How to Write a Concept Note: A Step-by-Step Guide
Concept notes are important documents that serve as a brief outline of a project. They are used to present a proposed project to potential stakeholders and funders, and are usually requested before a full project proposal is submitted. If you are planning to embark on a new project, it is essential to know how to write a concept note. In this guide, we'll take you through the step-by-step process of writing a winning concept note.
Understanding the Purpose of a Concept Note
Before we delve into the details of how to write a concept note, it is important to understand its purpose. A concept note serves several functions:
What is a Concept Note?
A concept note is a brief outline of a project proposal, usually submitted to potential stakeholders and funders to solicit their support.
Let’s take an example of a non-profit organization that wants to start a new project to provide education to underprivileged children. The organization will need funding and support from donors to make this project a success. To attract potential donors, the organization will need to submit a concept note that outlines the basic details of the project.
Why is a Concept Note Important?
Concept notes are important because they help to identify potential stakeholders and funders for a proposed project. By providing a brief overview of the project, concept notes help to gauge interest and support. This is especially important when dealing with multiple potential stakeholders and funders, as it allows the organization to tailor their proposal to the interests of each party.
Moreover, concept notes help organizations to save time and resources. Instead of preparing a full proposal for every potential stakeholder or funder, concept notes can be used to filter out those who are not interested in the project, allowing the organization to focus on those who are.
When to Use a Concept Note?
Concept notes are usually requested by potential stakeholders and funders before a full project proposal is submitted. They can also be used to introduce a new project to an organization or community. In addition, concept notes can be used as a tool for internal planning and decision-making.
For example, a company may use a concept note to introduce a new product or service to its employees before launching it to the public. This allows the company to gather feedback and make any necessary changes before investing resources into a full launch.
In conclusion, concept notes are an important tool for organizations to attract support and funding for their projects. By providing a brief overview of the project, concept notes help to gauge interest and support, saving time and resources. They can be used to introduce new projects to stakeholders and funders, as well as for internal planning and decision-making.
Key Components of a Concept Note
The following are key components that should be included when writing a concept note:
The project title should be clear and concise. It should capture the essence of the project in a few words.
The project objective should be clearly stated, and should contain a succinct statement of what the project intends to achieve.
Background and Context
The background and context should provide an overview of the problem that the project intends to address. It should also highlight the relevance of the problem to the target audience and the broader community.
Target Audience and Beneficiaries
The target audience and beneficiaries should be clearly identified. This helps to ensure that the project is designed to meet the needs of the intended beneficiaries.
Project Activities and Methodology
The project activities and methodology should describe the specific steps that will be taken to achieve the project objectives. It should also provide details on how the project will be implemented.
Expected Outcomes and Impact
The expected outcomes and impact should clearly state what the project hopes to achieve and how it will contribute to the broader goals of the organization or community.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The monitoring and evaluation plan should outline how the project will be monitored and evaluated to determine its success.
Budget and Resources
The budget and resources section should provide a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the project, as well as the resources required to implement it.
Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Concept Note
Now that we have covered the key components of a concept note, it is time to take you through a step-by-step guide to writing a winning concept note.
Step 1: Research and Preparation
Before you start writing your concept note, it is important to conduct thorough research on the problem you are seeking to address, the target audience, and the available resources. This will help you to develop a comprehensive understanding of the project and its requirements.
Step 2: Develop a Clear Project Objective
The project objective is the backbone of your concept note. It should be clear, concise, and specific. A well-defined objective will help you to stay focused on the project and ensure that the project is designed to achieve the intended outcomes.
Step 3: Provide a Strong Background and Context
The background and context section of your concept note should provide a clear understanding of the problem the project intends to address and its relevance to the target audience and the broader community. This section should demonstrate the importance of the project and why it is needed.
Step 4: Identify Your Target Audience and Beneficiaries
The target audience and beneficiaries section of your concept note should clearly identify who the project is meant to benefit. This section should also provide details on how the project will improve the lives of the intended beneficiaries.
Step 5: Outline Your Project Activities and Methodology
The project activities and methodology section of your concept note should provide a detailed explanation of how the project will achieve its objectives. This section should outline the specific steps that will be taken to implement the project and achieve the desired outcomes.
Step 6: Describe Expected Outcomes and Impact
The expected outcomes and impact section of your concept note should detail the expected results of the project and how they will contribute to the broader goals of the organization or community. This section should also provide a clear understanding of the impact the project is expected to have on the beneficiaries.
Step 7: Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
The monitoring and evaluation plan should outline how the project will be monitored and evaluated to determine its success. This section should also include the indicators that will be used to measure the project's impact.
Step 8: Prepare a Budget and Identify Resources
The budget and resources section of your concept note should provide a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the project, as well as the resources required to implement it. This section should also include details on how the project will be funded.
By following these steps, you will be able to develop a comprehensive and winning concept note that will help you to secure funding for your project. Remember to keep your concept note clear, concise and focused on the project objectives. Good luck!
ChatGPT Prompt for Writing a Concept Note
Use the following prompt in an AI chatbot . Below each prompt, be sure to provide additional details about your situation. These could be scratch notes, what you'd like to say or anything else that guides the AI model to write a certain way.
Please prepare a comprehensive and detailed document outlining the key ideas, objectives, and strategies for a proposed project or initiative. This document should clearly articulate the purpose of the project, the target audience, the expected outcomes, and the resources required to implement it. The concept note should be well-structured, concise, and informative, providing a clear roadmap for the proposed project and demonstrating its potential impact and value.
[ADD ADDITIONAL CONTEXT. CAN USE BULLET POINTS.]
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How to write a concept paper effectively
Planning to Write
What is a concept paper?
Simply put, a concept paper is a preliminary document that sets out to explain what a proposed study is about, why it is being undertaken, and how it will be carried out. It scrutinizes a concept or idea and provides an overview of the project a researcher wants to embark on.
A researcher might need to write a concept paper to obtain permission to undertake the research project or to seek financial support for it. This means that a well-framed and compelling concept paper has high chances of convincing the target reader that the proposed research project is worth carrying out. In other words, an impressive concept paper might help a researcher secure the approvals or grants they are looking for.
Why write a concept paper?
Concept papers are typically prepared by entrepreneurs working on a business proposal or product, or by students and researchers in academia. Such documents are aimed at securing feedback on a research idea and seeking potential investors or funders. In fact, such a document might even help determine whether a project idea is feasible in the first place.
In academia, a concept paper might be needed before an undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral candidate commences work on a research project with a supervisor. Even advanced career researchers or principal investigators might need to draft a concept paper when submitting a project proposal to a funding body to obtain the necessary grants.
Listed below are some reasons why concept papers are important.
