Research Paper: Topic, Preliminary Research, and Rationale Assignment Instructions


The field of marriage and family counseling is varied and expansive.  Narrowing down personal interests and strengths as it applies to the material is important as you further your study.  The purpose of this assignment is to select a research paper topic you want to explore further, begin to develop pertinent ideas utilizing current and applicable research, and succinctly explain your interest in the topic as well as its usefulness within the field of counseling.  Supporting your hypothesis with well documented, peer reviewed information is a skill necessary and essential to becoming an effective counselor.


In preparation for the Research Paper: Final Research Paper Assignment, you will submit the Research Paper: Topic, Preliminary Research, and Rationale Assignment. This assignment will provide a description and explanation of your choice in topic, include a rationale, and include a minimum of 4 supporting sources (do not use the Bible or the textbook for this assignment) that will be used in the Research Paper: Final Research Paper Assignment.

Review the following requirements before submitting this assignment:

  • Must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document, adhering to current APA format.
  • Topic portion must provide a detailed description.
  • Rationale portion must include:
    • Explanation of your interest in the topic.
    • Explanation of the value of this topic in the field.
  • Minimum of 4 sources must be cited in the topic description and rationale.
  • Reference page must also be included, citing the preliminary research, and formatted in the current
  • Assignment will be a minimum of 1 page for the body of the paper (Topic and Rationale) with a second page containing the reference list.


First Page:   

  • State your topic as a heading.  You should complete a minimum of one page for the topic and rationale. Describe your topic in a very strong paragraph (4 plus sentences).

Regarding topic choiceConsider a problem area in marriage and family that you may have an interest in-communication, blended families, loss of child, PTSD or trauma in family systems, gender roles, deployments and families, unforgiveness, infidelity issues, etc.  Do not make it too broad (i.e.-Christian Marriage or God’s Plan for Marriage).  Do not choose a theological study of marriage.  Review textbooks for topic ideas, but try to avoid using attachment styles as it has been thoroughly covered in this course. 

  • The first paragraph of your rationale will summarize your interest in the topic and be at least 4 sentences long.  The second paragraph will include the value of this topic in the field of marriage and family counseling.

** The Rationale area requires four outside, peer reviewed sources cited in current APA format. Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years. Acceptable sources include scholarly sources. You WILL NOT use the Bible or our texts for this assignment.

Your Research Paper: Final Research Paper Assignment will contain at least 8 sources in addition to our text(s) (1 or both) and the BibleDo not use textbooks as sources for this assignment. Use peer reviewed sources. Avoid direct quotes, and do not fill with Bible verses at this point.

Second Page (or 3rd page if your work went a little over):

Reference Page. List all sources in current APA format as you would in formal paper.

APA HelpsPlease refer to the current APA Manual for current APA guidelines.  You may also refer to the online writing center for specific questions.




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