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ARTS AND SCIENCES
The Capstone Project is a large scale academic project in which students select a topic that both relates to their studies and their field of work. The results of the project must be presented in the form of a detailed final, written report. The project must adhere to the APA citation guidelines.
Students looking to enroll in their Capstone Project should follow the same process as enrolling in any other course.
Once the student enrolls in their Capstone Course they will be assigned a Capstone Mentor who will remain with them throughout the entire course. The mentor will be a member of the Aspen University faculty, chosen because their area of expertise closely aligns with the student’s Capstone Project interests.
In most of the academic degree programs at Aspen University, the Capstone process is comprised of two phases. The School of Nursing has a different process, which is detailed in MSN Student Handbook. All other programs at Aspen University follow this two-phase process:
The first phase has been designed to assist students in developing and creating a formal Capstone Project Proposal. The Capstone Mentor will review the student’s Project Proposal and make recommendations before granting approval to proceed. This phase is usually completed in the first month after enrollment and is accomplished through a series of email exchanges between the student and their Capstone Mentor. Upon approval of the Capstone Project Proposal, students will submit the proposal through the Online Course Platform and a grade of â€œPâ€ (for Passing) will be entered.
Writing the Proposal Paper
The following material explains how to produce a proposal paper. A template is provided that outlines the major parts of an acceptable proposal paper.
A proposal paper presents an arguable opinion about an issue. The goal of a proposal paper is to convince the audience that an opinion is valid and worth listening to. All ideas that the student is considering need to be carefully examined when choosing a topic, developing an argument, and organizing the paper. It is very important to ensure that all sides of the issue are addressed and presented in a manner that is easy for an audience to understand. The student’s job is to take one side of an argument and persuade the audience that well founded knowledge of the topic is being presented. It is important to support the argument with evidence to ensure the validity of any claims, as well as to address the counterclaims.
To take a side on a subject, the student should first establish the reasoning of why that topic interests them. Below are questions to ensure that they will be able to present a strong argument:
Is it a real issue with genuine controversy and uncertainty?
Can you distinctly identify two positions?
Are you personally interested in advocating one of these positions?
Is the issue narrow enough to be manageable?
Analyzing an Issue and Developing an Argument
Once a topic is selected, the student should research the subject matter. While they may already have an opinion on the topic and an idea about which side of the argument they want to take, they need to ensure that the proposal is well supported. Listing out the pro and con sides of the topic will help examine their ability to support counterclaims, along with a list of supporting evidence for both sides. Supporting evidence includes the following:
Factual Knowledge: Information that is verifiable and agreed upon by almost everyone.
Statistical Inferences: Interpretation and examples of an accumulation of facts.
Informed Opinion: Opinion developed through research and/or expertise of the claim.
Personal Testimony: Personal experience related by a knowledgeable party.
Once the student has made a pro and con lists, they should compare the information side by side. Considering the audience, as well as their own viewpoint, choose a position.
Capstone Project Proposal Template (to be used as a guideline):
Submitted to Aspen University MBA/MS Program [list one]
For Aspen University Use
Capstone Project Proposal
Write the name of your project.
This should be a half page to a page detailed description of what exactly your Project is.
Two to three paragraphs stating the need for, and justification of, selecting this Project topic. Who will benefit and how will they benefit from this project (not including you)?
Two to three paragraphs on what you hope to gain from this Project, both professionally and personally.
List and explain the goals of your Project. This section should address, in detail, a description of your project, what you plan to do and how you will achieve it.
Your project should also include a review of the existing research on your topic and a discussion comparing this research to your project focus. The proposal should address how you plan to review the existing literature, what sources you plan to use (the Internet, journals, books, popular magazines, etc.).
A step-by-step analysis of how you intend to meet your goals, including resources you will need, where you intend to find them, and an estimated timeline of how long each step will take. This is the major section of your proposal.
One half a page to one whole page on how your Project is to be evaluated. Is your work going to evaluate it? How? Community evaluation? What specifically will make your project a success, both to you and to others?
The second phase has been designed to assist the student in implementing their approved formal Capstone Project Proposal toward completion of their project. As the student progresses toward completing their project, their Mentor will likely wish to have the opportunity to review and critique the Capstone Project activities and the formal documentation on a section by section basis so that any significant changes or amendments that are suggested can be integrated into the final presentation well before the submittal of a final paper.
Capstone Project Review
The final Capstone Project should follow the exact format of the Capstone Proposal.
For each heading examine how well your project followed the proposal. Did you have any unexpected trouble with resources or goals? Does the project benefit who it was expected to benefit? Did you derive from your Project what you believed you would? Did the plan have to be rewritten? Include information on steps that did not work, and those that did. Please be sure to explain why.
The Write-up of Your Project
The write-up is what students will submit as their Project to the University.
