How to Write a Capstone Project
Capstone projects cover a wide variety of activities and spheres, thus it is not possible to formulate strict and accurate instructions on how to write a capstone project. A capstone project should be carried out when a high-school or college student is near to his/her graduation. At high-school level, capstone projects require less than when done at college level. In most cases college students are free to choose between doing a project and writing a diploma thesis. The former is quite necessary in some fields which require excellent training and comprehensive practical knowledge.
In this sense, it is not enough to write a capstone project only. What you write is actually a project proposal, and after it has been approved you could go on with doing the project itself.
How to write a capstone project – 6 essential steps
Step 1: Attend all courses that are mandatory
Not only because you need to have good grades, but also you can take some useful ideas from the classes. Without having the necessary knowledge, your project would prove to be a failure. This is also the way to find your future supervisor.
Step 2: Find a supervisor
The supervisor is a person who will give you useful advice on the project. He/she will also direct your efforts in the right direction. The contact with the supervisor is important, so do not underestimate this part of the project.
Step 3: Find teammates
A capstone project is usually carried out in teams. Hence, you must find people to join your team. Find people that possess the knowledge and skills which you consider necessary for completing the project. Some people are good in communication; others are good in analysis; third group of people are born leaders; and so on.
Step 4: Prepare a proposal
The proposal is to be reviewed by one or more of your professors. You should include the following:
- topic or main problem of the project;
- context- why do you want to do such a project? What is your motivation as well as of the other teammates?
- time framework of the project (activities and dates);
- members of the team and their roles (who will do what);
- main activities- description and justification;
- cooperation with external institutions (if applicable);
- expected results from the project.
Step 5: Realizing the activities
All the project activities are usually carried out within one semester or a little bit less. This means, you will need to create the project framework at the beginning of the first semester, and to carry it out next semester.
Practice is pretty different from theory, so here you need to demonstrate your planning and leadership skills. It always happens that something goes wrong or at least not as expected. Thus, you must have alternative options for every activity: for instance, if one of your teammates is not able to take part in one of the activities, you should know who will replace him/her. This is the so-called risk management.
Step 6: Summarizing the project
Having completed your project, you should write a short summary. Explain again what the goals of the project were, what the activities your team have carried out, and what are the results. You can add some comments and feedback from the participants or the audience (if there was such).
Do not forget to consult your supervisor prior to doing anything essential. Give him/her the summary and ask for his/her opinion. Then revise it accordingly and add any useful information (photos, videos, website of the project, diagrams and charts).
As it can be seen, writing a capstone project is only a small part of all the activities you must do. Also, keep in mind the fact that this is teamwork and you should always ask your partners for their opinion on every serious question connected with the project.
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