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Senior Capstone Project: Guide

Emerging Voices - Capstone Project

Senior Capstone Research Symposium

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Good Place to Start

Questions to ask and answer in your research:

Webb Library Catalog

Subscription Databases

Free Online Journals



JURN finds arts and humanities journals, book chapters, and theses. Science Direct site has 250,000 open-access articles.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) searches more than 7,000 open-access journals, which are searchable at the article level. Wiley free and open-access journals.
High Wire Press boasts that it provides “the largest archive of free full-text science on Earth!” Look for journals marked “free site.” National Institutes of Health offers some of the most extensive access to health research.

Begin Incorporating Primary Research

This portion of the paper is meant to transform information into insight

“A good researcher knows how to use both primary and secondary sources in her writing and to integrate them in a cohesive fashion.”

Primary Research  must be approved by both your adviser and the lead senior adviser

Research Methodology [Primary Research - Survey, Interview, Test, Experiment, Case Study, Contrast/Comparison, Project Journal, Internship]
Findings/Data/Results [explanation of results includes the use of Tables, Photos, and Maps] 

25 Ideas for Primary Research

Primary research involves collecting data about a given subject directly from the real world. [Driscoll & Brizee]

  1. Interview an Expert or Professional face to face

  2. Interview an Expert or Professional via phone, Skype, OR email

  3. Visit a Museum

  4. Tour a Factory or Business

  5. Volunteer at an organization

  6. Attend a meeting or service [church, brotherhood, fraternity, society, club]

  7. Shadow an expert [in person or online]

  8. Internship or Externship

  9. Camp or Retreat

  10. Attend a cultural festival [PowWow, Storytelling festival, African Street Festival,  Nashville Greek Festival, etc.]

  11. Participate in an event [charity or community]

  12. Curation - Creating a collection of resources [physical or online]

  13. Following Twitter Feeds or Blogs - journaling your impressions

  14. Starting a Twitter Feed or blog about your topic

  15. Keeping a research journal

  16. Video Journal an experience

  17. Conduct an Experiment

  18. Test Computer Code

  19. Create an App

  20. Chart a Contrast/Comparison

  21. Creating an “Infographic” to include in your presentation

  22. Questionnaires to a small group of people

  23. Survey a group [survey must be approved by Teacher and Lead Adviser]

  24. Create a Statistical survey

  25. Opinion Poll


MTSU Library

Please make sure the MTSU permission slip is signed by both parent and student.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 Seniors will complete research in the MTSU library and tour the campus with our college counseling staff.  We will take a bus from Bell Buckle leaving around 8:00 am.  Day student drivers may meet at 8:45 am sharp location TBD.   We will research for senior projects for about three hours, then have lunch at MTSU food court.  We will return to campus for the last class of the day.  Seniors look sharp, but you can wear jeans. Bring money for lunch [about $10]






First Semester


Topic Selection

Choosing a topic is a process.  You will conduct “pre-search” to ensure that your topic is viable.  Choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow.  Make sure that enough scholarly material is available on the topic


When was the last time you were listening to the television, news, or a speaker and you felt compelled to “fact check”?

What Broad Discipline do you find most interesting?

List 1-2 things that you think might be viable research topics.

Type 10-20 Key Words to use in your pre-search


Use the GALE – Topic Finder Tool

Use JSTOR text analyzer

Read 3 topic starter lists in the LibGuide




Oct 10

Annotated Bibliography

6 sources with annotation - Students can begin submitting these immediately. 

Summation of the source [focus on what is unique about the source]

A brief evaluation statement(s) [is this a "scholarly" source or not]

How the work is relevant to your research [How, specifically, do you intend to use the source (e.g. as evidence to support a claim, as a counter-argument, etc.)]

Use the GIST summarizing strategy

Annotated Bibliography 

English IV

Quiz grades for each annotation

Oct 10


University Library Visit

Field Trip




Thesis writing instruction may be covered in the English IV Class and in the LibGuide video




Conclude Primary Research

[Primary Research - Survey, Interview, Test,

Experiment, Case Study, Contrast/Comparison, Project Journal, Internship] Includes Findings/Data/Results [explanation of results includes the use of Tables, Photos, and

Maps]  Summer internships and volunteer work can be great opportunities for primary research.  If your senior advisor is not in the field you are researching, we will find an additional subject advisor to help with the research. 