1. To explore and expand an idea: Researchers can use concept papers to transform an incipient research idea into a focused, high-quality study proposal. The paper is also a means to obtain feedback that can be used to strengthen a detailed proposal at a later stage.
2. To draw the interest of funding agencies : Through an effective concept paper, an investigator can justify why their project is worthy of funding. If the project is within the mission of the funding body and has potential to advance the field, the investigator has a high chance of success in obtaining the required grants.
3. To identify potential flaws or gaps beforehand: Putting in time and effort in writing a concept paper will help develop a focused description of the project and will allow the researcher to examine the problem from all angles. At early stages, experts or funders might spot potential gaps and weaknesses in the proposed project. Accordingly, the researcher can identify solutions and improve the proposal (e.g., in terms of the goals or methodology).
4. To serve as the foundation of the full proposal: A concept paper is preliminary, as it precedes a full proposal. Funding agencies often ask for concept papers before the full proposal submission. This helps assess whether the identified experimental methods are appropriate and can be performed within the specific timeframe drawn up for the project.
5. To help a researcher stick to project timelines: A concept paper defines a timeline, which helps the investigator to keep the project on track, manage time effectively, and reach the targeted milestones successfully.
How should a concept paper be structured?
A concept paper could be within 5 pages for proposals for master’s or PhD projects. Concept papers written as part of funding applications might even be up to 20 pages long. The format and flow of the paper would depend on the type of project and expected outcome.
Funding bodies requesting concept papers might provide a template or format, which should be adhered to. However, if templates or formats are not specified, a concept paper may be structured according to the chief elements described below.
1. An impactful title: The title should be sufficiently informative and leave a lasting impression. It should reflect the purpose and significance of the study. The title should not be too long (ideally within 15 words). The title could even be in the form of a question.
2. A clear mission statement: In a few sentences, the study objective(s) or research question should be stated. Given that the main objective of a concept paper is to convince the reader that the proposed project is worth executing, it must convey the novelty and research rationale in a convincing manner.
3. A brief yet effective overview: A concept paper should present a survey of the problem, supported by a preliminary literature review of the research topic. However, the review need not be too detailed. The paper should provide a summary of what is already known about the topic and an explanation of what knowledge gaps the research is expected to fill. Any contradictory theories may also be indicated.
4. An outline of the proposed methods: The methods that the researcher plans to use to answer the research question should be described. This section would cover ethical issues (if applicable), experimental materials and methods, the type of data to be collected, and the methods by which the data will be collected and analyzed. The estimated time to achieve different research goals should also be indicated.
5. A statement of the expected implications : A concept paper would be incomplete without a concise section on short-term and long-term impacts of the research, potential applications, impact on society and policies, and any other future visions. Know how to write a statement of the problem in a step-by-step way.
What are the key points to remember when drafting a concept paper?
1. Keep the reader in mind: If the concept paper targets experts in the field or potential collaborators/partners, it should be tailored accordingly, e.g., it can contain technical language. If the audience comprises potential sponsors/funders, the concept paper should be streamlined, keeping in mind their priorities and requirements. Such a version should contain minimal jargon and be easily digestible by non-specialists.
Bonus takeaway exclusively for community members
2. Note that a concept paper is not a journal article: Concept papers differ from journal articles in that the primary aim of a concept paper is to convince a sponsor of the feasibility and significance of a project. In that sense, it is akin to a sales pitch! It should highlight the project’s purpose and impact. To strengthen one’s case, previously awarded grants or published papers may also be indicated.
3. Make a good impression: While a concept paper should be cogent and compelling, it goes without saying that the document should be well-written and well-formatted, as well as free of grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Clarity, consistency, and conciseness are key. In the absence of a formatting template, basic formatting should be in place, e.g., uniform font, adequate line spacing, and appropriate margins. Under Editage’s Scientific Editing Service , a researcher can have a concept paper assessed by a subject matter expert for an in-depth critique on the content and further checked and corrected by editors for language and readability.
Are you brimming with ideas for a research project? Now that you know the main elements that might give your proposal an edge over others, maybe you are ready to set a project in motion by starting with a concept paper.
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- Statement of the problem
- Background of study
- Scope of the study
- Types of qualitative research
- Rationale of the study
- Concept paper
- Literature review
- Introduction in research
- Under "Editor Evaluation"
- Ethics in research
- Review paper
- Responding to reviewer comments
- Predatory publishers
- Scope and delimitations
- Open access
- Plagiarism in research
- Journal selection tips
- Editor assigned
- Types of articles
- "Reject and Resubmit" status
- Decision in process
- Conflict of interest
Compact Development Guidance
- Chapter 1: Establishing a Compact Development Team
- Chapter 2: Compact Development Funding for Initial Engagement
- Chapter 3: Guidelines for the Constraints to Economic Growth Analysis
- Chapter 4: Guidelines for Public Consultations and Stakeholder Engagement
- Chapter 5: Expansion of the Compact Development Team
- Chapter 6: Guidelines for the Root Cause Analysis
Chapter 7: Guidelines for Developing Concept Notes
- Chapter 8: Guidelines for Developing Project Proposals
- Guidelines for Economic and Beneficiary Analysis
- Environmental and Social Assessment of Projects Proposed During Compact Development
- General Infrastructure Guidance
- Guidelines for Countries Proposing Private Sector Development Projects
- Monitoring and Evaluation of MCC Compact Projects
Compact Development Guidance: Compact Development Guidance | February 2017
Concept Note for Proposed Projects in an MCC Compact Program
Following its analysis of root causes, a selected country identifies and selects from among them one or more critical issues that drive or contribute most heavily to the specific binding constraint. These critical issues are core problems . For each core problem that it identifies and wishes to address through a compact program, the selected country’s Compact Development Team will develop and submit a short, written proposal, or Concept Note . Each Concept Note should explain the core problem and its root causes, offer a broad outline or strategic approach designed to resolve or address it, and define the primary objective.
These aspects—problems, approaches and objectives—form concepts , the foundations upon which more detailed projects can later be proposed and developed. When agreement on these concepts is reached, then, both the selected country and MCC can confidently add staff and release other technical resources for the next stage of the compact development process, in which the agreed approaches will be developed into a set of specific activities and investments. The selected country will present these to MCC in detailed Project Proposals (as described in Chapter 9).
Taken together, Concept Notes create an opportunity for dialogue between the Compact Development Team and MCC about the purpose, direction, and scope of the proposed compact program well before substantial amounts of time, funding or other resources are invested. This dialogue should help focus the proposed compact program on the most critical issues or problems among those that the selected country has examined and proposed. It should also build agreement on the specific core problem(s) the most promising or viable approaches to address these problems, and the corresponding objective that these approaches aim to achieve.
