Honors Capstone Project In Policy Studies
Who is eligible to participate?
If you a Policy
Studies Major and are in the Renée Crown University Honors Program, you can work with Professor Coplin and the Public
Affairs Program to do a CAPSTONE PROJECT. You must be certified by
the Honors Program that you are on schedule to complete all other
requirements, and you must have the required overall 3.4 GPA at the
time you submit your proposal. In addition, you must have
completed PAF 315 with a grade no lower than an A-.
Carefully, read all of the information on the Honor's Website about the Capstone project. Work with your Honors' adviser to make sure you have done
everything necessary and to answer questions Professor Coplin may
have about the process.
Start talking with Professor Coplin as early as possible about
your project. As soon as you have an idea of what you might
want to do, even if it is in your freshman year, make an appointment to
explore the possibilities. Email him with questions and to set up
an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Carol Dwyer
provides additional academic support to students pursuing the
project as do other Policy Studies faculty throughout the
University. See critical guidelines below for the
Capstone Project proposal. Professor Coplin will not sign the
paperwork from the Honors Program until he receives an adequate
What are the Guidelines for Preparing the Capstone
A Capstone Project for Policy Studies study can be either a (1)
research or (2) action problem. The difference should be clear in
your statement of the problem.
- A research problem is one in which you are providing
information and analysis to describe and/or explain a societal
problem or policies attempting to ameliorate a societal
problem. The major effort is on reading and synthesizing
existing research, and gathering and reporting information that
supports or challenges the existing research. For example,
you could state as your research problem "to assess the degree to
which parental influence effects the academic achievement of their
- An action problem would be to develop, implement and assess a
new or revised program. You may start a chess club at a community
center, for example, and then assess its impact on academic
performance. In this case, your "problem" is to develop and test a
solution. Action Capstone Problems require research on what has
been done in the past, and data collection and analysis on the
impact of your idea. Obviously, you will have had to create
the program prior to your senior year because the program must be
in existence to do the work required for the Capstone
Although the two problem statements have a different primary
purpose, they are not completely different. A research
problem should produce action solutions that you may even begin to
test by asking stakeholders, experts and players. An action
problem requires solid research before, during and after the action
Once your topic has been approved, you will develop a formal
proposal of 8-17 pages in length that must be submitted to
Professor Coplin no later than October 1, if you are
graduating in May or Jan. 30, if you are graduating in
December. Since a proposal usually takes one
semester to produce, you must start the discussion no later
than six months before that deadline.
Complete all the written material for the Capstone Project
one month prior to graduation, that is, April
1st for May graduation or November
20th for December graduation.
Your Capstone Project proposal should provide the following.
Import this entire document into a word file and boldface it.
Then write your responses un-bolded under each category.
- Intended Audience
- Problem Statement: (What problem does
your written Capstone Project seek to address in no more than 100
words?) Check one: __Primarily Research __Primarily
- Sections Topics and Estimated
Pages: (Your Capstone Project must have the following
topics but you will need to add others, including specific
- Executive Summary: 1 page draft
- Introduction: In 1-3 pages, state how the
topic was selected; what you hope to accomplish for yourself with
your project and how the project will be useful.
- Literature Review: In 2-5 pages, detail
how you will find similar projects and research related to your
work. Describe at least three publications that are related or
similar. Indicate how many more you plan to include in your
- Findings: In 2-5 pages, identify the types of
findings you expect to report. If you are collecting original data,
this will be similar to a 315 Project. If you are producing a
product that will be used to run a program (like mentoring for
example), describe the material you will produce, how you will
conduct your project and how you will evaluate it.
- Recommendation for Further Products or
Studies: In 1-2 pages, suggest how your anticipated
findings will yield recommendations for additional or revised
products or research.
- List of Appendices: In 1 page, list items
in the appendix. In some cases such as producing manuals or
research protocols and raw data, the appendices may be longer than
and as important as the sections above.
- Submit a one page agenda: This must follow the
315 agenda format. Your proposal should starts with the date the
proposal is to be approved and end with the date of the submission of the
- Date you will finish the first draft of the introduction and
- Date you will finish the first draft of the findings and
recommendations for further products or research studies.
- Dates you will finish the final versions of the appendices
(list of each appendix and the date may be before the drafts listed
- Date you will submit the final draft of the entire project
- Date you will receive revisions from your faculty and
- Date you will submit the revision
- If also submitting to satisfy the Renee Crown Honors Program,
the dates course requirements are to be completed and other
submission and presentation dates required by that program.