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WHAT IS A CAPSTONE PROJECT? A capstone project is a unique type of assignment, assigned at the high school, college and university levels, which is meant to bring all that you have learned during your studies into one final essay or research project. What is unique about a capstone project is that it requires you to draw on all of the subjects and disciplines that you have studied during your time in a program. Unlike a thesis or a research project, a capstone project is typically multidisciplinary in nature. When you are writing a capstone project, you must thus ensure that you are taking into account all of the areas that you have studied. In writing your capstone project, you must include all or almost all of these approaches to have your capstone project approved. The multidisciplinary nature of a capstone project is something that you have to take into account when writing your capstone. While writing most of your capstone will focus on your major, given that you are likely to write your capstone project on a topic related to your major, it is important to remember that you must include the other disciplines you have studied. When you are conducting your literature review to build the thesis of your capstone project, you should look at sources from disciplines that you have studied that are outside of your major. If you keep these sources for later, you will find it easier to write your capstone as you will be able to integrate these multidisciplinary elements more easily. When you are writing a capstone project, you will typically be assigned either a capstone project supervisor or will enroll in a capstone class where other students working on their capstone will also be under the supervision of one professor. You have a significant degree of choice regarding the exact topic that you will pick for your capstone. Typically, your capstone supervisor or class will be associated with your major, and you are likely to be recommended to choose an approach or subject that is related to your major. What separates a capstone project from a traditional research paper or a thesis is that it is multidisciplinary and based on the courses that you have taken. Choosing a capstone project topic in collaboration with an unemployed professor can ensure that you are writing on a subject that fits with your program and the expectations of your supervisor. This said, remember that you will have to discuss your capstone project with your supervisor and be able to understand what your capstone project is proposing and how it is validating these proposals. Unlike a mere research paper, you must always be able to understand your capstone project and be able to explain it to your professor. Otherwise, you could be accused of committing plagiarism when writing your capstone project. HOW TO WRITE A CAPSTONE PROJECT Generally, a capstone project will be written in steps. In our experience, your supervisor or capstone project class will assign you different assignments over time that you will then build into your capstone. These sub-projects involved in writing a capstone project often include thesis statement assignments, annotated bibliographies and literature reviews. Don’t think of these elements of the capstone project as waste work. Assuming that your professor provides you with positive feedback regarding these assignments, you will likely be able to copy-paste them into your capstone project as you work on completing it. If you are not able to copy-paste them into your capstone project, you will still likely to be able to use these elements without having to make significant modifications to them when writing your capstone project. Writing a capstone project must begin, like writing a research paper, with the choice of a thesis. Once you have picked the topic that you want to write on based on your major, choose a thesis that you think you will be able to support through your study of the existing literature. From there, either follow the steps that are put forth in the assignments culminating with your capstone project or begin to write a literature review. As your write this literature review, you will find arguments supporting the thesis of your capstone project and these will be critical for structuring your capstone project and writing the arguments that support the thesis it is arguing. You should then break your capstone paper up into sections by using headings Given that writing a capstone project is like writing a long research paper, you will use these headings to allow the reader to better understand your argument. Using headings to separate the different elements of support for your capstone project’s thesis is a critical part of writing a great capstone project. Using headings when writing a capstone paper allows the reader to better understand the structure of your capstone project. Do not forget that, when you are writing the conclusion of your capstone paper, you should not be introducing new information. Rather, and unless your institution’s guidance says otherwise, the conclusion is the part of the capstone project where it is acceptable to use the first person perspective to reflect on what you have learned in writing your capstone project. Finally, is important to be adaptive when you are writing a capstone project. As you are conducting your literature review, there is a very significant chance that you will find evidence that might make you modify your capstone project’s thesis as you proceed with your research. Do not get discouraged if this occurs when you are writing your capstone project. This is a normal part of the research process. If this occurs while you are writing your capstone project, you should talk to your advisor or supervisor and ask them for advice on how they believe that you should proceed. Given that writing a capstone project means working closely with your supervisor, it is important that you keep your capstone project supervisor updated regarding changes to your thesis resulting from your research. HOW TO FORMAT A CAPSTONE PROJECT Unlike essays or smaller-scale researcher paper, a capstone paper must typically be written on the basis of the style guide provided by your institution. As a first step in formatting your capstone project, you must absolutely find out what your university’s capstone project formatting style is. Most universities will make such a style guide available online or through the department responsible for capstone projects. If you do not comply with the requirements of your university’s capstone project formatting guide, your university may reject your capstone project and either make you lose a large number of points or delay the obtention of your degree. It is thus imperative that you ensure you are respecting your institution’s capstone project formatting guidelines as you are writing and editing your capstone project so that you can graduate from your program on time and with a great grade. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CAPSTONE PROJECT AND A RESEARCH PAPER? The differences between writing a capstone project and writing a research paper are quite small. When you are writing a capstone project, it is just like writing a longer version of a research paper. You should approach the research process of your capstone project in the same way that you would when writing a research paper. This means that you need to establish a thesis and support it with evidence. The difference is that, when you are writing your capstone, you will need to integrate material from almost all of your different courses. Because your school wants you to show that you can connect elements of your different courses to your capstone project topic, this is the main difference between a capstone project and a traditional research paper. Keep this in mind as you are writing your capstone project so that you can stay on track.