Capstone Project | Explained step by step with examples
Help with your Capstone Project
Taking on a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree with a Capstone Project means switching to an entirely different writing style than you may have used in the past. While you may be used to academic writing and parsing through scholarly journals, writing a thesis or dissertation is an entirely different process.
At some colleges and universities, there is no difference between the words “thesis” and “Capstone Project”, but generally these are five-chapter papers that explore a new and original research topic. Nonetheless, both types of papers amount to the same writing process.
Chapter 1 is the introduction:
The purpose for the research should not be a mystery: begin the section with a one-sentence research problem statement that includes the variables studied. Follow the purpose of the research with a description of the background and the significance of the problem. Include the impact of the problem at the location where the research will be taking place and three or four research questions.
Chapter 2, the literature review:
This describes the history of the topic and key literature sources, illustrates major issues and refines focus to indicate research questions. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a broad picture of the literature, including analysis of any studies encompassing the scope of the entire applied research project.
Chapter 3 is the methodology:
Can be either qualitative or quantitative. Provide a rationale for using the particular methodology—either for the entire applied research project or for each specific research question. For a thesis, this will require outlining your step-by-step means of gathering data. For a dissertation, this may involve showing how you have found your data in the literature or from government records.
In Chapter 4, your findings are outlined:
You need to explain every piece of information you have collected in detail, and if there were any problems in the data.
Finally, Chapter 5 is where you draw your conclusions.
Provide your reader with deep analysis of what your data means in the real world, and how it might lead to change.
Developing your first draft
Using your outline, work through the paper from beginning to end. Normally, the opening paragraph should ‘hook’ the reader, contain your thesis statement, and explain what you are going to do in the paper so that the reader knows what to expect.
Be careful to link your subsequent sections to your main argument, make them substantive and persuasive. Importantly, however, avoid exaggeration. Do not overstate your points in ways that are clearly not supported by evidence. Be clear about what is known and what is not known. Recognize complexity but always stay with your main argument.
A paragraph is a means of developing and framing an idea or impression. As a general rule, you should address only one major idea per paragraph. Keep in mind that the divisions between paragraphs aren’t random, but indicate a shift in focus. In other words, you must carefully and clearly organize the order of your paragraphs so that they are logically positioned throughout your paper.
If you are having trouble coming up with arguments for your Capstone Project, let us help you by doing the research for you.
The closing should pull the whole discussion together, reinforcing your main Capstone Project points, and perhaps provoke further thought. It is often best to prepare the research and outline well, then to sit down and write the first draft all at once, and worry about refining it later. The simplest and most basic conclusion is one that restates the thesis in different words and then discusses its implications.
Writing your paper with originality
Many students make the mistake of thinking that the content of their paper is all that matters. Although the content is vitally important, it will not mean much if the reader cannot understand what you are trying to say. You may have some great ideas in your paper but if you cannot effectively communicate them you will not receive a very good grade.
Diction is the style of how you write. This refers to the way in which you create and communicate your ideas. How you construct and deliver your message is just as important as all of the facts within your term paper. This means that you need to write for clarity as well as accuracy. The challenge seems to be that many students think that they need to be able to utilize ten-dollar words and imagery in order to really impress their professors. To the contrary, your professor will be impressed if you can get your message across quickly and effectively. You will be penalized if you use words incorrectly or for no reason except to pad your Capstone Project.
Writing in an original fashion means that you need to think and plan ahead. Writing your paper at the last minute will not give you the time you need to be able to do the research you need to make your term paper stand out from the crowd. Make sure that you begin your research right away when you are assigned your paper so that you can get ahead of the game.
Editing your paper
Be sure to leave enough time for editing: editing should take about 20 percent of the time allotted. While writing varies, it takes about 20 hours of research, eight hours to write, and seven hours to edit and proof a ten-page paper properly and thoroughly, and longer for Capstone Projects that are expected to be 25 pages or more.
To edit your Capstone Project, reread each page out loud to ensure a logical flow of information and clarity. Ensure you explain yourself well and that every paragraph, in some way, serves to support the thesis and draw the reader towards your conclusions.
We’re here to help. If you need assistance in getting through all of these steps, we can help you succeed on your Capstone Project. Contact us!
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