questions. You will refine your topic and question and submit both again in Module 4. The research question should address the specific area or problem within the topic and incorporate the specific variables and the relationship between them that you intend to explore.

Literature Review

You will compile a literature review based upon your research topic. Its purpose is to help you begin to build solid, deep, broad-based knowledge, and expertise about your research topic. It is important that you understand the nature of empirical research articles—qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods research studies—and that most of the articles in your literature review are such selections.

A thorough understanding of the literature includes a theoretical and conceptual foundation. Theoretical framework refers to the theory that you plan to apply to your study or a framework based on a range of theories. You may also come across studies that refer to a conceptual framework. This refers to the major concepts, notions, and themes that have been used to discuss logical connections between the different variables of the study. Therefore, while a theoretical framework forms the basis of the study, a conceptual framework explains how the theory will be operationalized by showing the relationship between the different variables being investigated. You will learn more about theoretical frameworks in Module 3.

You will begin working on elements pertaining to your literature review in Modules 3 and 4. Your first draft of the literature review is due in Module 6. This first draft should incorporate your best effort at addressing all of the information you have gathered from various journal articles related to your research question. Additional details regarding the literature review are included in Module 4.

You will submit the final literature review at the end of Module 7 based on the feedback from your instructor on your first draft.

Activities/Assignments Supporting Primary Course Project and Course Objectives

Your research topic and literature review will be based on relevant academic literature, primarily found in scholarly journals related to your discipline. Scholarly literature requires a peer review process to ensure the quality of the accepted journal articles.

To support your synthesis and analysis skills, you will:

Craft journal article and literature review critiques due in Modules 2, 3, and 4. You will receive specific feedback from your instructor for the critiques, along with peer review for the journal article, so you can further develop and refine your critiquing skills. In addition, you will develop annotated bibliographies and work on synthesizing relevant information towards your literature review.

Interposed throughout the course, you will receive instruction regarding APA style guidelines. You will also receive feedback and assigned points regarding your use of the APA format in your assignments throughout the course.

Module 1 Overview (1 of 3)

This first module, Introduction to Ethical Scholarship and Academic Research, begins your doctoral journey by inviting you to think and write about yourself as a learner.

The doctoral program is heavily writing intensive, culminating in a dissertation; therefore, completing a Reflection and Road Map exercise as your first activity forms a basis for the exploration and development of your academic writing skills. Writing a reflection requires you to look through your personal rearview mirror to see the various learning paths you have taken and possibly those that you have avoided.

At times, you may have been surrounded by co-learners; at other times, you may have found yourself on solitary learning hikes. You may have written detailed plans, similar to a map and a compass, to navigate your learning adventure. Sometimes, your journey may have been straightforward, and at times, you may have been lost.

As you end your reflection, you will switch your gaze from the rearview mirror to the windshield in front of you and turn onto the entrance ramp or the road map of your continued learning journey through your doctoral program.

Doctoral students at Argosy University have found it extremely helpful to learn about the dissertation at the beginning of their programs. This is more beneficial than leaving the dissertation as a part of the vast unknown area of the future, where the dissertation is almost kept a secret and only learned about following the completion of all coursework.

During this first module, two of the primary elements of a dissertation, the research topic and the literature review, will be introduced, with more details provided in subsequent modules.

This introduction will model the old, but helpful, story about how to eat a large elephant—one bite at a time! You will have your first spoonful of breaking the dissertation into manageable bites in this module—or, as Stephen Covey recommends in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you will be starting with the end in sight!

Module 1 Overview (2 of 3)

Ethical scholarship is at the core of all academic endeavors and involves scholarly inquiry within the framework of honesty and integrity. Since the written word is the way we demonstrate our scholarship and build our credibility in academia, it is important to practice academic integrity and ethical writing. By attributing sources correctly and accurately, you acknowledge the contributions of other scholars in your discipline and highlight your own.

You, as graduate students need to understand that matching texts constitute plagiarism if the original source is not cited. Do doctoral students overtly intend to plagiarize? Most instructors and students themselves would disagree. However, if you do not completely understand what constitutes plagiarism, if your paraphrasing skills are rusty, and if you do not know how to provide correct citations per APA guidelines, you could be guilty of plagiarizing. Be sure to understand these important elements—it will serve you well throughout your doctoral program and beyond that to your professional career.

Writing at the doctoral level requires a new style of writing different from what you may have used in your prior levels of education or other areas of your lives. Ethical scholarship is the keystone of doctoral level writing and it is important to understand its various nuances, as plagiarism is a serious academic offense.

What constitutes plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using borrowed material and passing it off as your own without attributing the source using specific citation formats.