The remainder of this chapter describes in more detail the rationale, required content, and process of review for Concept Notes.
A selected country’s Concept Notes serve a range of purposes in the compact development process. Among these purposes, each Concept Note should:
- Pinpoint a core problem that the selected country wants to resolve through a compact program, articulate it in a clear problem statement , explain how it relates to one (or more) of the binding constraints identified in the constraints analysis, and describe its extent and its impact on key populations;
- Explain the underlying root causes of the core problem and provide data and evidence that demonstrate a full understanding of their impact, importance and weight;
- Present a broad outline or strategic approach that the selected country expects to pursue in resolving the core problem;
- Identify the primary objective that selected country expects to achieve by addressing the core problem and articulate it in a clear objective statement ;
- Offer a clear theory of change that explains the cause-and-effect process by which the strategic approach, if implemented, will address root causes and resolve the core problem; decrease costs, add value or increase incomes among targeted beneficiaries; and thereby contribute to MCC’s objectives of stimulating long-term sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty;
- Provide additional context on the selected country’s existing strategies, plans and policy and institutional reform goals to address the core problem, as well as the success or failure of any recent activities undertaken by the selected country’s government, international development agencies, or other organizations.
Selection of Concept Notes
A selected country need not develop concepts for each of the binding constraints identified in the constraints analysis. However, for those binding constraints that the selected country wishes to pursue, it should expect to identify a number of problems that contribute to the binding constraint through the analysis of root causes (as described in Chapter 6). MCC encourages the selected country to prioritize the one or two as core problems that contribute most heavily to the binding constraint and demonstrate the greatest potential for being resolved or addressed through a compact program. The selected country’s Compact Development Team should develop each of these high-priority core problems into a separate Concept Note for submission to MCC.
In cases where the constraints analysis identifies cross-cutting issues or where two or more of the binding constraints to economic growth are very closely intertwined, the selected country may also identify core problems that address more than one constraint simultaneously. These may also be developed into Concept Notes for submission to MCC.
Required content and sources of information
In developing Concept Notes, the selected country’s Compact Development Team should draw upon multiple sources of information to present evidence, form strong arguments and build a compelling logic. Sources of information may include detailed findings from the constraints analysis, which should contain a wealth of socioeconomic, microeconomic and macroeconomic data; the results of public consultations with government specialists, trade and business groups, civil society organizations and potential beneficiaries on the impact of binding constraints; the root cause workshops, in which a variety of stakeholders with particular knowledge of the key issues help the Compact Development Team analyze issues that underlie the binding constraints, develop detailed “problem trees” or other logical frameworks to represent those underlying issues, and identify where questions or data and information gaps remain; and other reports or analyses on relevant markets, sectors or industries that may be available.
In addition to these sources, the Compact Development Team is also encouraged to reach out to economic planning and development specialists, academics, researchers, sector specialists, private companies, consultants and international development agencies to collect data, reports, assessments and other information that will help shed light on similar experiences in other countries, lessons learned from prior efforts to address the problem, international best practices, and any other project work that is ongoing or planned for implementation in the near future.
These sources of information should allow the Compact Development Team to define a core problem that drives or contributes heavily to a particular binding constraint to economic growth, and to define a broad strategic approach that will address the root causes and resolve the core problem. The information should also allow the Compact Development Team to articulate a clear primary objective that it expects to achieve by resolving the core problem, including how the objective will stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty.
In drafting its Concept Notes, the Compact Development Team should take care to present the required information in the template for Concept Notes, in form and substance similar to the template attached below. Concept Notes should be written in a concise manner that focuses squarely on the argumentation, information and data that MCC requests without a substantial amount of additional information. To ensure that MCC is able to undertake its own review and assessment efficiently, each Concept Note should be between five (5) to ten (10) standard pages. If absolutely essential, a limited amount of supplemental information may be added to each Concept Note in the form of attachments or appendices.
To supplement this guidance, MCC can provide the selected country with helpful materials, such as a list of guiding questions and an example of a well-written Concept Note.
MCC review and assessment
As soon as a selected country submits its Concept Note(s), MCC will begin a detailed review and assessment to determine which proposed concepts should be further developed into detailed Project Proposals. The MCC country team will remain in close contact with the selected country’s Compact Development Team throughout this process, and MCC may request clarifications or supplemental information to ensure a common understanding and facilitate a full and accurate review.
MCC’s review and assessment will be based on the clarity, depth and coherence of the contents, as well as the likelihood that a project based on the concept will meet MCC’s criteria for investing MCC resources, commonly known as the “ MCC Investment Criteria ”. The MCC Investment Criteria require that each project:
- Aims to alleviate root causes of a binding constraint. MCC expects the compact programs it supports to reduce the most critical impediments to a selected country’s long-term economic growth, as identified in the constraints analysis. To encourage such a focus at this early stage, MCC will examine each Concept Note to ensure that it reflects a complete understanding of a binding constraint; identifies a core problem that is critical to resolving the binding constraint and specifies its root causes, as supported by data, evidence and economic development experience; outlines an approach that will comprehensively address root causes and thereby resolve the core problem; sets a reasonable primary objective; and presents a clear, logical theory of change that explains how resolving the core problem will achieve the objective and lead to long-term economic growth.
- Generates high economic returns: MCC expects each project it supports to generate economic benefits that significantly exceed its costs. To encourage projects that have a high likelihood of generating positive economic returns, MCC will examine each Concept Note to ensure that it identifies and explains potential benefit streams that are likely to reduce costs, add value or increase incomes; that are likely to be broadly shared; that can be measured; and that economic development experience suggests may outweigh costs. MCC does not expect detailed calculations of the cost-benefit ratio or the economic rate of return at this time.
- Allows full implementation within a five-year compact term: MCC’s compact programs are strictly limited to an implementation period of no more than five years. To prevent further work on concepts that are unlikely to meet this tight timeline, MCC will look closely at this early stage at the nature and complexity of the proposed concepts; the selected country’s implementation experience and management capacity; the quality of the existing institutional framework in the selected country; and lessons learned from international work in similar sectors, among other factors.
- Represents country ownership of both the problem and the solution(s): MCC believes that economic development assistance is most effective when it strengthens the relationship between a selected country’s government and its citizens, reflects the selected country’s own priorities, and augments the impact of other development projects and plans. To reinforce this belief, MCC will review the compact development process and examine each Concept Note to ensure that the proposed concepts reflect a commitment of political and economic resources from the selected country; incorporate timely, participatory and meaningful consultations with civil society and the private sector; link closely to the selected country’s poverty alleviation, economic development and sector investment plans; and take account of the experiences and plans of other international development partners.
