Discussion Forums – 1 percent
Discussion questions will be provided and posts should reflect an assimilation of the readings and respond to the assigned topic(s). Students are required to provide a substantive initial post by Thursday at 11:55 pm ET and respond to two or more classmates by Sunday 11:55 pm ET. Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas.
Proposed Research Question and Purpose Statement – 0 percent (this grade will be assigned with the final research question submission)
This element is submitted through Assignments for review by the instructor who will also provide feedback and any “course corrections” to focus the project feedback. The components of this assignment include a research question and a purpose and design statement. It must contain at least eight sources, at least six of which must be peer-reviewed. The specific research question should be of depth and breadth required for a major project. Length: 3 pages (proposal title page and reference list is never included in the page length).
Final Research Question and Purpose Statement – 1 percent
This element is a revision of the above assignment based on instructor critique and peer-interaction in the discussion forums. The components of this assignment include a research question and a purpose and design statement. It must contain at least eight sources, at least six of which must be peer-reviewed. The specific research question should be of depth and breadth required for a major project. Length: 3 pages (proposal title and references is never included within the page length).
Thesis Proposal – 1 percent
A formal proposal shall be prepared in accordance with the standards of the academic discipline. The formal proposal must provide a clear and lucid description of a question or problem and a proposed method of answering the question or solving the problem. The instructor must approve the proposal before students move on to the next stage of the process.
The proposal should explain the question or problem to be investigated and convince the thesis instructor that the question or problem merits investigation. It should show that the student has read the relevant and recent literature on the subject and it should contain a list of academically appropriate resources consulted during the preliminary stages of research.
In general, the thesis proposal should include background information related to the research topic, purpose of the research, methodology, and analytic procedures to be used. Proposal drafting is considered a learning process and helps students avoid oversights and possible mistakes. The formal proposal should not exceed five (5) pages (proposal title page and references not included). Length: 5 pages.
Literature Review—2 percent
This section contains a narrative summary of the major sources that inform the research topic. The articles under review must be peer-reviewed articles, scholarly texts, or other appropriate sources and websites. The literature review is not an annotated bibliography or a “laundry list” of reviewed articles. It should capture the issues in the research topic and be organized thematically and be written as a narrative essay. At the end of this review, students should remind the reader that the research question has still not been adequately answered and there is more research to conduct, which is the purpose of the project! The review should include 20 or more sources and include a list of complete citations. Length: 12-18 pages in length not including title page or references.
Research Design and Methods – 1 percent
This section of your paper provides the reader with a description of how you are planning to conduct research. It explains what research approach you have chosen, and why. It describes any special considerations and defines any limitations and terms specific to this project, if necessary. If you are using any specific research measures (like interview or survey questions) you would include these as an appendices. This section will range from 5-8 pages.
This section should go beyond the unhelpful description of "this research paper uses a qualitative/quantitative/mixed research method." You will need to clearly describe and explain the research method in use, how you chose any cases under investigation, how you intend to measure your variables, how you will carry out your research (including both the collection and assessment of data), and how you will draw your conclusions. You will draw from you research proposal as a starting point since this should have been briefly covered in your week 4 submission.
Capstone Thesis Project — 84 percent
Based on your prior submissions, the capstone thesis project will reflect the substantive elements developed and approved throughout the capstone course, representing a partnership between the student and the instructor. The thesis should include all substantive sections of the paper in their entirety, in addition to the final remaining sections. The assignment is not meant to be an outline of what the student will write for the final capstone thesis but rather the thesis in its complete form. It must contain in-text citations in Turabian parenthetical style and include the complete citations in the List of References. Examples of successful capstone papers are available in the classroom to illustrate structures and formats that may vary depending on the research question and methodology in use. Keep in mind that appropriate stylistic formatting and documentation are the student’s responsibility. Student papers that do not follow the prescribed style rules will not be accepted. All declarations, appendices, metadata, and submission information as outlined in the End of Program Graduate Assessment Manual shall be part of the capstone thesis project. Length: 50-65 pages excluding front matter, references and appendices.
Library Ready Package – 10 percent
This package should include your “Library Ready” thesis. This includes your revised thesis. Your library ready thesis should address all comments made on your capstone thesis project and have all grammatical, referencing, and formatting errors resolved. Student papers that do not follow the prescribed style rules will not be accepted. All declarations, appendices, and submission information as outlined in the End of Program Graduate Assessment Manual shall be part of the library ready thesis. Length: 50-65 pages excluding front matter, references and appendices.