You could be considered guilty of plagiarizing if:

  1. You submit someone else’s paper as your own.
  2. You present someone else’s ideas as your own without providing citations.
  3. You use the exact words from the original text, but fail to enclose the quoted material within quotation marks or provide citation.
  4. You replace a few words from the original, but pass off the rest of the material as your own without citations or quotation marks.
  5. You cite the source used, but copy the exact words from the original with a few words substituted.
  6. You reproduce the borrowed material in your own words, but fail to cite the source.
  7. You rephrase or quote the source, but provide a citation other than from where you obtained the material. For example, if you read about Dewey (1972) in Gold (2004), do not cite Dewey as if you have read the original publication, but cite Dewey as a a secondary source. Otherwise, you are providing an inaccurate representation of the sources used in creating your paper which is considered a form of plagiarism.
  8. You use material from your own papers from previous courses without prior permission from your instructor.

The Right Way to Cite

All written assignments and responses should follow APA style for attributing sources.

Borrowed information can be presented in three ways:

  1. Using Direct Quotes: The borrowed material is presented exactly as it is in the original source. The material must be enclosed within quotation marks and must be cited. For example:

    Sade (2004) contends that, “aggression is largely learned and, at least to a large extent, environmentally or socially determined” (p. 9).

    Sade, R. M. (2004). Evolution, prevention, and responses to aggressive behavior and violence. Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, 32, 8–17.

  2. Paraphrasing: Reproduce the original in your own words. The information presented must convey all the p oints from the original. You may change the sequence of sentences as long as the reproduction has a logical flow of thought.

    For example:

    Original Paragraph for Paraphrase: This fall’s election might be a little rocky. But like it or not, there’s no turning back. America has entered an age when you won’t just vote with your head and your heart. From now on, you’ll also be voting with your finger (Holguin, 2004).

    Incorrect Paraphrase (Information is not cited, reproduction is too close to the original and awkward):

    One feels that this election might take a funny turn. No matter how one feels, we are now in the twenty-first century, and America is not going backwards. America is now in an age where it takes more than just you head and heart, you also need your hand to vote.

    Incorrect Paraphrase (Information is cited, but reproduction is too close to the original and awkward synonyms are used to replace a few original words):

    Holguin (2004) states that the Fall elections may be a little unsteady. No matter how one feels, America is not going backwards. America is now in an age where it takes more than just you head and heart, you also need your hand to vote.

    Better Paraphrase (Information is cited and better reproduction in own words):

    Holguin (2004) states that with electronic voting, America has entered a new era where citizens will be voting for their candidates with just a click of their fingers. He states that though the process in the upcoming Fall elections may not be smooth, electronic voting is here to stay.

  3. Summarizing: Reproducing the original, but extracting only the key points.

    Using the above original text, a summary would be:

    Holguin (2004) heralds the era of electronic voting as a new and enduring chapter in America’s election history. (Only the key point has been extracted from the original and reproduced with the necessary citation.)

    Holguin, J. (2004). E-voting: Is the fix in? Computer crash again raises specter of election troubles. CBS News.

Module 1 Overview (3 of 3)

Ethical scholarship plays an integral part in discovering and establishing your academic identity. By signing the ethical commitment statement in Module 1, you pledge your dedication to ethical scholarship. The pre-assessment in academic ethics will also help you to test your awareness of what constitutes ethical writing. In addition, your first assignment deals with a discussion question about plagiarism, paraphrasing, and academic ethics.

Your second assignment will be to post your first draft of a research topic and brainstorming some potential research questions related to your topic. The feedback from your instructor and your classmates will provide you with opportunities during this course to continue to work on and fine-tune your research topic.

The earlier you begin thinking about and working on a research topic, the more you will be able to use your courses in the doctoral program to gather sources relevant to your topic and the better prepared you will be since the research topic is the core of your dissertation. By beginning your initial explorations in this course, you will be able to continue to refine and build on your research topic throughout your remaining doctoral courses.

Where should you begin? You may have a general research area that intrigues you. You may have an area of interest or several areas to explore that you studied in your master’s program or in your professional life. Think of the topic from all perspectives until you find questions that intrigue you and that could help solve a problem. It may start out as something of a personal interest but as you proceed further and read more about the issue in the literature, you will be able to determine if the answer to the problem is important enough for a wider audience.

Does the creation of a research topic during this course mean you cannot change your research topic after you complete all of your coursework and begin your dissertation? No, of course not. However, many Argosy doctoral students have found that the initial work they do on their research topic in this course does give them a head start on their dissertation.

Give yourself permission to be a beginner, and do not judge yourself too severely if you do not write perfect papers and do not remember every word that you read. As a learner, you will change on your learning journey. However, it is important that you enjoy this ride.

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