- Complies with the MCC Environmental Guidelines and the MCC Gender Policy: MCC recognizes that economic growth and poverty alleviation can only be achieved when the natural environment is protected and the participation of women, the poor and disadvantaged social groups is ensured. In accordance with its Environmental Guidelines and Gender Policy, MCC will examine each Concept Note at this early stage to ensure that gender, social and environmental considerations have been fully taken into account, particularly with public consultations and the root cause analysis.
- Supports the long-term sustainability of results: MCC expects its compact programs to continue providing benefits to selected countries long after a five-year compact program comes to a close. To do so, compact programs must be designed and implemented for long-term sustainability. At this stage, MCC will examine each Concept Note for indications that problems can be addressed and solutions sustained over the long-term, with particular emphasis on the selected country’s willingness to address institutional, regulatory, legal and policy issues that may contribute to inefficiencies or reduce benefits.
In addition to these required criteria, MCC may also provide guidance on other criteria it will use in developing and assessing the proposed compact program in the next phases of compact development. That guidance may include encouragement to explore particular projects or design options that enhance opportunities for poverty alleviation, environmental benefits, private sector participation, or other aspects of the potential compact program in the next phase of the compact development process.
As a general rule, MCC will provide detailed, written feedback to the Compact Development Team within six to eight weeks after it receives a formal submission of the Concept Note(s). In its feedback, MCC will identify the core problems, primary objectives and strategic approaches or frameworks that, in MCC’s assessment, represent the greatest opportunities for further development. MCC is also likely to identify questions and concerns that the Compact Development Team should explore and address as it begins to develop more detailed Project Proposals in the next stage of the compact development process. In some cases, MCC may recommend removing certain elements of a concept or an entire concept from further consideration, if not supported by adequate evidence or sound logic, not likely to meet the MCC investment criteria, or otherwise incompatible with MCC’s model. In other cases, MCC may offer recommendations to strengthen the definition of the core problem, the framing the primary objective, or refine the scope of the broad approach, or concept, based on its experience with the design and implementation of complex economic development projects.
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Concept Paper vs. Research Proposal – and when to use each
On the surface, concept papers sound like they do the same job as a research proposal – and essentially, they do. Both are designed to communicate the rationale, methodology and outcomes of a proposed piece of work. The difference between the two lies mostly in the level of detail and the potential audience, based on which your approach towards writing each will vary. In this article, we dig deeper into these and recommend when to use which.
Concept paper: Putting your idea to paper
- What : A concept paper verbalises an idea and puts it to paper for the first time. Here, an overall rationale is presented, with a focus on the essential idea and potential impact of the expected outcome(s). However, what you would not include here is much in-depth detail.
- When : Writing a concept paper is most useful when an initial expression of interest is made to either a collaborator or funder – provided the funder has mechanisms for you to do this, like an open call.
- Why : The aim of your concept paper will be to win your audience over with your idea and its potential ramifications.
(For more on concept papers, read: Understanding and developing a concept paper )
Research proposal: Showing how things will get done
Let’s say that through your concept paper, you find funding and collaborators for your proposed research project. You will now get into the nitty gritty of the project with a research proposal, while still keeping it “consumable” enough for a broader audience.
- What : A research proposal builds on a concept paper by now including aspects like key deliverables, milestones and specific outcomes, as well as how you plan to achieve these.
- When : You will typically send a research proposal to sources of funding of an open nature, i.e. those that do not require a standardised form to be filled in, as is often the case with institutional internal funding or private investors.
- Why : It is not necessary for you to first send someone a concept paper and follow it up with a proposal. However, you may often need to follow this sequence in order to provide only ‘need to know’ material depending on the stage of your relationship with potential partners.
( For more on research proposals, read: Writing a successful research proposal )
When both are needed, a concept paper precedes a research proposal
Deciding between a concept paper and a research proposal
Whether you send someone a concept paper or a research proposal depends entirely on two things:
- Your existing relationship with whomever you are reaching out to
- What you are trying to achieve
If you are emailing an organisation or individual for the first time, you are more likely to receive a response by attaching a brief, snappy concept paper that is easily read by a multitude of people. On the other hand, some larger organisations, such as pharmaceutical companies, are very used to seeing full-fledged research proposals and may have a portal on their website where you would need to upload one, enabling them to skip the preliminary step of vetting your work through a concept paper.
Our recommendation : Given how pressed many people are for time these days, it would be prudent to send concept papers more frequently than research proposals. If more information is required, you will be asked for it.
Concept papers and research proposals do very similar things, but set out and achieve very different aims. They are often sent in sequence – the concept paper first, followed by the research proposal. The need for a research proposal arises when the concept paper has achieved its mark – when, for example, more information is required for a funding decision to be reached, or due diligence is to be performed, as a result of your concept paper gaining preliminary acceptance. Following up with a research proposal fills in the gaps and will aid in answering questions arising from the concept paper.
Read previous (second) in series: Writing a successful Research Proposal
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Home » Concept – Definition, Types and Examples
Concept – Definition, Types and Examples
Table of Contents
Concept is a mental representation or an abstract idea that we use to understand and organize the world around us. It is a general notion that summarizes and simplifies complex information or experiences, making it easier to communicate and process.
For example, the concept of “love” is an abstract idea that represents a range of emotions and behaviors that people experience in their relationships with others. Similarly, the concept of “justice” represents a set of principles and standards that guide our sense of fairness and equality.
Types of Concept
Types of Concepts are as follows:
These are concepts that refer to tangible objects or physical entities that can be perceived through the senses, such as a table, a car, or a flower.
These are concepts that refer to ideas, qualities, or attributes that cannot be perceived through the senses, such as freedom, justice, or happiness.
These are concepts that are defined by specific rules or criteria, such as mathematical concepts like a triangle or a circle.
These are concepts that are based on our experience and interactions with the world, such as concepts like water, food, or family.
These are concepts that are based on cultural or social norms, such as concepts like marriage, friendship, or etiquette.
These are concepts that are based on typical or idealized examples of a category, such as a prototype concept of a bird that includes features like wings, feathers, and the ability to fly.
These are concepts that are based on specific examples or instances of a category, rather than on an idealized prototype.
Examples of Concept
Here are some examples of concepts:
- Love – a feeling of strong attachment or deep affection towards someone or something.
- Democracy – a system of government in which power is vested in the people and exercised through free and fair elections.
- Justice – the quality of being fair and impartial, particularly in the administration of the law.
- Equality – the state of being equal in status, rights, and opportunities.
- Freedom – the state of being free from coercion, constraint, or oppression.
- Creativity – the ability to produce original and imaginative ideas, works, or solutions.
- Sustainability – the ability to maintain ecological balance and meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- Globalization – the process of integration and interdependence among people, companies, and governments across the world.