See 25 ideas for Primary Research



Make an Outline

  1. Ms. Camp style Outline 
  2. Write with your Presentation in Mind Outline  Use your Presentation Slides as an Outline


Try one of the two strategies for planning your paper




Paper Draft Due before the holiday break

Label Google Doc - Surname_2019

example - Smith_2019



Paper Draft

Eng. IV Grade







Second Semester


Final Revised Draft



Final Eng. IV Grade




How to Give a Research Project Speech



To Students


Elevator Speech

100 words due January 30, 2019 

[typed, submitted electronically via Google docs to Adviser, English Teacher, and Lead Sr. Adviser]

Where to start: attention-grabbing statistic, very brief anecdote, or a poignant quote.

Advertisement for your presentation



Practice with Presentation Visuals [at least 2-types Charts, Illustrations, Graphs] We will have an online sign-up tool for Practice in the Chapel

Presentation Visuals


March Research Symposium

Presentations will be 10 – 12 minutes in length Must follow formatting instructions / We will hold in 3 to 4 locations on campus grouped by discipline or advisory – Q & A to follow presentation

Presentation of Research Paper

Advisers will grade with the presentation grading sheet must make a 70%

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Jump Start:

Write your paper with the presentation in mind.  

Maybe even build your presentation slides to help organize and outline the paper.   

Things to include in the Presentation: 

  • · Introduction
  • · Background Research
  • · Primary Research Methods
  • · Primary Research Findings
  • · Conclusion



How will you introduce the topic to the audience? 

· Brief gripping story or anecdote

· Surprising, and highly significant facts or statistics

· Summary of a compelling case study

· Powerful quote that leads into your research

Background Research:

  • WHO - Who are the researchers in the field? Who am I writing about?
  • WHERE - Where does the research take place? Is there a prominent location or institution in the research?
  • WHAT - What are the relevant studies? What is the state of the art today? 
  • WHEN - When does the research take place? What dates are significant?
  • HOW – How was the research conducted? How have others gone about trying to solve problems you want to tackle, and in what ways will your approach build on and vary from previous work?


Primary Research 

Primary Research Methodology:

Write about how you conducted research - Methodology [Primary Research - Survey, Interview, Test, Experiment, Case Study, Contrast/Comparison, Project Journal, and Internship] 

Primary Research Findings:

Data to include - Findings/Data/Results  

[Explanation of your results can include the use of Tables, Photos, and Maps]

Elevator Speech

Ideas from YouTube University of Manchester 

100 words due January 30, 2019  [If you are having trouble check out the Thesis tab video]

[typed, submitted electronically via Google docs to Adviser, English Teacher, and Lead Sr. Adviser]

Where to start: attention-grabbing statistic, very brief anecdote, or a poignant quote. Then …

What is the topic of your research?

• What is the problem, issue, or question that you are

asking and addressing in your research? 

• Why is that problem interesting and important? (i.e. So what?)

• How does your work connect with a broader disciplinary conversation about this topic/problem in your field, and what does it add to that conversation?


• key nouns  • offer topical touchstones that are accessible to wide range of educated people • avoid jargon if possible or deliver specialized terms using appositives

Crafting the elevator pitch:

• Delivery

• Eye contact--read your listener

• Enthusiasm

• Practice, practice, practice!


the elevator pitch: presenting your research in conversation  From University of Notre Dame -  Matthew Capdevielle, PhD, University Writing Center,  Ralf Bendlin, Electrical Engineering and Gretchen Busl, Literature {}

Presentation Tips

Presentation Rubric

Mrs. Little's Google Slides Presentation

Before Public Speaking Ted Talk playlist

Pecha Kucha

Free Google Slides Templates

Free Google Slides Backgrounds

Get Ideas from these Google Slides Templates


The Black Box        

The Science Lecture Hall 

The Library                  The Chapel           

- seats 50-60

- seats 63

- seats 75

- seats 300

CITE your sources 

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The Webb School Library and Archives Phone: 931-389-5758