Length – The body of your paper will vary in length depending on the class for which the paper is being prepared. The Study Guide for your course will inform you of the length requirement. A table of references, diagrams, and appendices are in addition to the length guide.
Format – The paper must be well organized. A portion of the grade will be based on this aspect. Use section headings. Start with an abstract and conclude with a summary. As a guide for preparation of your paper, use the following:
Cover page should begin with your name, course number and title, date, and email address centered on the page.
Center the title of your paper on the first page.
Indent the first sentence of each paragraph 5 spaces.
Double-space between paragraphs.
Text should be 12-point, Times New Roman font. Headings should be sized according to level and can use a different font.
Text should be left justified.
Include figures, diagrams, pictures, or flow charts within text, as appropriate.
Page set-up should be 1″ margins at top and bottom, and 1″ left and right margins.
Keep a back-up copy of your project until finished.
Table of contents: A separate page.
Page numbering: Number every page (upper right-hand corner). Page number one is the page after the Table of Contents.
Headings: The hierarchy of headings Aspen recommends are: Section, Subsections, and Sub-subsections. Not all three levels are required.
Section headings should be centered and underlined or in bold.
Subsection headings should be left-justified, underlined, or bold and on a separate line.
Sub-subsections should be left-justified, not underlined, and on the same line as the text, and followed by a colon.
Note. APA’s manual lists up to five levels.
Typed: Papers must be typed; erasures are not acceptable. For this and other reasons, you are urged to use electronic processing.
Spelling and grammar: Inaccuracies will be deducted from the grade of the paper. Therefore, you are urged to use a spell checker and carefully edit your English grammar or use a grammar checker.
Reference of sources of information: All references (e.g., books, periodicals, reference manuals, newspaper articles and internal company publications, online sources such as Dialog, Internet, CD-ROMs, and interviews) must be documented. Failure to include references when using information from one of these sources is considered plagiarism. Rules for citations in the body of the paper and the reference list at the end of the paper are given later in this guide. Authors quoted in your paper should be referenced as cited in the “Reference” section of your paper. Please use a variety of references, including but not limited to: books, periodicals, journals, and the Internet. Do not plagiarize other’s material.
For Formatting Techniques, refer to the APA Style Guide in the Student Resources Menu.
If part of your project includes a PowerPoint presentation, a DVD, or any of the other approved audio/visual, please include these in your package to Aspen University. Do not forget to include an APA formatted bibliography.
Send your project to your mentor first and be sure to communicate extensively with the professor. Any questions should first be addressed to your assigned faculty mentor. If your professor approves your project, it will be sent to Aspen University.
The final Capstone Project submission will be graded by your Capstone Mentor and forwarded to Aspen University for a second evaluation and concurrence.
All assignments submitted must represent the individual effort of the student. Any cases of suspected cheating will be promptly dealt with through formal Aspen University processes. In general, student performance is governed by the Academic Honesty Policy in the Aspen University Catalog.
Your work must be original, yet you are expected to use numerous references to develop your paper. In so doing, you must give appropriate credit for all sources of information, using APA style guidelines. Using the words, facts, and ideas of others without proper reference is considered plagiarism.
Sources of Information and Use of Reference Sources
Your papers should be based on authoritative information gathered from various sources. You must cite your references so that readers can follow up, should they desire. Your sources will add strength to your position. You should use recent publications and ones that will provide credibility to your thesis. Books, periodicals, and the Aspen University ProQuest Library will likely be your main resources for gathering information for research reports. Many organizations have libraries and research tools and you are encouraged to use them if permitted by company policy.
You are welcome to use a topic related to your employment. If so, you may use company documentation as references. However, this may not be your only source. You must use public sources, such as those mentioned above.
If you interview individuals for your research, they may be quoted or paraphrased.
There are many sources of information for your research study. You must cite the information sources that you use on the Internet and elsewhere.
For Formatting Techniques, refer to the APA Style Guide in the Student Resources Menu.
1. After taking a handful of classes, students should begin seriously thinking about ideas for their Capstone Project, the final project for all degree programs. The Capstone is designed to be a beneficial project to the students’ (or other) organization.
2. To direct your thinking, ask yourself the following questions:
What areas or issues am I most passionate about?
What improvement needs to be made where I work?
What knowledge have I gained from the courses I’ve taken at Aspen that may assist me in producing my project?
How can I apply this newly acquired knowledge and skills to the real world?
Will I be able to see my project through to implementation or should I merely design a plan that can be implemented later?
Who will benefit by my project? My company? Some other organization?
What resources are available to me in producing my project?
Will someone assist me?
Who will evaluate my project? A stakeholder? My capstone advisor?
Can I produce the project within the desired timeframe?
What does the existing literature say about my topic?
Tip: In your proposal writing, be sure to use the word “would” rather than the word “will.”