- Diversity – the range of different cultures, ethnicities, genders, and other characteristics that exist within a group or society.
- Leadership – the ability to inspire and guide others towards a common goal or vision.
Applications of Concept
Applications of Concept are as follows:
- Education : Concepts play a crucial role in education, where they are used to help students develop a deeper understanding of various subjects. For example, in mathematics, concepts such as fractions, decimals, and geometric shapes are used to solve problems.
- Science : Concepts are used extensively in scientific research to help scientists understand and explain the natural world. For instance, concepts such as energy, matter, and gravity are used to describe and explain various phenomena.
- Business : Concepts such as marketing, branding, and customer service are essential for businesses to succeed. These concepts help businesses develop effective strategies to reach their target audience and improve customer satisfaction.
- Technology : Concepts are the foundation of many technological innovations. For example, the concept of artificial intelligence is used to develop intelligent machines that can perform tasks that would otherwise require human intervention.
- Philosophy : Concepts are a key aspect of philosophical inquiry, where they are used to analyze and understand complex ideas and arguments. For instance, concepts such as justice, ethics, and morality are used to explore ethical dilemmas and the nature of right and wrong.
Purpose of Concept
The purpose of a concept is to provide a mental framework or idea that helps us understand a particular topic or phenomenon. Concepts can range from simple ideas like “honesty” or “loyalty” to more complex ideas like “democracy” or “social justice.”
Concepts allow us to classify, organize, and analyze information, making it easier to understand and communicate. They also help us identify patterns, similarities, and differences between different ideas or things.
Concepts are essential for learning and intellectual development, as they provide a foundation for more advanced understanding and learning. They also allow us to build upon existing knowledge and make connections between different fields or areas of study.
Characteristics of Concept
There are several characteristics of a concept, including:
- Abstractness: A concept is an abstract idea that represents a class of objects, events, or phenomena. It is a mental construct that does not have a physical existence.
- Generalization : A concept represents a general idea that applies to a broad range of situations, objects, or events. It helps to identify commonalities among various things or phenomena.
- Mental Representation : A concept is a mental representation of an idea that we use to understand the world around us.
- Clarity : A concept should be clearly defined and understandable, so that others can comprehend it.
- Universality : A concept is universal and can be applied across different domains or contexts.
- Coherence : A concept should be logically consistent and coherent, so that it can be used to make sense of information and solve problems.
- Relevance : A concept should be relevant to the context in which it is used, and should have practical applications.
- Flexibility : A concept should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in our understanding of the world, and to adapt to new situations and contexts.
- Abstraction : A concept is an abstraction, meaning that it represents a simplified version of reality that is easier to understand and manipulate.
Advantage of Concept
Here are some advantages of concepts:
- Efficient Communication: Concepts provide a way to communicate efficiently by encapsulating complex ideas into simple, easily understandable units. For example, the concept of “love” represents a broad range of emotional experiences and allows us to communicate about this complex subject more easily.
- Problem-Solving: Concepts help us to solve problems by allowing us to identify patterns and similarities between different situations. This enables us to apply solutions that have worked in similar situations to new problems.
- Learning : Concepts provide a way to organize and structure new information, making it easier to learn and remember. By understanding the concept of “gravity,” for example, we can better understand the behavior of objects in the physical world.
- Decision Making: Concepts enable us to make more informed decisions by providing a framework for evaluating options and considering trade-offs. For example, the concept of “opportunity cost” helps us to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of different choices.
Limitations of Concept
Limitations of the Concept are as follows:
- Subjectivity : Concepts are inherently subjective, as they are based on individual experiences, beliefs, and cultural contexts. The meaning and interpretation of a concept may vary from person to person or culture to culture.
- Incompleteness : Concepts are often incomplete, as they represent a simplified version of reality. They may leave out important details or nuances, leading to misunderstandings or misinterpretations.
- Rigidity : Concepts can be rigid and inflexible, as they may not be able to accommodate new information or perspectives. This can lead to resistance to change or an inability to adapt to new situations.
- Overgeneralization : Concepts can also be overgeneralized, as people may apply a concept to situations where it does not apply or make assumptions based on incomplete or inaccurate information.
- Context dependence: The meaning of a concept can depend on the context in which it is used, making it difficult to apply the concept universally. This can lead to confusion or misinterpretation.
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GUIDELINE FOR WRITING RESEARCH CONCEPT NOTE
mzumbe university research concept note
H Johnson Nenty
Research is an exciting adventure which if properly carried out adds richly to the student’s experience, to the school academic prestige and to the society through the new knowledge it creates which could be applied in solving related problems and in other services. Young researchers always encounter problems designing and carrying out their first study which usually is their project, thesis or dissertation. Some who are not properly guided or supervised get frustrated and drop out of their programmes because of these problems. The ideas in this paper which metamorphosed over 25 years of teaching and supervising research, represents an attempt to contribute to the solution of such problems especially for graduate students. It presents elaborately, in very simple language and in five sections, the practical steps that should guide beginning researchers on how to carry out their study and report it.
Kgosi Leatile Kgautlhe
Dr. John Karanja , JOHN KARANJA, PhD
research proposal is a comprehensive plan for a research project. It is a written description of a research plan that has to be undertaken. It determines the specific areas of research, states the purpose, scope, methodology, overall organization and limitations of the study. It also estimates its requirements for equipment (if necessary), finance and possible personnel.
A research proposal is a pre-written document which gives an overview of the research tactics. It gives a general idea of the objectives to be achieved and the ways and means to achieve it. Writing research proposal is however a challenging feat. Due to lack of clear guidance from any source, there are many substandard research proposals which are placed before evaluation committee. The researcher came across various people who had no clear understanding of the process and structure of research proposal or research design. This problem has led the researcher to develop a framework to guide the prospective researchers in framing their research design based on the following research questions.1) what is the procedure of writing the research proposal 2) what are the components of the research proposal.So, to give a clear picture about the problem the paper is divided into two parts I) Procedure of writing the research proposal II) Components of the research proposal. The procedure for writing the research proposal is discussed with regards to: 1) Identifying the problem 2) Deciding on the topic 3) Deciding the locale of study 4) Deciding on the data needs 5) Planning the source of data collection 6) Plotting down ways to collect data 7) Identifying methods for analyzing data collection 8) Establishing a basis for designing the Proposal. While the components of research proposal are discussed with regards to : 1) Cover page 2) Abstract 3) Keywords 4) Introduction 5) Review of literature 6) Statement of problem 7) Objectives of the study 8) Hypothesis of the study 9) Period of study 10) Methodology 11) Data analysis 12) Limitation of the study 13) Chapter framework 14) References 15) Appendices.
