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If you are a final year student pursuing a degree program, you have probably heard of the capstone project. To understand the capstone project better, it may help to know the meaning of a capstone.
A capstone refers to the top stone layer that crowns up the building of a wall. It is the culminating piece of the building process.
In the same way, the capstone project is the pinnacle of the learning experience in your degree program.
By definition, the academic paper is a summation of everything that you have gained meant to be a crowning achievement at the end of your academic program.
A capstone project is a two-semester unit done in the final year of a degree program that involves the composition of a research proposal by a student in an area of their interest and the performance of the proposed research.
During certain times in history, when recorded information was scarce, people with limited learning experiences were considered educated.
Nowadays, there are vast stockpiles of knowledge available everywhere. Anyone with internet access can get volumes of information at their pleasure.
Knowing a specific set of facts may not be enough to qualify an individual as educated, although it may not be possible to know everything at any given time.
The quest for knowledge is an ongoing process. Therefore, to set yourself above the bar in a very competitive world, you have to be skilled in the very act of learning.
This is where the process of tackling a capstone project becomes of the highest importance.
The process of taking on a capstone project will help your proficiency in:
The above skills are career builders that can give you an edge in a competitive environment. Regardless of the purpose of taking a capstone project, the process, if correctly followed, will be highly rewarding and beneficial.
Although it may not seem so, tackling a capstone project is actually for your benefit.
It may seem like a challenging task, but it provides you the opportunity to prove your level of skill and knowledge.
Beyond that, you could use it as an employment portfolio to display what you can do.
Your capstone project should cover several sections in writing. Each part will be covered below.
As earlier mentioned, the capstone project runs across two semesters. In the first semester, you will have to pick out a topic of interest or problem.
The topic should relate to your general area of study and a subject that you find engaging and inspiring. You are likely to tackle an exciting subject in a short time than one that numbs your mind.
You may be assigned a mentor from the faculty, who will supervise and guide you through the capstone proposal and research.
At the end of the semester, you will have to submit the proposal to a board of advisors who will evaluate it. If they approve it, you will carry out the research that you have proposed.
In your research proposal, you will introduce your subject area and thesis statement by telling the reader what you will address in your project.
You should provide any general information that the reader needs to know.
The purpose of the introduction is to outline the general nature of the problem. It should capture the attention of the reader and make them want to read more.
This chapter should include background information specific to your topic. It should give the reader some information about the general context of your topic.
It should also include a statement of the problem that you are going to investigate.
Explain in reasonable detail the purpose of your research.
Outline your research objectives beginning with the most general, then narrow down to the specifics. It must closely relate to the identified problem.
Introduce your hypothesis and convey your suppositions in the most transparent way possible. Be sure to include the scope of your research.
The rationale for your study should also appear here. Your justification provides a theoretical basis for your study. It should tie together all the individual components of this chapter.
This chapter should enable you to show how the results of your research can assist in solving the problem.
Before researching, you should evaluate and understand previous studies already attempted and accomplished by others in your field.
In this chapter, you should review and internalize the information obtained from investigating the work of others.
Doing this may provide you a conceptual framework for your study.
You will need to perform a survey of potentially relevant sources of information.
Start with general information about your topic and then narrow down as you go on.
Ensure to keep careful records so that you know all the sources of your information.
Categorize the gathered information according to common themes. Develop chapters from the themes and organize them appropriately.
Take note of what you understand to be the main points of your arguments.
Make sure to read extensively on the matter. Try to exhaust as much current material as possible.
This section should tackle each point in your research questions and problem statement.
Make a summary of the literature and cite all your sources.
In this chapter of you will need to detail the method you used to conduct your study. Be as specific as possible.
Your reader should be able to perform the same research you carry out using only the information you have provided.
Make sure to go step-by-step as you detail the process and describe the type of study you are carrying out. Elaborate on your methods of data collection.
This may depend on whether you need primary or secondary data sources. Mention the tools you will use in the data gathering process.
Important information, such as the location where the research will take place, must be included. Give a general description of the population under investigation if applicable.
Remember to state your intended target population together with the relevant sampling strategies. If a sample was selected, explain how.
Later, add your preferred method of data analysis. Explain how the data analysis will assist you in answering the research questions.
After your capstone project proposal is approved, it is time actually to do the research.
This chapter presents the results of your research. The length of this chapter will vary according to the type of research you conducted.
Use tables and charts to help in presenting the results. You will discuss and interpret the information represented here in the next chapter.
This section should consist of a summary of your findings. In addition, it should contain a discussion of the conclusions you draw from the study
Include your data analysis approaches and the significance of the data concerning the research question.
Write this chapter in a way that demonstrates your critical thinking capabilities. It should also show your ability in the application of acquired knowledge.
Provide any suggestions that you may have gathered up in the course of your investigation here.
Regularly reread your work and make the necessary corrections. Look through all the sections and ensure that your present your ideas logically and flow well.
Ask someone with writing experience to look over your work and give you feedback. Remember that the project committee your will evaluate and grade your capstone.
Therefore, the quality of your presentation will influence the evaluation process. Communication skills are of the utmost importance. Be sure to list all your references.
The amount of work that goes into a capstone paper is a lot, but not impossible to handle.
Sometimes students may feel obligated to provide sophisticated information assuming their advisors prefer it.
However, this should not be the case. Always present the information in the most straightforwardly and understandable way despite the complexity.
Capstone projects cannot be completed in a week. Remember to time yourself as you work.
Divide your work into sections you can handle and handle them a little at a time.
It also helps to research further and see how other students have successfully handled their projects.
With practice and learning, you can produce a capstone project that you are proud of.
Since the capstone project is the crowning achievement of a student, you should aim to show your complete competence and skill in your project.
Having a positive attitude and knowing that the skills will also help in your career world will help you tackle your project enthusiastically.
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