1) What Is the Qualifying Paper?
The Qualifying Paper (QP) is a document of approximately 40 pages (double-spaced, with 12-point font), exclusive of references and appendices, which presents critical literature reviews of scholarship pertaining to the topic area you intend to research. Papers must be written in APA format. The point of writing a QP is to develop the expertise you need to do dissertation research on your own. The qualifying process should give you the analytic tools you need to become an independent researcher and writer. The QP is not about substantive materials alone, but about your relationship to extant literature in your fields of interest. Developing the QP should entail intense conversations with faculty and others about the works you think you need to read and understand for your work. The QP:
2) Content of the QP
Selecting a Topic and Developing Questions
In consultation with the program advisor and appropriate faculty, the student formulates a research topic based on interest and its potential suitability as a dissertation topic (for example, "The benefits and challenges of professional development mentoring for Jewish Studies teachers at the high school level"). The student then generates a set of questions (approximately three to four) emerging from the topic, which will frame reviews of literature (for example, "Does the research literature on mentoring with general studies high school teachers inform mentoring in Jewish day school settings?" "What is known about the effectiveness of professional development programs in Jewish schools?").
In the process of developing questions, students should also generate a bibliography of the relevant literature to be reviewed.
The questions and accompanying bibliography will then be submitted to the QP committee for review.
3). Writing Time
Typically the student takes one semester, but no more than two semesters, to complete the QP.
4). QP Evaluation and Oral Presentation
The QP is evaluated by the QP committee and discussed with the student at an oral presentation of the QP findings.