Dr. IBRAHIM YUSUF
Fred Ntedika Mvumbi
Indrajit Goswami PhD
Dr. Moses Gweyi
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How to Write a Concept Note for Research
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Research Concept Note Template
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A concept note is a summary of a proposal containing a brief description of the idea of the project and the objectives to be pursued.
CONCEPT NOTE DEVELOPMENT
A concept paper is meant to give the university an informed idea of the applicant’s areas of research interest to avail the necessary assistance for them to develop a full research proposal and allocate supervisors to give the necessary assistance. Applicants should therefore be as specific as possible. Concept papers vary in format and specifics depending on the university but are generally concise documents containing accurate relevant information and persuasive arguments to enable decision making. These guidelines are intended to guide applicants on how to develop the concept papers as part of the application process.
2. PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A CONCEPT PAPER
1. Selection of Research Field- Each University has got specialized fields of research and therefore students have to research within those fields only. It is a requirement for the students to select a research field only offered by the University and anything outside what is offered will not be acceptable. For example, a student cannot select Robotics as a research field when it is not among the ones offered within the University. The student’s selection will be always guided by the list of the research fields that have been listed by the University.
2. Generate an area of interest- This is an area where you have a curiosity. What are you curious about (within the general area of specialization/field where you wish to do your research? A student who wishes to specialize in public administration would for example be curious about public service values. A student who wishes to do research in computer science may be very curious about systems security or internet fraud. A student who wishes to specialize in business administration may be curious about the increasing corporate governance crisis. A student who wishes to specialize in management may be curious about management styles adopted by CEOs . The selection of this area is influenced by some factors including:-
· The applicant’s knowledge of the state of the scientific discipline of his or her area of specialization
· The applicant’s knowledge of the Social problems
· The applicant’s values and research expertise in a particular file
· Social premiums
· Practical considerations and accessibility to the research subjects
· Financial constraints-applicants must gauge their financial strength to select an area of research.
· The applicant’s research paradigm-qualitative, quantitative orientation or both
· Educational background will determine what initial knowledge the applicant can bring to the research.
3. Choose one of the areas of curiosity and develop some specific questions (this is called “question framing”). Many research questions can be classified as (1) exploratory (just trying to find out about something); (2) descriptive (trying to obtain descriptive data, such as average age, income, etc.), and (3) explanatory (trying to explain the relationship between variables, like your major in college and your future earnings). Think about answers to certain questions-it is common for a good researcher writing a concept paper to ask the following questions:_
· What will be the research unit?-will the study be on individuals, groups, structures, systems, etc?
· What is the level of research?-first level (relationship between individuals), second level (relationship between individuals and groups), and third level (relationship between groups)
· What key variables are to be explored in the intended study?
· What are the anticipated relationships among the variables identified?
· What hypothesis (if any) does the applicant have on the variables identified?
4. Formulate a possible research topic or title based on the answers above. In particular, once you are clear on your variables and anticipated relationship, it becomes clear to formulate a tentative topic for investigation which will be discussed and approved by your supervisor. The title should not exceed 20 words and should be clear and concise.
5. Do any of your questions lend themselves to a research hypothesis? If so, write out any hypotheses. A research hypothesis is an “educated guess” about relationships that may explain behavior and phenomena. Sometimes we refer to our research hypothesis as our thesis or theses (plural). If research hypotheses involve quantitative data, they may be tested statistically through statistical hypothesis testing. Note that developing hypotheses may require some preliminary research or prior knowledge (which is why a hypothesis is called an educated guess).
6. Identify the ideal evidence (data) and how you will probably try to gather that evidence (your methodology). You are very likely to need multiple types of evidence (data). The methodology you will probably have to use will include the following:
· Review literature on history through secondary sources about the area of your proposed research
· Think about what type of data you may need to conduct your study and address your curiosity
· Think about the methods you are likely to use to get the data that you wish
· Think about the population and sample from which you are likely to get the information
· Think about how you are likely to analyze the data that you may collect
7. Write a Concept Paper. Draw on what you have developed in terms of areas of curiosity, research questions, research hypotheses, data sources, and methodology. Begin with a very direct and explicit statement of your area of interest and your research question(s). This should take about one paragraph. Move on to state your research hypotheses, or thesis statement. This should take another paragraph or so. Conclude with a discussion of your proposed methodology. This should take another paragraph. The entire Concept Paper should be at least 2 pages and not be more than 10 pages, double-spaced. Citations are appropriate if you used any sources in developing your Concept Paper.
8. Before turning in your concept paper, go through this checklist to make sure your concept paper is of the highest quality possible:
1. Are you proposing to research something that is really of interest to you? 2. Are your research questions truly appropriate for academic inquiry, or are they more appropriate for casual or non-scholarly consideration?
3. Are your research questions actual questions that can be researched through academic means (e.g., library sources, interviews, surveys, etc.), or are they opinions or attitudes that can’t be researched?
4. Does your concept paper attempt to research an area of interest to you and ask (and propose to answer) specific questions, or is it trying to solve some problem (finding solutions to problems is not appropriate for a research paper, although you may make policy recommendations as a result of your findings).
5. Are your questions specific?
6. Are your questions answerable through research?
7. Have you stated at least one hypothesis (research or statistical)?
8. Have you identified the data you will need and how you will get it (methodology)? 9. Have you included citations, if appropriate, and a reference list or bibliography?
3. STRUCTURE OF THE CONCEPT PAPER.
As a guide and to encourage uniformity in the assessment of the concept papers, all applicants should structure their concept papers; taking into account the preceding process guidelines; as follows:-
· Cover page include the title of your research, your names as they appear in the academic documents, the area of specialization of the Ph.D. as advertised, and months and date
· Introduction- Briefly tells us about the area of your proposed interest and why such an area is of significance to study. Justify why such an area is of utmost importance to research ( not more than 3 paragraphs)
· Problem statement – Briefly state what the problem of the investigation will be for the proposed study. Give evidence of the magnitude of the problem by either giving the statistics where applicable or citations. Remember your problem can be theoretical or practical and whichever you opt to address, make sure you have ‘convicted’ the problem (two paragraphs)
· Research Questions, Objectives, and Hypotheses . Formulate the key questions which your study intends to explore. The questions should be in harmony with the formulated objectives and any hypotheses if any; given the natural relationships among the three. No more than 6 research questions/ objectives should be formulated
· Literature – Briefly review the current literature about the proposed area of research. Use journal sources and primary sources like dissertations within your area of specialization. At this level, you can show how current you are aware of the debates and developments within your chosen area of research ( 2-3 pages would be adequate)
· Methodology . Finally, you should briefly describe the methodology you intend to follow in conducting the proposed research. You need to show in this methodology the research orientation in terms of research paradigm qualitative, quantitative or both
· References . The last part of your concept paper should be a list of references (all works cited in the text) and ensure you follow the American psychological association style of referencing (APA). Its guidelines are available on the World Wide Web.
