Applied Research Paper Examples

Graduate students who are not completing a thesis must complete an applied research paper (sometimes called a “file paper” or “exit paper”). Whereas the thesis is a report of the outcome of the student’s own research, the applied research paper is formatted similarly to a case presentation, including a comprehensive biopsychosocial relevant research literature (e.g., etiology, diagnosis, treatment), detailed theoretical case conceptualization, and a treatment summary (e.g. goals, methods, and course of treatment).

Applied Research Prospectus

Once a case is identified, students should prepare a 1-2 page prospectus for the Graduate Program Coordinator. The purpose of the prospectus is to verify that the selected case is appropriate for use in the applied research paper. To this end, students should provide the following information in the prospectus: brief summary of the presenting problem, nature and course of treatment, current treatment status, and a list of potential references for use in the paper. Furthermore, the prospectus should also indicate who the student would like to serve as Graduate Committee chair and committee member(s). The Graduate Program Coordinator will review the prospectus and circulate the document to the proposed committee chair and members for review. Should faculty feel there are significant concerns regarding the case, the student will be required to submit a revised prospectus or select another case for presentation and submit a new prospectus. Feedback will be provided to the student regarding faculty concerns by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Applied Research Paper

The applied research paper represents formal evidence of a student’s mastery in applying research and theory to case conceptualization and intervention. To this end, the applied research paper should not only present a summary of assessment and intervention with a client, the applied research paper should provide a summary of relevant research. For example, if an student were presenting a case in which s/he were treating a patient diagnosed with major depressive disorder using an interpersonal theoretical orientation, then the applied research paper would necessarily provide a brief literature review of interpersonal theory and its usefulness in the treatment of major depressive disorder. A checklist of the typical sections and subsections of the applied research paper is provided below. Occasionally, the unique nature of a particular case may merit some deviation from this format. These deviations should be made with the approval of the graduate advisory chair.

Background Information

            Presenting problem/history of the problem

            Testing information (if available)

            Individual/family history

            Medical/Psychological history


            DSM-5 Diagnosis

Case Formulation[1]

            Nomothetic disorder conceptualization

    How does a particular theory explain a set of symptoms?

    What are the underlying mechanisms that support the development and persistence of the symptoms?

            Idiographic conceptualization

                        How is the patient’s presentation consistent with the theoretical constructs?


            Theory based treatment goals

            Strategies and rationale

Treatment Summary

            Changes across treatment




                        Therapy relationship/process

            Test scores (if available)         

Recommendations for the future

[1] This is the most important section of the applied research paper. Not only are students expected to demonstrate a clear, theoretically based understanding of the client’s symptoms and the mechanisms causing these symptoms, this conceptualization should directly inform the treatment goals and structure both treatment summary and recommendations for the future.

A thesis is one of two capstone options.  Completion of a thesis is an excellent opportunity to not only hone your research, analytic, and writing skills. Only students who have completed PSYC 5113 (Research and Statistical Analysis) will be eligible for pursuit of a thesis. 

Completion of a thesis is accomplished in three steps.  Each step must be completed by the prescribed deadlines (see Important Dates).  First, students must complete a thesis prospectus.  The purpose of the prospectus is to help ascertain a student's preparedness and potential for completing the thesis in a timely manner.  The prospectus must be completed the semester prior to enrollment in PSYC 6983 (Thesis I).  Second, students must enroll in and successfully complete PSYC 6983 (Thesis I).  Students must obtain committee approval of the thesis project while enrolled in PSYC 6983.  A Student may only enroll in PSYC 6983 one time during his/her academic career.  Failure to obtain committee approval to pursue the thesis research in PSYC 6993 will render the student ineligible to enroll in PSYC 6993. Under these circumstances, no credits will be granted for PSYC 6983 and the transcript grade will remain “X” which will not influence the student’s graduate GPA. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the Department Chair.  The third, and final step is completion of the thesis.  Upon successful completion of PSYC 6983, students will enroll in PSYC 6993.  While it is anticipated that a student will be able to complete the the thesis during a single semester of PSYC 6993, should s/he require additional semesters, s/he will be required to continuously enroll in PSYC 6993 until the completion of the thesis project.  Additional information and details regarding the thesis process and product are found in the Graduate Handbook and Graduate Catalog. 

Understanding Applied Research With Definition and Examples

What is applied research? According to the standard definition of applied research,

It is a form of systematic research that involves the pragmatic application related to science. Applied research utilizes a major part of theories that are presented by research communities.

Methods of knowledge and techniques are also used in applied research. As for why applied research require the methods of knowledge, techniques and theories, all the three commodities are used in several parts such as; businesses, states or clients. Just to make it clear, applied research can be and is being used by business or other organizations around the world.

Difference Between Applied Research and R&D(Research and Development)

Most organizations or individuals confuse applied research as a part of R&D (research and development). But this is not correct. Research and Development, in business organizations is related to the development of products that will be attracting to a specific market, and once the products have been delivered, they will generate revenue. That entire part is called development.

However, the research part of R&D is for doing a research and determining the wants and needs of consumers of different markets. Once this has been determined, the production of those products or services take place which help filling in the gap that was left open before.

This kind of research is simple, and the best part is the fact that it can also be applied to the existing products. Applying this on the existing products lead to better and improved variants of the products that are being currently offered.

This proves that applied research is better for improving the already owned territory, and also best for expanding and exploring new horizons.

Benefits of Applied Research in Business and Non-Profit Organizations

Talking about business and organizations that can profit from applied research, the biggest advantage of applied research is the fact that non-profit organizations take the most out of this research.

Most of the non-profit organizations are working with set goal. There could be several reasons behind this, either they are doing so to pull in people towards the organization or they are trying to increase public awareness against crimes or diseases.

Taking this scenario into account, applied research can be used to find out what cause or what diseases attracts the people most towards an organization. After that has been done, the organization can then create different strategies that will help them increase their statuses among people or other organizations with similar interests.

This will also allow the organizations to convince people to visit them and take a look at what they plan on doing regarding the issue at hand.

[ Related: What is a research proposal? ]

Sample Case Study of Applied Research

In other situations, applied research can also be used as one of the most productive approaches to different cases. Let’s take a company in this scenario. The company is mass-producing items that are their best. Now those items might be lacking something very important, but that information will be overlooked by the company 9 out of 10 times. However, an outsider will be quicker in spotting that issue plaguing the items.

This issue can be eradicated in two ways. The company can either do a through applied research internally, or hire professional helpers who will perform applied research and help the company get rid of the issue. This results in a higher public status as well as more opportunities for improvements.

[ Related: Definition and methods used in Qualitative research ] 

Applied Research in Military Organizations

Another great example of applied research is military organizations. They also use applied research to point out several factors that might be overlooked otherwise. For example; by performing applied research,

  • A military organization can find out efficaciousness of soldier training.
  • In a different scenario, they can also determine the effectiveness of recruitment practices.
  • Dealing with enemies in times of war.
  • Utilizing internet to stop the terrorists that are currently in their own country.
  • Determining how effective different operation styles are.

[ Related: What is a social research proposal? ]

Examples of Applied Research

Below are some examples of applied research

  • Studying about the kinds of motivations that will invigorate people so they can step up and take part in different kinds of charities.
  • Finding out different strategies that are best to incite the employees in the business organization or other professions.
  • Researching about different types of keyboard designs or layouts and then finding out the one that is best for both functionality and comfort.
  • Finding out the best way to approach and treat diseases like anxiety/depression/asthma… etc.
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