Thought Papers

thoughtWhat is a Thought Paper? (pdf 148kb)

Thought papers are concise, accessible summaries based on research and your interpretation of an analysis of the results at this stage.

These brief papers allow you to explore your own thoughts, ideas, and insights regarding a particular topic in a less formal way than a journal article or conference paper. They should be written so audiences outside your field can understand your analysis and discussion.

You get to determine why the discussion of these issues is meaningful, and why the questions raised are significant. 


Your thought paper should demonstrate:

  • evidence of considered, analytical thinking about the topic
  • points articulated in a clear, straightforward, and understandable way
  • a logical, compelling, and convincing argument, proposition or demonstration of the topic

Questions to consider in the body of the paper 

  • Who is the message for?
  • What issue does the your thought paper address? 
  • Why is this issue current and relevant? 
  • What position do you take on the issue? Why?
  • What evidence do you have to support this argument? 

bubble Thought Paper template (word 275kb)

bubble Sample thought paper (pdf 152kb)

The thought papers are peer reviewed and then available open access online.  With enough interest from a group, thought papers can be reworked into longer papers for a special edition of the Learning Communities Journal, a peer reviewed journal published by the Northern Institute -

For any questions, contact

Belinda Snell
Research Coordinator, Northern Institute