How To Write a Concept Paper for Academic Research: An Ultimate Guide
A concept paper is one of the first steps in helping you fully realize your research project. Because of this, some schools opt to teach students how to write concept papers as early as high school. In college, professors sometimes require their students to submit concept papers before suggesting their research projects to serve as the foundations for their theses.
If you’re reading this right now, you’ve probably been assigned by your teacher or professor to write a concept paper. To help you get started, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide on how to write a proper concept paper.
Related: How to Write Significance of the Study (with Examples)
Table of Contents
What Is the Concept Paper?
1. academic research concept papers, 2. advertising concept papers, 3. research grant concept papers, concept paper vs. research proposal, tips for finding your research topic, 2. think of research questions that you want to answer in your project, 3. formulate your research hypothesis, 4. plan out how you will achieve, analyze, and present your data, 2. introduction, 3. purpose of the study, 4. preliminary literature review, 5. objectives of the study, 6. research questions and hypotheses, 7. proposed methodology, 8. proposed research timeline, 9. references, sample concept paper for research proposal (pdf), tips for writing your concept paper.
Generally, a concept paper is a summary of everything related to your proposed project or topic. A concept paper indicates what the project is all about, why it’s important, and how and when you plan to conduct your project.
Different Types of the Concept Paper and Their Uses
This type of concept paper is the most common type and the one most people are familiar with. Concept papers for academic research are used by students to provide an outline for their prospective research topics.
These concept papers are used to help students flesh out all the information and ideas related to their topic so that they may arrive at a more specific research hypothesis.
Since this is the most common type of concept paper, it will be the main focus of this article.
Advertising concept papers are usually written by the creative and concept teams in advertising and marketing agencies.
Through a concept paper, the foundation or theme for an advertising campaign or strategy is formed. The concept paper can also serve as a bulletin board for ideas that the creative and concept teams can add to or develop.
This type of concept paper usually discusses who the target audience of the campaign is, what approach of the campaign will be, how the campaign will be implemented, and the projected benefits and impact of the campaign to the company’s sales, consumer base, and other aspects of the company.
This type of concept paper is most common in the academe and business world. Alongside proving why your research project should be conducted, a research grant concept paper must also appeal to the company or funding agency on why they should be granted funds.
The paper should indicate a proposed timeline and budget for the entire project. It should also be able to persuade the company or funding agency on the benefits of your research project– whether it be an increase in sales or productivity or for the benefit of the general public.
It’s important to discuss the differences between the two because a lot of people often use these terms interchangeably.
A concept paper is one of the first steps in conducting a research project. It is during this process that ideas and relevant information to the research topic are gathered to produce the research hypothesis. Thus, a concept paper should always precede the research proposal.
A research proposal is a more in-depth outline of a more fleshed-out research project. This is the final step before a researcher can conduct their research project. Although both have similar elements and structures, a research proposal is more specific when it comes to how the entire research project will be conducted.
Getting Started on Your Concept Paper
1. find a research topic you are interested in.
When choosing a research topic, make sure that it is something you are passionate about or want to learn more about. If you are writing one for school, make sure it is still relevant to the subject of your class. Choosing a topic you aren’t invested in may cause you to lose interest in your project later on, which may lower the quality of the research you’ll produce.
A research project may last for months and even years, so it’s important that you will never lose interest in your topic.
- Look for inspiration everywhere. Take a walk outside, read books, or go on your computer. Look around you and try to brainstorm ideas about everything you see. Try to remember any questions you might have asked yourself before like why something is the way it is or why can’t this be done instead of that .
- Think big. If you’re having trouble thinking up a specific topic to base your research project on, choosing a broad topic and then working your way down should help.
- Is it achievable? A lot of students make the mistake of choosing a topic that is hard to achieve in terms of materials, data, and/or funding available. Before you decide on a research topic, make sure you consider these aspects. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort later on.
- Be as specific as can be. Another common mistake that students make is that they sometimes choose a research topic that is too broad. This results in extra effort and wasted time while conducting their research project. For example: Instead of “The Effects of Bananas on Hungry Monkeys” , you could specify it to “The Effects of Cavendish Bananas on Potassium-deficiency in Hungry Philippine Long-tailed Macaques in Palawan, Philippines”.
Now that you have a general idea of the topic of your research project, you now need to formulate research questions based on your project. These questions will serve as the basis for what your project aims to answer. Like your research topic, make sure these are specific and answerable.
Following the earlier example, possible research questions could be:
- Do Cavendish bananas produce more visible effects on K-deficiency than other bananas?
- How susceptible are Philippine long-tailed macaques to K-deficiency?
- What are the effects of K-deficiency in Philippine long-tailed macaques?
After formulating the research questions, you should also provide your hypothesis for each question. A research hypothesis is a tentative answer to the research problem. You must provide educated answers to the questions based on your existing knowledge of the topic before you conduct your research project.
After conducting research and collecting all of the data into the final research paper, you will then have to approve or disprove these hypotheses based on the outcome of the project.
Prepare a plan on how to acquire the data you will need for your research project. Take note of the different types of analysis you will need to perform on your data to get the desired results. Determine the nature of the relationship between different variables in your research.
Also, make sure that you are able to present your data in a clear and readable manner for those who will read your concept paper. You can achieve this by using tables, charts, graphs, and other visual aids.
Related: How to Make Conceptual Framework (with Examples and Templates)
Generalized Structure of a Concept Paper
Since concept papers are just summaries of your research project, they are usually short and no longer than 5 pages. However, for big research projects, concept papers can reach up to more than 20 pages.
Your teacher or professor may give you a certain format for your concept papers. Generally, most concept papers are double-spaced and are less than 500 words in length.
Even though there are different types of concept papers, we’ve provided you with a generalized structure that contains elements that can be found in any type of concept paper.
The title for your paper must be able to effectively summarize what your research is all about. Use simple words so that people who read the title of your research will know what it’s all about even without reading the entire paper.
The introduction should give the reader a brief background of the research topic and state the main objective that your project aims to achieve. This section should also include a short overview of the benefits of the research project to persuade the reader to acknowledge the need for the project.
The Purpose of the Study should be written in a way that convinces the reader of the need to address the existing problem or gap in knowledge that the research project aims to resolve. In this section, you have to go into more detail about the benefits and value of your project for the target audience/s.
This section features related studies and papers that will support your research topic. Use this section to analyze the results and methodologies of previous studies and address any gaps in knowledge or questions that your research project aims to answer. You may also use the data to assert the importance of conducting your research.
