The Enhanced Research Paper (ERP) is an alternative to writing a thesis, but carries no credit for completion; it is simply a requirement for graduation if you choose not to write a thesis.
The ERP consists of two components: an enhanced version of a previously written research paper, and a stand-alone policy memorandum related to the subject matter of the paper. The ERP must constitute a significant improvement over the initial research paper.
Following is the process for writing an enhanced research paper:
- Submit the research paper you wish to enhance and an ERP prospectus to a faculty member by the deadline. The research paper must have been completed in a course during your residence as an M.A. student at the Policy Center. The paper you submit must be the original paper, including the grade and comments from the professor in the course. You may submit the research paper and prospectus to the professor for whom you wrote the paper, but you are also free to submit them to any other Duquesne faculty member as well. Faculty are not required to work with former students on ERPs. The ERP prospectus should outline the ways in which you will enhance the existing research paper. Enhancements will usually include additional cases or theories, as well as deeper analysis of the issues. In addition, the ERP prospectus should outline the content and purposes of the stand-alone policy memorandum. (Suggested length: 5 pages.) If the faculty member and Policy Center's director approve the ERP prospectus, the faculty member becomes the ERP director.
- In consultation with the ERP director, write an ERP proposal. The proposal provides a detailed account of (a) the enhancement planned to the research paper (e.g., an overview of additional cases or additional theory) and (b) the content and purposes of the stand-alone policy memorandum. Submit the proposal to the ERP director and the Policy Center's director for approval and signature by the required deadline. (Suggested length: 7 pages.)
- If the proposal is approved and if the research involves human subjects, submit the proposal to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in a timely manner, along with any other necessary IRB submissions (i.e., a plan for protecting human subjects). The thesis director will serve as principal investigator (PI) for all IRB submissions and approvals. However, you are responsible for timely submission and updating of all required IRB documents and approvals, as well as for following all IRB rules and directives.
- Submit the draft paper and policy memorandum to the ERP director for review by the required deadline. The director may require further revisions before the formal presentation.
- With permission, make an oral presentation of your research. The presentation is approximately one hour long and includes the ERP director and Policy Center's director. The presentation will only be scheduled when the ERP director determines that the ERP is satisfactory. It is not open to the public except by special permission of the ERP director and Policy Center's director. ERP presentations are ordinarily scheduled only in the fall and spring semesters. Presentations will be scheduled in the summer term only in extraordinary circumstances and with the agreement of the ERP director and the Policy Center's director. Following the presentation the director determines what additional revisions may be required for the final paper.
- Submit copies of the accepted paper and policy memorandum to the Policy Center's director and administrative assistant.
Generally, you must complete all ERP requirements during the regular academic year.