When choosing which papers and studies you should include in the Preliminary Literature Review, make sure to choose relevant and reliable sources. Reliable sources include academic journals, credible news outlets, government websites, and others. Also, take note of the authors for the papers as you will need to cite them in the References section.
Simply state the main objectives that your research is trying to achieve. The objectives should be able to indicate the direction of the study for both the reader and the researcher. As with other elements in the paper, the objectives should be specific and clearly defined.
Gather the research questions and equivalent research hypotheses you formulated in the earlier step and list them down in this section.
In this section, you should be able to guide the reader through the process of how you will conduct the research project. Make sure to state the purpose for each step of the process, as well as the type of data to be collected and the target population.
Depending on the nature of your research project, the length of the entire process can vary significantly. What’s important is that you are able to provide a reasonable and achievable timeline for your project.
Make sure the time you will allot for each component of your research won’t be too excessive or too insufficient so that the quality of your research won’t suffer.
Ensure that you will give credit to all the authors of the sources you used in your paper. Depending on your area of study or the instructions of your professor, you may need to use a certain style of citation.
There are three main citation styles: the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and the Chicago style.
The APA style is mostly used for papers related to education, psychology, and the sciences. The APA citation style usually follows this format:
The MLA citation style is the format used by papers and manuscripts in disciplines related to the arts and humanities. The MLA citation style follows this format:
The Chicago citation style is usually used for papers related to business, history, and the fine arts. It follows this citation format:
This is a concept paper sample provided by Dr. Bernard Lango from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (modified for use in this article). Simply click the link above the download the PDF file.
- Use simple, concise language. Minimize the use of flowery language and always try to use simple and easy-to-understand language. Too many technical or difficult words in your paper may alienate your readers and make your paper hard to read.
- Choose your sources wisely. When scouring the Internet for sources to use, you should always be wary and double-check the authenticity of your source. Doing this will increase the authenticity of your research project’s claims and ensure better data gathered during the process.
- Follow the specified format, if any. Make sure to follow any specified format when writing your concept paper. This is very important, especially if you’re writing your concept paper for class. Failure to follow the format will usually result in point deductions and delays because of multiple revisions needed.
- Proofread often. Make it a point to reread different sections of your concept paper after you write them. Another way you can do this is by taking a break for a few days and then coming back to proofread your writing. You may notice certain areas you’d like to revise or mistakes you’d like to fix. Make proofreading a habit to increase the quality of your paper.
Ruth Raganit obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Her love affair with Earth sciences began when she saw a pretty rock and wondered how it came to be. She also likes playing video games, doing digital art, and reading manga.
6 thoughts on “ How To Write a Concept Paper for Academic Research: An Ultimate Guide ”
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Thank you, this is way much easier to understand.
thanks get alot
Thanks for this. Sobrang helpful at mas madaling gumawa na may guide na ganito. Kudos!
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Writing a Concept Note
- Title. A big part of the audience’s first impression of your work will solely be dependent on the title, and if that much pressure is reliant on the title, making it will not be easy. Your title should be snappy and aggressive, yet fun and exciting. It should impress upon your audience the right image that you are trying to project about the content of your concept note.
- Background. The background you present in your concept notes must answer to crucial questions: “Why is it important that we address the problem identified in the study?” and “What means have already been conducted to try to solve the problem?” These questions, although simple, can already provide a thorough discussion of the relevance of the project being presented.
- Objectives. Since you have a problem that you are addressing through your concept paper, you must then be aiming at certain goals or outcomes. State these in your concept paper as well. Your objectives can either be short-termed or long-termed. They need to be as specific as possible. Providing numbers and statistics will make your objectives more convincing, so it will help if you have those to include as well.
- Outputs. Oftentimes, projects are proposed to donors because they are aiming for physical and tangible outputs to be constructed for them. It can be in the form of technical facilities or the publication of information materials. Intangible materials may also be mentioned in concept notes, such as raised awareness to a specific problem, and increased responsiveness toward an issue.
- Activities and Duration. You should also discuss the activities and tasks you need to conduct to be able to achieve your project objectives. The amount of time you need to invest in doing them should also be specified since this will give your audience an idea on how long the project has to be implemented before results start showing.
- Beneficiaries. When talking to prospective donors, this aspect of your concept note should be highlighted. You should do your best in discussing what they will get if they fund your project. After all, you and your project are an investment to them. They are not going to give you money for the sake of charity. The benefits are the fruits of the investment that they will reap.
- Project Management. This part will discuss all the necessary steps you need to follow to be able to realize your plan. Your project management should be well-structured and realistic so that your audience will be convinced that it is, in fact, realizable. Otherwise, even if you promise benefits and long-term products, you will not get the support and funding you will need if you cannot convince them of your ability to make it all come true.
- Budget. This part should only be included if your audience requests for it. Otherwise, it would be best to keep your estimated amount to yourself. When presenting your budget in your concept paper, you must include into the equation all the necessary resources that you will need to realize the project. This will include the staff you will have to pay, the equipment, the materials, the facilities, the vehicles, and other things you might need.
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Tips in Creating Your Own Concept Note
- Your goal is to be able to express every important detail about your project in as few words as you can. Remember, you are trying to condense an entire project proposal into just 2 to 3 pages. Do not overwhelm your audience with too much blabbering they don’t need to hear, but avoid sounding vague either. To be sure, create bullet points of the necessary details about your project and expound on them through your concept note.
- It is important that you consider your audience before and while you are making your concept note. Your audience is who you are trying to please, so you should try to make your content as relevant to their likes and current needs. It would help if you get to know your audience before presenting to them. Chances are, your audiences have different preferences. If you must, adjust your concept notes depending on who you will present it to.
- It is also important for you to consider your language, of course, depending on who you are talking to. If your audience is made up of scientists, use scientific terms and jargon to more effectively establish rapport with them. Your language is your greatest tool to convince these people that your project is worth investing on. Use it well.
- Refrain from discussing monetary issues on your concept notes. Although everybody knows that your goal is to raise funds for your project, you don’t necessarily have to include it in the discussion. Also, money is not going to help you convince your audience to support you.
- Take care of the appearance of your paper. Needless to say, it should be presentable, clean, and professional. Since you are not being given the chance to personally talk (unless your concept note earns the approval of your audience), your concept note will represent you. How it looks will mirror you and your team’s names and personalities. Also, since it is a business document, make it look like one. Observe proper margins, and use the right font and spacing. Check for errors and don’t forget to include your name and contact information on the header. Be keen to details.
- Don’t send concept notes just because you feel like doing so. There is a very slim chance for a randomly submitted concept note to be accepted. Make sure you have targeted organizations because your chances with them are bigger. However, if you don’t, establish connections through the people you already know. Look for people who are willing to listen to what you have to say.
Project Concept Note Template
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